Land Rover's 300hp Discovery goes from rest to motion in an unforgettable way
Land Rover Discovery 2.0: From still to sensational Starting up the latest Land Rover Discovery 2.0 is like waking a sleepy full-grown rhinoceros. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Ordinarily, a car with 300hp and 400Nm of torque would feel as energetic as a caffeinated bunny.

But if the car weighs over two tonnes, there are limits to what it can do, even if those 300 horses are summoned all at once.

The latest Land Rover Discovery 2.0 is a bit like that. Equipped with the beefiest 2-litre power plant within the Jaguar Land Rover fold, it has 300hp from 5,500rpm and 400Nm between 1,500rpm and 4,000rpm.

It is the same steroidal engine powering the more compact Jaguar F-Type 2.0 Coupe. In the Jag, the outcome is bristling. The car hurtles to 100kmh in 5.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 250kmh.

The Discovery, however, is a different beast. It measures almost 5m bumper to bumper, 2m side to side, and is nearly 1.9m from tyre to roof. It has a ground clearance of up to 284mm, twice that of many sedans.

Combine all that with a kerb weight of 2.1 tonnes and you get a car which illustrates Newton's First Law as effectively as a sleepy full-grown rhinoceros. The massive Discovery stays at rest until it is acted upon by a monumental force.

So, when you step on the throttle, you hear the turbocharged 2-litre's volume rising with its revs, but it is only after a split second that this is actually followed by motion.

Once inertia is overcome and the giant is rolling along, the second part of the law applies. That is, an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by a force.

In this respect, it takes a while to get used to the seven-seater SUV's propensity to coast.

Often, you will need to intervene with the left pedal to avoid running over that roadster in front of you. Thankfully, its brakes and steering rein in the mammoth quite effortlessly.

While its 7.7-second century sprint is admirable for its size, it is two full seconds slower than the F-Type - an eternity in motoring terms - and its peak velocity is limited to a more manageable 201kmh.

But because of its uncanny ability to almost mimic a meteor hurtling through space, its fuel consumption is not overly poor, at 9.6 litres/100km, compared with the F-Type's 7.2.

Because of its physical proportions, the Land Rover is prone to body movements on the go.

An air suspension system makes progress bearable for all onboard, but the car's ride and handling traits are clearly influenced by Land Rover's offroad considerations.

If necessary, the car will wade through 900mm of water and tackle a 34-degree slope.

And you can do it in luxury too. The Disco has a suite of premium amenities befitting its $300,000 price range. You can even configure all seven seats remotely (in the HSE variant).

But what is more impressive is the overall look and feel of the cockpit. Every switch and surface seems better finished than before. Even its infotainment touchscreen with reverse camera looks more vibrant and feels more responsive.

Overall, the car is surprisingly refined, despite the near-cosmic forces it is often subject to as 300 horses from a modestly sized engine lug its elephantine structure across the tarmac.