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New Land Rover Defender to come in three body styles

Any change to the Land Rover Defender generally sends purists into a frothing rage or, at the very least, has them tut-tutting into their afternoon tea.

The forthcoming Defender, expected to launch some time within the next calendar year, is set to bring some of the biggest changes the nameplate has ever seen, starting with a new 130 model.

According to a report from Automotive News, the next Defender will  be offered in three models: the traditional 90 and 110 variants, plus a new 130 model.

The 90 will allegedly be a three-door model with seating for up to five, while the five-door 110 will enjoy a longer wheelbase and accept five, six or seven passengers depending on spec.

The big surprise is the revelation of a 130 model. This rig will apparently offer seating for eight adventure-seeking people, putting it up against other big SUVs like the Lexus LX and Lincoln Navigator. Those same rumours peg this XL-sized Defender at just over 200 inches in length, about the same as the big Lexus.

A source also told the European publication that customers should expect four trims at launch: Country, Adventure, Urban and Explorer. Given this myriad of body lengths and trim options, plus the inevitable accessory catalog, Land Rover is playing a smart game of broadening the new Defender’s appeal and maximizing their profits.

Fun fact: JLR’s total sales in America outstripped that of Europe and the U.K. by about 10,000 and 20,000 units, respectively, in the last financial year. Offering the Defender in jumbo size, then, makes a lot of sense.

Another big rumour? A least one of the diesel engines on offer will make it to this side of the pond. If it shows up, it’ll be a tasty 300-hp straight-six scooting to 100 km/h from zero in about 7.5 seconds.

The next-gen Defender will be unveiled in September at the Frankfurt auto show. The three-door 90 and five-door 110 models are expected to go on sale next year, followed by the gonzo-sized 130 about twelve months later.