First Drive: 2010 Land Rover LR4

What's in a name, anyway? For 2010, the Land Rover LR3 transforms into the Land Rover LR4. According to Land Rover, this is the fourth generation of the Discovery, a name still used in other markets.

Familiar Looks
The slight changes to the exterior of the 2010 Land Rover LR4 are limited to a new grille, front bumper, and LED headlamps. A larger cooling duct in the front bumper is about the only visual change there and it isn't nearly as noticeable as the new grille just a few inches higher up. Now the front bumper helps improve aerodynamics by pushing air around the front wheels and streamlining the sides of the vehicle. Revised head and taillights now contain LEDs. The overall affects of the freshening are very slight and aren't immediately obvious unless the LR4 is parked right next to an LR3. If the LR4 happens to be painted Nara Bronze, Bali Blue, or Ipanema Sand, it will be more noticeable as these colors are new for 2010.

More Power
With a new 5.0-liter V-8, horsepower is up an impressive 25% to 375 and torque increases 19% to 375 lb-ft. The 0-60-mph time is down to 7.5 seconds, which is nearly as fast as the outgoing Range Rover Sport Supercharged. Direct injection allows the compression ratio to be bumped up to 11.5:1. U.S. fuel economy ratings for the larger engine should match those of the outgoing 4.4-liter V-8, with the new engine benefitting from a lower idle speed and a smarter alternator that refrains from charging the battery while the vehicle is accelerating. Another small efficiencies come from the six-speed automatic transmission locking up the torque converter earlier and from taller gearing.

Jaguar and Land Rover models share the 5.0-liter V-8, but there are some important changes to the AJ-V8 for use in Land Rovers: A deeper sump allows lubrication at the more extreme angles Land Rovers may experience, a mechanical cooling fan is used for SUVs, and the intake manifolds have been revised to accommodate the packaging restrictions of the LR4. Vital parts like the alternator, air conditioning, power steering pump, and starter motor have been waterproofed to aid in the LR4's water fording abilities.

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