This year marks the 25th anniversary of Land Rover's Discovery line, and the Brit-based four-wheel-drive specialists are marking the occasion with a tech-fuelled concept redesign, being showcased at the New York International Motor Show.
Housing Land Rover's most cutting-edge technology innovations, the new Discovery quite strikingly doesn't feature any door handles. Instead, gesture-controlled sensors operate the doors, allowing for smooth lines across the car's body. The tailgate too is gesture controlled. Cameras are also embedded in each side mirror, giving the driver an extended, augmented view of their surroundings through the driver's side and passenger windows, useful for parking in tight spaces. In the steering wheel sits two touch screens with which to control the dashboard and entertainment systems. Even the turn signal indicator and headlamp controls are activated through gestures, removing the need for physical stalks and leading to a cleaner steering system for the driver.
As a top-flight 4x4, premium leather is used throughout the interior, with modern aluminium trim in line with the futuristic look Land Rover is aiming for. Adding to the sense of luxury are the seven independently adjustable seats, each sitting on a runner that can be pulled to suit the leg-room needs of each passenger. With Land Rovers traditionally having quite a high clearance off the ground, the car also automatically deploys steps from its sills.
In terms of exterior design, the car is given a more compact feel than its predecessors through some clever design tricks. Wrap around headlamps and tail lamps give the impression of a sportier frame, while short front and rear overhangs work to similar effect. As a concept vehicle, there's no release date for this particular Discovery yet, but expect to see its technologies trickling down across the range.
The unveiling of the concept car accompanies the announcement that Land Rover will be the official automative partner for Virgin Galactic flights. Anyone with the cash to splurge on Branson's space tourism venture will be shuttled around on Earth in a fleet of Land Rover vehicles.