Land Rover was at the Nürburgring recently to perform a series of tests with a 2017 Discovery prototype.

The Land Rover Discovery 4 has been around since 2009 and it’s fair to say a replacement can’t come soon enough. Seen here is a prototype of the all-new Discovery performing final testing rounds at the ‘Ring ahead of the model’s expected debut later this year. The significant amount of camouflage on this prototype can’t hide the more modern shape which makes the reputable off roader less blocky than the outgoing model.

The rounded front fascia appears to have a lot in common with the Discovery Sport while the rear end is home to horizontal taillights, thus replacing the current model’s vertical clusters. Overall, the design will take cues not just from the aforementioned Discovery Sport, but also from the 2014 Discovery Vision Concept.

We checked the prototype’s license plate and found out the car was first registered on November 10 last year and it’s powered by a 3.0-liter gasoline engine, most likely the supercharged V6 unit. However, the bread and butter of the engine lineup will obviously be the turbodiesel 3.0-liter SDV6 which will be the top choice among buyers.

It’s unclear at this point how the interior will look like, but most likely it will borrow bits from the Discovery Sport with a dash of luxury from the Range Rover. The 2017 Discovery is expected to get a laser scanning system to analyze the road up ahead and based on the findings the computers will make the necessary changes to the vehicle’s suspension and gearbox.

A more rugged SVX derivative will reportedly join the Discovery lineup about 12 or 18 months after the regular model. It will adopt a slightly beefier body and a more extensive array of off-roading kit, so that laser scanning system we mentioned could be reserved for this version.

Expect the standard Land Rover Discovery to show its production face in October at the Paris Motor Show before going on sale towards the end of the year.

Gallery: 2017 Land Rover Discovery spy photo