Land Rover’s all-new Discovery Sport is now officially in production as the first example rolled off the assembly line in Halewood, UK. The 2016 Discovery Sport represents a departure from Land Rover’s typical style, taking after the brand’s highly successful Range Rover line’s Range Rover Sport.

The new 5+2 compact SUV also marks the beginning of Land Rover’s sub-branding of models, much like what it’s done with Range Rover. Land Rover’s expanding lineup is part of parent company Jaguar Land Rover’s initiative to grow corporate sales of 750,000 units annually by 2020.

The first Disco Sport was received by Stephen Attenborough, the Commercial Director for Virgin Galactic. The Discovery Sport will be used by the pioneering spaceflight company to support its operations in the UK. The Discovery Sport is the latest vehicle in Virgin Galactic’s growing fleet of Land Rover products that are part of an ongoing partnership between Jaguar Land Rover and Virgin Galactic.

Another Discovery Sport will soon make its way to the U.S. where it will debut the vehicle’s launch at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2014. The Discovery Sport will then likely go on sale in the fall of 2015, just in time for the 2016 model year.

Click past the jump to read more about the Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Why it matters

The Land Rover Discovery Sport marks a more competitive entry into compact SUV segment. This is a major step for JLR as the company reaches to fulfill its goal of 750,000 annual vehicle sales by 2020. With the crossover and small SUV market experiencing nothing but growth in the U.S., JLR’s timing is perfect.

Land Rover Discovery Sport

2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Discovery Sport is an all-new vehicle that shares its powertrain with the popular Range Rover Evoque. Of course with it holding the Land Rover title, the Discovery Sport has plenty of off-road abilities, including Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system.

Under the hood lies a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder making 240 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission from ZF.

Pricing for the 2016 Discovery Sport starts at $37,995, which is only $1,400 than the aging LR2.

Press Release

The first production Discovery Sport has rolled off Land Rover’s production line in Halewood, UK. The car will now make its way to Virgin Galactic’s headquarters, to be used by the team as they continue to prepare for the launch of the world’s first commercial spaceline.

The world’s most versatile and capable premium compact SUV, the Discovery Sport, is the first of the new Discovery family. It features 5+2 seating in a footprint no larger than existing 5-seat premium SUVs, as well as Land Rover’s class-leading capability. The vehicle will make its U.S. debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The launch marks another significant milestone in the product offensive for Jaguar Land Rover which will see the company deliver 50 significant product actions over the next five years.

During a ceremony at the Land Rover Halewood plant, the first ever production vehicle was received by Stephen Attenborough, Commercial Director of Virgin Galactic, with whom Land Rover partnered with earlier this year. The vehicle will be used by the pioneering spaceflight company to support its operations in the UK, and is one of a number of vehicles Land Rover is providing as part of an ongoing global partnership between the British brands.

“It fills me with pride to have seen the first new Discovery Sport coming off the line here at our world-class Halewood production facility. We are now even more excited to hand the keys over to the crew at Virgin Galactic. The new car embodies Land Rover’s spirit of Above and Beyond, so it’s fitting that it will be used by a similarly pioneering company in Virgin Galactic,” said Murray Dietsch, Director of Land Rover Programs.
The Halewood plant, which is already home to the company’s fastest selling model of all time - the Range Rover Evoque, has seen investment in the site more than double and workforce treble over the last four years with 4,750 people now employed at the site.

The impact of Discovery Sport has also been positively felt within the UK supply chain where $4.47bn in contracts have been awarded to 55 suppliers.

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