1 millionth Land Rover Discovery goes on a trip from Birmingham to Beijing

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 5, 2012

Land Rover is celebrating the milestone of the one millionth Discovery built at its Solihull plant. To make this moment more memorable, this model will set off on a special fundraising mission that takes it from Birmingham to Beijing in this 8000-mile trip. This expedition takes 50 days to accomplish and is expected to span 13 countries.

It aims to raise funds of up to £1million to be used by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. This April, the landmark Discovery will be shown in China ahead of the Beijing motor show in April. This considered a major move for Land Rover when considering the quick rise in popularity in the country.

All the terrains will be tested. It actually follows the direction that will be taken by 1955 ' First Overland Expedition', where a group of Land Rover engineers drove a Defender from Birmingham to Beijing. Land Rover has termed the 2012 unit as the ‘Journey of Discovery’. To start the journey, Land Rover brought along popular objects like the Bear Grylls, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Ray Mears.

The arrival of the one millionth Discovery comes 23 years after the first model was built. It continues to reap success. In fact, Land Rover sold 45,000 units in 170 worldwide markets in one category.

Land Rover is in the process of getting an extra 1000 new staff members at Solihull. Land Rover is in the process of recruiting an extra 1000 new staff at Solihull over the next six months, boosting its workforce to 6000. Alan Volkaerts, operations director at Solihull Operations, said that ‘many’ people were involved in the production of th e Discovery.

The newest Land Rover, its fourth generation model, comes with a new name -- the Land Rover Discovery 4. This seven-seater model has the TDV6 diesel engine, both powerful and extremely efficient, with a new look on the exterior and an interior that displays more premium features. While the Land Rover has long been at the top of its segment when it comes to capability, the new version has its on-road and off-road characteristics improved even further.

Not only that, there are even different new features and user-friendly technologies included. Indeed, for the Discovery 4, engineers at Land Rover have not only enhanced the highly celebrated off-road qualities of the previous model but even managed to change the handling and on-road capabilities for the new version. Some of these new changes include making the brakes larger and having new components on the suspension.

While the traction control has been enhanced, the steering was redesigned. Improved as well is the celebrated Terrain ResponseTM system that ensures the vehicle is optimized in order to adapt to every kind of situation, be it on-road or off-road. The best change however would be the new twin-turbocharged LR-TDV6 3.0-liter diesel engine, which is more refined and efficient compared to the current 2.7-liter engine.

Aside from improving power by as much as 29%, fuel economy under the EU combined cycle is better by 9% and CO2 emissions are reduced by 10%. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in the torque now at 600 Nm, a 36% increase. Available on a wide rev range, this amount of torque is considered to be high for a production version of a six-cylinder engine fitted in a passenger vehicle.

It is not only the torque but the power that is accessible on a wide rev range. Cruising ability is seamless with throttle response available almost instantly. Thus acceleration from 0 mph to 60 mph is possible in 9.0 seconds (0 to 100 km/h in merely 9.6 seconds). This is better by 24% compared to the previous engine. Managing Director Phil Popham shares that, despite being on the way out, the Land Rover Discovery 3 has managed to earn more than 100 awards worldwide.

He adds that brand has managed to enhance each component of the engineering and design of the model, with some showing major changes while others are a bit subtle. The new design marks the different engineering improvements done under the body, figuring largely in the Discovery 4.

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