BY ROWAN BENN

So we wave a fond farewell to the now iconic Land Rover Discovery 4 as the latest version makes it’s debut. The new and more modern shape has caused some consternation among purists who will miss, they say, the traditional boxy shape. There is however more to the new vehicle than meets the eye.

Land Rover have dismissed the hefty old body-on-frame architecture of the previous model and this alone has shaved 350kg off the weight. As well as this weight saving, there’s also an aerodynamic improvement in the new smoother body shell that features active grille shutters and air suspension. At speed the air suspension lowers the car by 15mm and this accordingly reduces the drag coefficient, making the car more slippery through the air. This helps conserve fuel.

This sprightly new version is slightly longer by 38mm, lower and narrower than the outgoing model. The legend that is Discovery has always had a spirit of adventure and the new model provides a dramatic reinterpretation of the Land Rover’s twenty-seven years of heritage and practical DNA with a sophisticated design that pays homage to previous models without being restrained by them. In short, off-road where this car excels, is not in any way compromised by the new design.

The company says this latest model will be even better on the rough stuff than ever before. For this you can thank the use of Range Rover’s aluminium chassis that encompasses new steel subframes, entry and departure angles and ground clearance as good as the current model, the latest Terrain Response system and an increased wading depth of 900mm.

Initially, at least in the UK, Discovery 5 will get two diesel engines; a 237bhp twin-turbocharged, 2.0L, four-cylinder with a 0-62mph time of 8.3s (43.5mpg and 171g/km) and a 281bhp turbo 3.0L V6 which romps to 62mphin a fractionally quicker 8.1s (39.2mpg and 189g/km of CO²).

Land Rover’s design and engineering integrity ensures seven adults will fit in the SUV body providing complete interior flexibility. Both third-row seats incorporate ISOFIX mounting points (five in total), so families have the freedom to put child seats in the most appropriate seat for any journey.

The interior of New Discovery will be as luxurious as ever and continues the design revolution started by the smaller Discovery Sport. Customers can specify a range of premium materials including luxurious Windsor leather upholstery and natural oak veneers.

Clearly this is a car that needs to be driven before making any firm judgments, but although greatly changed at first glance there’s no escaping the improvements of the underlying development. A winner.

Bentley Bentayga – Luxury Go-Anywhere Transport

The luxury automotive brands were a little slow off the mark when it came to getting on the SUV bandwagon. With Sports Utility Vehicles being so very popular, this state of affairs has been swiftly rectified by prestige carmakers, Bentley, who have just introduced the stunning British-built Bentayga to the world.

It is impressive how the designers have managed to encapsulate the elegant Bentley ethos into the tall, broad-shouldered athletic profile of their SUV. This exclusive vehicle has to be the most powerful and luxurious car of its type currently on offer worldwide.

The Bentley Bentayga offers lucky passengers a fine environment, assembled with unrivalled levels of precision. As you would expect from this prestigious brand the detailing in metal, wood and leather is the epitome of modern British automotive luxury.

An all-new twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre W12 engine is at the heart of the new Bentayga. This mighty twelve-cylinder unit combines efficiency and refinement with luxurious levels of power and torque. With 608 PS (600 bhp / 447kW) and 900 Nm (663 lb.ft), delivering a 0-100km/h (62mph) time of 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 301 km/h (187 mph), the Bentayga stands proud as the most powerful and fastest SUV currently available. For the more fuel-efficient driver there is also a diesel option.

The four-wheel drive Bentayga can be set up in eight different modes to suit. Available are four on-road modes (Sport, Comfort, ‘Bentley’ and Custom) plus four all-terrain settings (Snow & Grass, Dirt & Gravel, Mud & Trail, Sand Dunes). A ‘mix and match’ mode is also available. That should pretty much handle anything the enthusiastic driver can throw at it.
Under test the Bentayga has proved to be deeply impressive to drive with vivid acceleration instantly to hand – or should we say foot? Considering the size and weight of the vehicle the Bentley engineers have worked wonders, offering real handling prowess thanks to ‘Bentley Dynamic Ride’, an active roll system that uses 48V electronics rather than hydraulics to control and manage the system.

With all this engineering expertise it is good to know that passengers, as previously mentioned, have not been left out. Look inside. Everything you can see, sit on or interact with speaks of the highest quality and sophistication. Craftsmanship at its best. With double-glazed windows the pampered passengers can gaze out in tranquil comfort, untroubled by the world outside. Wit prices staring at around £160,000 GBP, the Bentley Bentayga offers unparalleled luxury combined with sporting performance and real off-road ability. You could say it is the consummate car.

By Rowan Benn, Marketing Director, MHH International Ltd.

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