Page 1: Introduction
NEW YORK, NY - Much like powdered wigs and sweetbread pies (ummm, baked thymus glands), the Land Rover Discovery is a rather obsolete British institution that relies more on its heritage for sales than on the strength of the actual product. Although it enjoys a rugged image and the cozy affiliation with the Land Rover tradition, when it comes down to reality, the Discovery is an overweight, under-talented vehicle besieged with build quality problems. In order to distance itself from this rather lackluster model, Land Rover is dropping the Discovery name here in the States and will take on a more modern alphanumeric designation - thus, the third-generation Disco will be dubbed the 2005 Land Rover LR3. Actually, Land Rover is following the trend of other luxury carmakers in assigning letters and numbers to their products, rather than names. As such, we may see a Land Rover LR2 (the compact-ute currently known as Freelander) and a bigger Land Rover LR4 sometime in the near future. The exception will be the legendary Range Rover, whose name still possesses positive brand association (hey, batting a 0.333 average ain't bad, right?). Again, these name changes will only be for the fickle American consumer; elsewhere in the world the Discovery and Freelander nameplates will live on. No wonder the rest of the world makes fun of us.
Based on completely new underpinnings, the 2005 Land Rover LR3 is bigger and is constructed upon a more modern architecture than the Disco. An integrated body-on-frame design rides on a fully independent suspension system; an air suspension system is optional. The Land Rover LR3 is powered by a Jaguar-derived 4.4-liter V8 grunting out 300 horsepower and 313 pound-feet of torque. Europeans get the choice of a 2.7-liter turbodiesel V6, and with the reemergence of diesel-gulping powerplants for the U.S. market we may see this oil-burner version in the future. Power is routed to a permanent four-wheel drive system via a six-speed automatic transmission.