Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept revealed

  • New Discovery styling previewed by concept
  • Infotainment system for each passenger
  • Next-generation off-road system with laser tech

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This is the Land Rover Discovery Vision, a concept SUV that gives an idea of what the next-generation Discovery range will look like. These official pictures have been revealed at the start of the New York motor show.

The Discovery name currently denotes a single Land Rover model, but by mid-2015 it will be the family name that covers two SUVs. The first, which will appear in early 2015, will be a replacement for the current Freelander, while the second will replace the current seven-seat Discovery. The model range will eventually be extended beyond these two cars.

The Discovery Vision show car is a luxurious seven-seat SUV, packed with new infotainment, lighting and seating technology, as well as the next generation of Land Rover’s Terrain Response off-road system.

The styling has familiar cues from the latest Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, including wrap-around head- and tail-lights and a rising waistline. The C-pillar is raked forwards, while black gloss pillars elsewhere give the impression of a partially floating roof. The concept car’s rear doors are hinged at the back, giving pillarless access to the cabin, but this feature won’t make production.

The concept car’s interior makes use of sumptuous materials that we would expect to see in production models, such as polished wood veneers and brushed aluminium trim. The washable soft leather and nubuck seats have a water- and oil-repellent coating, too.

Land Rover says the Discovery Vision’s cabin can seat seven adults in comfort, with equal space afforded to each. The seats in the second and third rows all slide and fold independently, which means the concept can be configured in layouts that suit four, five, six or seven people. The seats are all electrically operated, so the layout can be changed by the driver using the touch-screen in the dashboard.

The seat backs of the first and second rows feature 10-inch gesture-controlled screens that give passengers access to video and internet services through the in-car wi-fi hotspot.

The ‘Smart Glass’ technology showcased on the Discovery Vision Concept covers all parts of the glasshouse. It provides an ‘augmented reality’ experience for passengers, layering information and images over the glass as projections, which can be manipulated or ‘swiped’ onto that passenger’s individual screen. As with the rear-hinged doors, don’t expect anything quite this extravagant on the production cars.

The steering wheel incorporates similar gesture controls, using two miniature touch-screens that are placed close to the driver’s thumbs. There are no column-mounted stalks, so these screens control the indicators, headlights and wipers.

The two touch-screens on centre console control everything else. The top part is for the audio and visual features, including satellite-navigation, while the lower part houses the climate control settings. The latter flips open to reveal an inductive charging bay for smartphones.

The Discovery Vision has an electrically powered single-piece tailgate that, like much of the technology in the cabin, can be operated using gestures. A retractable boot step is stowed behind the rear bumper. It can function as a bench or a standing platform when the car is stationary, or as a bicycle or ski rack.

Land Rover is using this concept car to showcase a raft of new off-road technologies, too. In particular, the next generation of its Terrain Response system could allow the driver to operate the car by remote control. This is seen as a potentially useful technology for extreme off-roading, where the ‘driver’ outside the car could clearly see the terrain to be traversed.

A new All-Terrain Progress Control feature acts as an off-road 'cruise control', allowing the driver to set a course over rough terrain, and making the car cover it using the most appropriate settings and speed.

The Discovery Vision also makes use of laser technology. Laser headlights – like those in the new BMW i8 supercar, as well as on recent Audi concept cars – project light much further than conventional bulbs. The concept car also emits lasers from the front foglights, which are used to ‘map’ off-road terrain and provide the driver with more information about the environment around the car.

More information about the Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept is expected to be released during the New York motor show this week.

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