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A Weekend of Discoveries, Defenders, and a Bond Villain's Desert Lair

From Airows' roving photographer.

When it comes to car launches, not all are created equal. Some automakers are content to provide the keys for a couple of hours in a nondescript setting, others go to great lengths to ensure the entire experience is exhilarating.

Land Rover takes the latter approach, and thank god for it. We recently got a chance to test out the brand new Land Rover Discovery in one of the most magical places in the country, the Utah desert.

The Discovery is the latest evolution of the SUV bearing that name that Land Rover first introduced in 1989. But this isn't a rehash, it's an all-new vehicle that exemplifies Land Rover's new generation of ultra-capable, beautifully designed luxury sport utilities. 

Nor is it the new Defender, though Land Rover promises that a new version of the iconic and much-loved super-SUV will be coming down the pike. To emphasize this perhaps the company had Defenders on hand in a sort of supervisory capacity when we took the Discoveries into Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park to see what they could really do.

That might have been the highlight of the trip but it wasn't the only epic moment. Our base of operations was the incredible Amangiri, one of the coolest resorts in the world, which you might recognize from the Bond flick Quantum of Solace

The whole event could just as easily have taken place in a Bond movie too. There was even a dramatic blizzard that blew up as we were making the approach to the sand dunes, providing one more scenario for the Discovery to display its capabilities. 

Conclusion: very capable indeed. We wouldn't be at all surprised if 007 turns up in one the next time he hits the silver screen. Meanwhile, if you want us, we'll be by the pool....