The 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed has been running all week long, and almost all chapters and subheadings of motorsports history have made an appearance. There’s been plenty of unique, odd-ball stuff thrown into the mix for good measure, too. That's where the real entertainment lies. As such, The Drive’s Goodwood Odd-Ball Best In Show (I’m creating this award this very second) shall go to this BMW M-powered Land Rover Discovery 2.
Mercy, I can already hear the snarlings. “Two of the most unreliable automakers in history,” “what a dumb car,” and so on. But really, this thing is too frickin’ cool. Here’s why.
Firstly, one of the reasons why people love to hate this era of Land Rover so much is, well, it didn’t make the best impression reliability-wise. The gripes are appropriate there. It made the Discovery 1, filled to the brim with Lucas electrics, look like a Toyota Camry. The Disco 2 came out towards the end of when BMW still owned Land Rover, and if you thumb through a few pages of Land Rover enthusiast forums, you’ll quickly see why it was a sort of a dark age for the brand. I won't even get into the P38 Range Rover (even though I'd totally own one someday).
Some genius throwing an M3's inline-six into this Disco actually does a lot of good.
This really is a scenario where the best of both worlds are combined. Ask anyone who’s tortured themselves with Disco 2 ownership: When they're working correctly, they're beasts off-road. Then, when a BMW S engine doesn’t need new rod bearings, main bearings, VANOS solenoids, a lengthy air filter change, and so on, it’s a ravenously fun thing to rev out. I’m hazarding a guess that it’s an S54 under the hood in this instance—this is a generally stout motor, it just needs some looking after. Or, it could be an S50 which would be even cooler from my American perspective because we never got that one here.
Next, this thing hauls. With aluminum body panels and a lot of its weight down low—solid axles, transmission, driveshafts, transfer case, etc.—there’s a decent recipe for cornering speed here. It’s probably been stripped and caged, as well as had its suspension tuned accordingly for race duty. Though, those tires look awfully narrow for track driving.
Finally, it’s just so bizarre. It’s quintessential “I didn’t expect that to sound like that” content, nor would anyone call that run slow … by regular Disco 2 standards, that is.
There’s plenty of other run footage slowly publishing on Goodwood’s Facebook page and YouTube. I highly recommend spending a rousing Friday night scoping out all of it.
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