It appears Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations is ready to get dirty – as in building a hardcore off-road version of the upcoming, next-generation Discovery. Currently known as the LR4 here in the States, the upcoming LR5 will come standard with all the off-road abilities Land Rover is known for, but SVO’s version will take things to the extreme with a so-called SVX version.

Until now, SVO has concentrated on several one-off projects, a few limited edition models, and super high-end luxury editions. Now the personalization arm of JLR is expanding.

“There is a market for more off-road capability, so of course we’re looking at it,” said SVO boss John Edwards in a recent interview with AutoCar. “In the US there’s a wide snowbelt, in the Middle East there’s extreme sand and in regions such as Australia and South Africa there is a need to cover very rugged terrain.

The man certainly has a point. There are folks who crave off-road capabilities just as much as other crave luxury or personalization. Though SVO has not supplied any details, possible upgrades include a bumper-mounted winch, meatier tires, expanded underbody skidplating, a high-mounted air intake, roof rack, and off-road lighting.

Edwards continues saying the Germans have already broken into the luxury off-road market, though he didn’t specifically mention the new Mercedes G500 4x4². “We think there’s an opportunity to offer something different and something more. We’re well planned to develop and exploit opportunities in that market,” he said.

Additionally, Land Rover is already developing new technologies that make off-roading easier. A prime example came on the Discovery Vision concept. It featured a windshield that displayed virtual images of the terrain blocked by the hood via cameras mounted in the grille. Such systems, combined with proven hardware mounted outside, would make the upcoming Discovery 5 an unstoppable machine.

Expect to see the new LR5 in U.S. showrooms by 2017 with its SVX version coming a year later.

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Why it matters

Land Rover is known to make great vehicles for off-roading, even base models straight from the factory. Making a line of even more dedicated machines would only further Land Rover’s grip on the market and securing its branding as a go-anywhere machine. With JLR’s SVO division making specialty products that wouldn’t otherwise be made, the automaker has far more flexibility to meet exacting customer requests in a deeper manner than its competitors. There’s no doubt a SVX-branded Land Rover would do well.

Land Rover Discovery/LR4

2014 Land Rover Discovery XXV Special Edition - image 542248

Source: AutoCar

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