The diesel version of the new Land Rover Discovery made its debut at the Birmingham Motor Show this week.

Powered by a version of the 2.7-litre V6 diesel engine found in the Jaguar S-Type, but modified to cope with steep inclines and deep mud and water, the new diesel is set to be the most popular model in the new Disco range.

Featuring the latest technology, including a high-pressure common-rail fuel supply, fast-acting electronically-controlled injectors and a turbocharger with variable nozzle control, the new power plant develops 190bhp and, more importantly for off-road use, 325lb/ft of torque at less than 1,900rpm.

Power is fed through a manual or automatic ZF six-speed gearbox, and on to a two-speed transfer box that distributes the drive between the front and rear axles using electrically-controlled locking differentials.

The Discovery 3 uses all-round independent suspension riding on variable-height air springs, with an array of slip control systems including dynamic stability control, electronic traction control and hill descent control to cope with any situation on- or off-road.

Land Rover’s new Terrain Response system, first previewed in the Range Stormer concept vehicle, allows the driver to choose from a general programme for normal driving, a special programme for slippery conditions (dubbed ‘grass/gravel/snow’), and three covering off-road surfaces – mud/ruts, sand and rock crawl. Terrain Response automatically tunes the vehicle’s systems including engine and gearbox response, electronic slip control systems sensitivity and ride height to maximise traction.

An all-aluminium, 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine with 295bhp 314lb/ft will also be available when the new Disco goes on sale later this year.