Cars for a country gentleman

Our brief foray into the Scottish countryside reminded us, and this may sound obvious, how different our part of the world is from others. Neat, pretty little villages surrounded us, noticeably free from any sort of litter, and filled with a homogenous culture that may be old and established, but certainly isn’t as vibrant as ours.

The countryside itself was green and beautiful, but from our brief look can hardly compare in diversity or adventure to Africa, no matter our own problems. That said, the wealth and the history on show in Scotland is simply awe-inspiring.

We visited an estate that is 54 000 acres in size, containing entire villages, over 50 tenanted farms, forests, malted barley fields, and the River Tweed, a day’s fishing on which can cost up to R13 000! This is the part of the world where Range Rovers were born to live, and the lifestyle they were born to lead.

What about the cars, I hear you say.

Well, the Discovery 4 has been improved in every department, and while it looks fairly similar to the outgoing model (save for the suave new grille), it boasts a fantastic new interior, and even better performance on and off-road.

Gone are the 2,7-litre TDV6 diesel and 4,2-litre V8 petrol models, replaced by bigger (but apparently more economical and cleaner) 3,0-litre TDV6 diesel and 5,0-litre V8 petrol engines. Engine outputs are now 183 kW and 600 Nm for the twin-turbo diesel, and 280 kW and 510 Nm, but with a respective 9% and 7% reduction in fuel consumption.

The Range Rover has also been significantly improved, and a new “Dynamic” mode in the Terrain Response system of the supercharged version makes it an even more astounding drive on tar.

A new interior, subtle styling tweaks and improved dynamics all add up to a much better vehicle. New engines include a 380 kW and 625 Nm 5,0-litre supercharged V8, a naturally-aspirated 5,0-litre V8 petrol model, and a 3,0-litre TDV6. The 3,6-litre TDV8 remains as in the prior model. Only the 3,6-litre TDV8 and the supercharged V8 will be available in South Africa, although the naturally-aspirated V8 can be ordered.

Both the Discovery 4 and the Range Rover are due for local launch towards the end of October 2009. Prices have yet to be released, but Land Rover South Africa says that there will be slight price increases due to the new technology.

For more detail see the October issue of Leisure Wheels.