New 2020 Land Rover Defender teased ahead of Frankfurt reveal
A teaser image of the all-new Land Rover Defender’s grille has been unveiled ahead of the car’s debut on Tuesday 10 September at the Frankfurt Motor Show. However, we’ve already seen a completely undisguised, mildly modified version of the new SUV, courtesy of a leaked image snapped from the set of the next James Bond film, No Time to Die.
Modifications to this leaked film car include a bumper-mounted winch, a pair of titanium chequer-plates for the bonnet, black exterior trim, heavily tinted privacy glass and “Alpine” style roof windows – something not spotted on previous development mules. In addition, Land Rover’s teased grille is a near-perfect match to the leaked film car’s.
Over the last year or so, Land Rover has subjected the Defender rigorous development programme, with help from partners such as the Kenyan wildlife conservation charity, Tusk and theInternational Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. It’s been tested on all manner of surfaces, including the muddy backwaters of Eastnor, UK, the rocky trails of Death Valley, USA and the sand dunes of Dubai.
Land Rover’s latest teaser image follows a raft of leaked specifications, which provided comprehensive details about the new Defender’s dimensions, body styles, engines, trim levels and option packs, as well as confirming specific release dates for each model in the SUV’s range.
The mid-size Defender 110 is slated to be launched in October, followed by the short-wheelbase 90 in March 2020 and the long-wheelbase 130 in August 2020.
The leaked document, which appears to be from an internal presentation, reveals that the Defender 110 will be 4,758mm long, 1,916mm tall and 1,999mm wide, while its wheelbase will be 3,022mm (119 inches). Naturally the 90 is more compact, with an overall length of 4,323mm and a wheelbase of 2,587mm (102 inches). The long-wheelbase 130 model shares its wheelbase with the 110 and its overall length increases to 5,100mm.
Land Rover’s new Defender 90 will be offered with either five or six seats in a three-plus-three arrangement, with a middle seat for the front bench. Defender 110 models will be available with five, six or seven seats, while the largest 110 model will only be sold as a three-row, eight-seat SUV.
According to leaks, six engines will be available in the new Defender, with buyers given the choice of two petrols, three diesels and a plug-in hybrid variant. Most of the powertrains appear to be pulled from Land Rover’s existing line-up and all, with the exception of the most powerful diesel engine, will be available from launch.
The petrol range opens with Land Rover’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder P300 unit, producing 296bhp and 400Nm of torque and issuing the Defender with a claimed 0–62mph time of 7.9 seconds. Above it sits the P400; a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six with 395bhp and 550Nm of torque, offering a 0–62mph time of 5.3 seconds.
A new D200 turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder acts as the entry-point to the Defender’s diesel range, with 197bhp, 430Nm of torque and a 0–62mph time of around ten seconds. Land Rover’s D240 unit is a re-tuned version of the same engine, sitting in the Defender’s mid-range, with 237bhp, 430Nm of torque and a 0–62mph time of 8.9 seconds.
The range-topping diesel engine is a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six with 296bhp, 700Nm of torque and a claimed 0–62mph time of 7.4 seconds. It’ll be offered on all models in the Defender range, although it won’t be available until late 2020.
Land Rover’s final engine choice will be a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder plug-in hybrid petrol powertrain, offering claimed economy figures of 91mpg. Dubbed the P400e, it produces 398bhp and between 400Nm and 645Nm of torque. Like all engines in the new Defender’s line up, its mated to an automatic gearbox and an all-wheel-drive system.
Four trim levels will be available for the new Land Rover Defender. Standard equipment is said to include LED headlights, six-way adjustable seats, fabric upholstery, a 10-inch infotainment system and a 140W stereo system. Mid-range S models add front fog lamps, 12-way adjustable seats and a 12-inch digital instrument binnacle.
SE equipped Defenders get 20-inch Apollo alloy wheels, upgraded LED headlights with high beam assist, an electrically adjustable steering column, Land Rover’s park pack and memory mirrors. Range-topping HSE models add unique 20-inch Krypton alloys, leather upholstery, Matrix LED headlights and a 740W Meridian surround sound system.
Land Rover will also offer four accessory packs, called “Explorer,” “Adventure,” “Urban” and “Country.” Details remain sparse, but we assume these packages will outfit the Defender with a range of functional and cosmetic additions, such as a snorkel, a roof rack or a tailgate ladder.
A launch edition “X” model will also be available for the Defender 110, with a fixed specification and limited options, before being offered with a broader specification from 2021.
New Land Rover Defender: Design
While it’s clear that it will borrow design cues from modern Land Rover and Range Rover models, there are other details that will clearly mark the car out as a true Land Rover Defender. The headlights, for example, seem to feature a clear round headlamp with small indicator bulbs to the side - albeit fared into the main unit, unlike the classic Defender.
Like the old model, Land Rover’s latest Defender mules have a large, completely flat bonnet, with a slim grille below. The familiar Land Rover vents are visible behind the front wheel-arches, while the tail lights are designed to ape the classic model’s. Also like the old Defender, a side-hinged tailgate gives access to the luggage bay.
The new Defender will have an aluminium body built on an aluminium chassis, borrowing a range of components from other Land Rover vehicles. JLR executive, Dr Ralph Speth, said: “We’re already doing this now… We used the modular architecture and elements of our chassis for weight reduction to make the new Discovery a better-handling car. We will do so also in the future because we always learn.”
A few months ago, an undisguised interior image of the Defender was leaked on Twitter. The picture, which has since been deleted also revealed the SUV’s infotainment system, along with the hint of a middle seat (suggesting a potential three-seat layout) and an amusing set of labelled pedals with “GO” stamped on the accelerator and “STOP” printed on the brake.
The Defender’s interior looks set to transform with a large central screen and a digital instrument binnacle, much like the system fitted to the latest Land Rover Discovery. Like the old model, the Defender will retain its chunky, practical heater controls and traditional rotary volume knob.
New Land Rover Defender: large family planned
Beyond the launch of the basic model, Land Rover is planning to introduce a series of Defender models, spanning a variety of shapes and body styles. Land Rover's chief marketing officer Felix Bräutigam told Auto Express: "One of the exciting things for us is that we are not launching a car, we are launching a family of cars.”
Furthermore, design boss Gerry McGovern has hinted that a performance SVR version could be on the cards. Such a car would be developed by Jaguar Land Rover’s newly formed Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division, and would allow the brand to tap into demand in Russia and China for powerful and luxurious rugged off-roaders, currently dominated by the Mercedes-AMG G 63.
It's also likely that a hardcore Defender SVX will join the range at some stage and we could even see a luxurious SVA version in line with the Range Rover SVAutobiography. Whatever happens, the new Defender will continue Land Rover’s move upmarket. “In its core form it can be something that can be quite elemental up to something incredibly luxurious,” said McGovern.
Prices are yet to be confirmed for the new Defender, but we expect the cheapest short-wheelbase Defender 90 will start from around £40,000.
Are you holding out for the new Land Rover Defender, or would you rather have this Defender-inspired Suzuki Jimny? Let us know below...