Land Rover Discovery G4 Challenge: Spotted

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being onboard a proper off-roader when it’s out in the wilderness you’ll know just how effective they can be. See our recent go in the new and very impressive Suzuki Jimny for evidence – a sorted 4x4 wearing muck-ready tyres will ascend slippery surfaces you couldn’t walk up and traverse steep valleys you couldn’t stand on.

Up until a decade ago, Land Rover used to really hammer this point home by hosting an adventure event, called the G4 Challenge (formerly the Camel Challenge before cigarette sponsorship was banned). Each event was about a month long and required competing teams to use Land Rover models to trawl their way across some of the world’s harshest landscapes. For the teams it was a chance to chase glory; for Land Rover it was great PR.

For the rest of us, aside from producing some pretty spectacular imagery (Google Camel Trophy and G4 Challenge to see for yourself), it also spawned some rather cool special edition models, each toughened up like the challenge cars and offered with loads of extra kit. The earliest example was the Defender Camel Trophy Edition, which came with a nose-mounted winch, bull bar and roof racks, as well as chunky off-road tyres and roof fog lights.

There were also special versions of the Freelander and Range Rover, but the model to get the most challenge variants was the Discovery. G4 versions of the first, second and third-generation cars were produced, with the latter also being the final challenge car to be sold to buyers before the annual event was cancelled in 2008 amid the global recession and resulting difficult financial circumstances for JLR (how different its fortunes were before the hot-selling Evoque arrived in 2011).

The Disco 3 G4 Challenge was, therefore, the end of an era. It was based on the TDV6, which was the most popular Disco variant in Europe and used the 325lb ft of torque producing 2.7-litre turbocharged diesel motor, mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. Land Rover’s G4 models were always standard cars equipped with a few off-road additions, so the Disco 3 came in HSE form but got a winch, roof-mounted spot lights and bull bars, along with a snorkel intake and roof rack, complete with fog lights. Oh, and it was also painted orange.

Some cars, like today's Spotted, were specced by their original buyers with expedition-worthy optional extras like a G4 mountain bicycle, kayak and tent. These options were pricey (because G4) and to find a car on sale with its original optional extras like this is rare. Yet even this fact might not prepare you for the asking price attached to the two-owner, 50,000-mile-old Disco 3 G4 in question: £31,995. That’s about three-times the price of a regular Disco 3 TDV6 with similar mileage. Blimey.

Then again, if you’re the sort of hardy person who loves the idea of venturing far from society in your explorer-spec off-roader, perhaps this is your idea of motoring perfection. It's a swiss army knife on wheels. A mechanical Bear Grylls. Certainly most of us can appreciate the sheer awesomeness of a Disco dressed in gear to help it claw through jungles, along deserts and over mountains without complaint. That this one happens to be linked to one of the toughest motoring events in the history of the car should help to seal the deal for one deep-pocketed adventurer.

2,720cc, V6, turbo
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Power (hp): 195
Torque (lb ft): 325
CO2: 249g/km
MPG: 30mpg
First registered: 2008
Recorded mileage: 25,000
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £31,995

See the original advert here.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (20) Join the discussion on the forum

  • livinginasia 19 Sep 2018

    What a fabulous vehicle but my word that price is “punchy”. Seems way overpriced to me, even with the extras.

  • 48k 19 Sep 2018

    The G4 challenge was not an annual event, it was every three years and the third one (which the 08 cars like this one were built for) got cancelled before the start so none of the 08 G4 vehicles have actually done the challenge although a couple were used for pre event recces.

    The G4 cars always attract a premium because of the provenance, even the 08 cars which didn't do the challenge. They are all standard vehicles painted tangiers orange (aside from a couple of silver ones) with the options book thrown at them. It's rare to find an 08 G4 Disco with the red crescent stickers on the back doors though this one then has other stickers missing from the rear window. No two cars appear to be the same or have the same kit with them.

    If you're going to take the plunge get it thoroughly checked by a specialist particularly underneath, have the winch all the way out and make sure it works, make sure everything else works. Get a third party warranty and make sure your AA cover is up to date. Unfortunately the TDV6 in the 08 year Disco has a reputation for being a bit suspect and several owners have had major engine issues including me - bottom end bearing failure a few weeks out of warranty on a 50K mile engine was an expensive repair. Lots of other niggles but a fantastic car when it's working and you never lose it in car parks laugh

  • Ryan-nunm9 19 Sep 2018

    I for one am glad they fetch a premium! Bought a grey defender 8 years ago, a couple of jet washes later the grey started to peel off.

    It’s now being hit with sand paper and looks like this (all be it a couple weeks ago now.

    I’ve already got the correct ‘extras’ - winch, roof rack, lights etc so some new doors, rubber seals all round to be ordered, a few fiddly bits like hinges to be sand blasted and then it’s time to (try) put it back together.

  • legless 19 Sep 2018

    48k said:
    The G4 challenge was not an annual event, it was every three years and the third one (which the 08 cars like this one were built for) got cancelled before the start so none of the 08 G4 vehicles have actually done the challenge although a couple were used for pre event recces.
    I've got experience of this particular car. I was part of the repatriation team for the fleet that had been used for the recces.

    There were 8 cars in total that were used, and I drove this one back in convoy from Essaouira to Gaydon via the Tangier-Tarifa and Bilbao-Portsmouth ferries.

  • ChemicalChaos 19 Sep 2018

    Great spotted article, however as a serious Land Rover anorak I feel I need to offer a couple of corrections!

    The G4 was not merely a rebrand of the Camel Trophy.
    The Camel was always simply about the toughest off road driving, ploughing through the most impossible jungle mud and river crossings. It was a test of the most extreme driving skill and teamwork of the contestants.

    By contrast, the G4 was a socially conscious adventure challenge for the new millennium, with a focus on promoting conservation and community outreach as part of the travelling circus. As well as (much more tame) off road driving, the contestants also faced challenges in navigation, mountain biking and kayaking.

    Whereas G4 was conceived by Land Rover, Camel was originally a 3rd party event, on its first running in 1980 it in fact used Jeeps. Every subsequent event used Land Rovers - initially the Series 3 and Range Rover Classic, the Defender actually came along later - and over time was taken over to become a Land Rover company event.

    The G4 first ran in 2003, by which time Discovery 2 was almost at the end of its production. D1, replaced in 1998, was only ever seen in the Camel.

    The vehicle featured was most certainly not specced with its accessories by the first owner. After each G4 the vehicles were totally stripped of accessories, stickers and off road parts - they were sold on by Land Rover as a simple, plain orange vehicle. It is only due to the tireless dedication of the G4 enthusiasts and owners club that they have been restored to event spec with replica stickers, painstakingly tracked down tents/bikes/kayaks, and secondhand or equivalent replica off road gadgets and under armour

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