I bought a 98 Discovery new and it was in the dealer 27 times in the 18 months that I owned it. Needless to say I parted with it quickly.
Basically Land Rovers are junk. There is no other way to say it. While it is certainly possible to get a 'lemon' in almost any car you buy, it happens with the most alarming frequency only in Land Rovers. You are more likely to get a horribly built vehicle from Land Rover than any other manufcaturer. This aplies here in the US and in Europe. There reputation is atrocious. Additionally, the company is, in almost every case, unwilling to make even the most basic effort to put things right. Other manufacturers value there reputations far more and are willing to go the extra mile for the customer. Add the fact that most dealer service departments are staffed by a bunch of incompetent buffoons and this is what you get. Some people think that it is quaint that Land Rovers have these difficulties and that "you have to expect it, British charm and all that", well that is unmitigated nonsense.
When a person pays upwards of $36,000.00 for a vehicle the least thing that should be expected is that it will not leak any fluids. I can understand minor sample defects like; lights and switches; but major engine and transmission issues are ridiculous and totally unacceptable. Especially in this day and age of quality, quality, quality, and advanced manufacturing capabilities. Every other manufacturer has taken the quality idea to heart, why not Land Rover? All one has to do is look at how Ford has turned Jaguar around to see what can be done and how it should be done. Jaguar, since Ford took over, now ranks, consistently, among the highest in quality. Ford started cleaning house on day one with Jaguar and has not stopped since. They have spent upwards of $2.5 billion dollars modernizing the Jaguar maufacturing processes. Castle Bromwich, where the new S-type is built, is now one of the most modern and advanced automobile plants in the world.
The problem with Land Rover is that BMW loses a ton of money on the Rover car division but makes a ton of money on the trucks. They use the truck division as a cash cow to offset losses at the car division, quality and attention to detail be damned. They sell the Land Rover brand on the basis of its reputation for being 'rugged and dependable - yada, yada, yada', not on its quality or reliability. They hope that the gullible consumer will fall for the adventure bit, like I and others did, and subsequently will put up with the quality shortcomings just to be able to be part of the Land Rover mystique. And all the people out there who keep parroting the "oh, its a British car , what do you expect bit", help BMW to keep selling these junk wagons without making any fundamental improvements in the level of quality.
Eventually, the marketplace will bring the Land Rover brand to its sooner than
you think demise. It is still not widely known that BMW owns Land Rover and
BMW will not, over the long term, allow its own reputation for quality to be
sullied by the Land Rover brand. The Quandt family, who are the majority shareholders
in BMW, were incensed when BMW purchased Rover Group. They recently forced the
ouster of the chairman and his number two man at BMW over this issue. They have
both gone on to work at VW and Ford respectively. Not because they are any sort
of geniuses but because they know BMW's 10-12 year strategic timeline. In the
German business community, the rumour mill has it, that that future does not
include Rover Group should BMW remain an independent entity. The Quandt family
is reportedly interested in a friendly takeover bid for BMW from GM. The rumour
mill here in the US is that if that should occur, GM will either sell Rover
Group or simply let it wither on the vine. Land Rover, aside from its much vaunted
and overblown history, has nothing to offer any prospective suitor, technologically
or otherwise. Its 4WD system by almost any measure, for instance, is not even
the equal of what you can find on vehicles costing thousands less. In the final
analysis, the end of Land Rover is nigh. In this world if you build a junk product,
the market will unmercifully dispense with you. Consumers expect and have a
right to expect more. That applies whether you drive through the Kalahari with
you 'British wonder' or to the mall. Good riddance to a worthless product.
Note: About the Land Rover ACE system. If you really, really, really want to have difficulties with a Discovery, buy one with the ACE system. In concept, engineering and execution it is a boondoggle waiting to happen. Talk about a worthless option, this is it. It will keep the vehcile more level in turns up to .4g , should you exceed this limit the system will shut off to remind you, by allowing the vehicle to lean further over, to take it easy and slow down. Here is the rub; the redesigned suspension on the new Discovery has greatly improved the handling anyway, particularly in turns. So much so that the vehicle will remain relatively docile up to .3g in turns. All this without ACE. So for an extra .1g you get this hugely complicated system with untold potential for all sorts difficulties. Any of you who own, just look under the vehicle at the incredible amount of hydraulic hoses required to operate this system, you can see some of the lines and some you cannot. Good luck if something goes wrong there. This is another example of the monumental stupidity which pervades Land Rover. In Germany, it was reported that Mercedes Benz engineers, after having a look at the ACE system, had themselves a hearty laugh. They were unable to see any utility in it. If you must by a Discovery, do not get ACE. It is absolutely, positively worthless. Do not listen to those who say that it helps wheel articulation and all that nonsense. The benefit, if any, is so incremental as to be inconsequential. Weigh the supposed benefit against the extra cost and potential for aggravation and you will want to stay away from it. Better yet, do not buy a Land Rover.