Towns, Trains and Trails of Nevada.
Land Rover Discovery II
By now youve
no doubt already heard about the (new) 1999 LAND-ROVER Discovery, dubbed the SERIES II.
No? Well then, youve come to the right place. In mid September Rob Whitaker
& Michael Green were guests at the LAND-ROVER Lodge in Colorado, and while
there they saw and drove the Series II for the first time.
Low-range, bottom-gear and Hill Decent engaged our Disco II makes its way
down from 12,000 feet.
(see larger view)
From a glance the
new "Series II" Discovery looks like those that arrived here in 1994
but wait, there is a difference. A major difference. The "Series II" is a
totally new car, only the basic engine configuration and some hardware are carried over
from the original.
a Calvary Charge, complete with uniformed riders and huge horses, introduced
the guests of the Lodge to the new LAND-ROVER. Once all the commotion died down we
were able to get a peak. Outside is all new, but the basic lines are still there. The
windshield has been extended further up into the roof for better "traffic light
viewing". The rear portion of the body has been extended 6" to increase both
cargo area and accommodate the twin forward facing seats (optional). Bumper are all new as
well. The interior has been further refined, and is quite impressive and comfortable.
Underneath, where the heart of any good 4wd begins youll find an all new box ladder
chassis with new axles (wider wheel track) and new suspension set-up.
Rob plays on the Trails Course at the Land Rover Lodge… Moments before the clouds opened up, can you say MUD? (see
| The Discovery still
uses the tried & true "live axles" with coil springs, but with now single
rate springs up front. The rear axle is located via "watts linkage", replacing
the old "A-frame". One option available is "SLS" (Self Leveling
Suspension), which is neat! Airsprings replace the coil springs in order to maintain
optimum ride height under all load and towing conditions. Inside is a switch that gives
the driver the ability to raise the rear for maximum ground clearance when off-road. It
gets higher tech than that
a remote switch allows one to raise/lower the vehicle to
easy trailer hook-ups. Wheel travel has been increased to 12.4 up front & 12.8"
in rear. Then there is "ACE", Active Corner Enhancement (optional). This is so
neat its unbelievable, and is unique to LAND--ROVER. It works like this
hydraulic rams replace conventional sway-bars. ACE has the ability to build up pressure to
counter-act up to 1.0g lateral acceleration in 250 milliseconds. At 0.4g the system allows
a progressive higher rate of body lean as lateral acceleration increases, thus giving the
driver some feed back. That was great fun on the twisty Colorado highways to and from our
off-road areas. ABS is again standard, and more sophisticated. For improved braking
performance the LAND-ROVER introduced the EBD (Electronic Braking Distribution), which
electronically moderates the brake bias between the front and rear axles.
detects wheel slip between the axles and adjusts the brake force distribution
electronically under heavy braking. This maximizes braking effort on both axles by
controlling front and rear line pressure depending on conditions. This system provided the
driver with more control"
so says LRNA. We found the brakes far better than any
Disco before it, in fact they were great. EBD is programmed to work in conjunction with
the ABS. 4WETC, meaning Four-wheel Electronic Traction Control is something you have to
see to believe
. It was fantastic! It will monitor wheel speeds and slippage up to 62
mph. In simple terms the system monitors prop shaft speed, beyond a given limit the ABS
will apply the brakes to slow the offending axle, thus regaining lost traction. This
LAND-ROVER is the most technically advanced vehicle in the compact suv segment, and brings
with it a number of firsts to the American market, including HDC
Control. This gadget it cool! With the vehicle in Low-Range, and HDC engaged, via a dash
switch, it makes hill descents virtually on its own. Rate of decent depends on what gear
youre in, and its all done via the ABS, at which point engine braking takes
over. Even if you screw up and manage to select "N" in the main box, NO more run
away car, instead the HDC will kick in (if you switched it on!) and grab the car and bring
it to a creep
we tried it! This Series II has to be driven off-road to be fully
appreciated. Under the hood is a totally revised 4.0 all alloy Rover V8, producing a
claimed 188 bhp @4750 rpm and 250 ft-lbs of torque @2600 rpm. I agree it could use more
power, what ever they give you isnt enough
something in the realm of 250 bhp
would be about right
But as long as you ring its neck on the road, itll more
than take care of you off the road .The ZF 4-speed automatic is now electronically
controlled, thus further refining the vehicle. Weve already stated a number of the
options, such as the SLS and ACE. 18" wheels now adorn the ACE/SLS equipped cars.
They look great, on-road handling is improved, but I wouldnt want them for off-road
use. Tire choice will no doubt be very limited and tire/wheel damage will be wait around
the next bend. Oh, it should be said, that with the new 4WETC dont think youre
going to run out and fit ARB AirLockers, as of when I spoke with LR reps, they are no
longer compatible with the electronic systems, so beware. Anyway, after we left the
"Tech-Barn" we headed out into a large green and wet field where Tom Collins and
his crew had set up a few places for us to play. We tried em all
Ramps; where we were able to see the 4WETC is action firsthand. Next we made our way over
the Trials are. Here we found an English type trials course. We tried to wait it out and
let the ground dry up a bit, but to no avail. We had fun slogging around in the mud
however. Now it was Barrel Racing, Fun stuff! After lunch we made our way up into the
mountains, via a Defender 110 HCPU Tdi, for a bit of Sporting Clays, and with
Holland-Holland shotguns that cost more than a 4.6HSE Range Rover! The next day we had the
opportunity to really drive the new Series II, both on and off the road, some 200 miles to
be exact. I wasnt keen on the hours they got us up at, but we had a good time, and
really enjoyed the new Discovery Series II. Would I buy one? You Bet! For more information
call 1-800-FINE-4WD for a LAND-ROVER dealer near you. It is an Exceptional Vehicle.