New Land Rover Defender revealed - and it's coming here
Land Rover has revealed the long-awaited new Defender at the Frankfurt motor show.
While its blocky retro-futuristic design will almost certainly alienate as many people as it excites (we absolutely love it!), it is a technological powerhouse that also happens to pack some incredibly convincing off-road specs.
Add to this a huge range of customisation options and the fact that it completely eschews the original's crude, utilitarian approach and you have a vehicle that will most likely be in high demand and the target of absolute rage from the Defender/Series Land Rover traditionalists.
With the likes of the Suzuki Jimny and Mercedes-Benz G wagen enjoying considerable demand at the extreme ends of the admittedly niche "incredibly capable retro-inspired off-roader" segment, the Defender could well be landing in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. Either way, here's what you need to know about it.
One model at launch, more to come.
The new Defender will initially launch in 110 guise, with the short wheelbase three-door 90 coming shortly after.
Where 90 and 110 used to refer to the wheelbase of the respective models, that is no longer the case - both have grown considerably (with the 90 up by 227mm and the 110 by 228mm), yet both share the same front and rear overhangs - the 435mm difference in length between the two is solely in the middle of the vehicle to allow for the 110's extra doors.
A 130 that will share the 110's wheelbase, but with a longer rear overhang is reportedly in the works, but Land Rover is not giving anything away on that yet. While there is no official word of a pick up at the moment, an engineer told 4x4 Australia that "There's the potential" for one at a later date.
While the 90 will come standard with steel coil spring suspension, it will have the option of air suspension, while the 110 will get the air suspension set up as standard.
Inside, the dash-mounted gear shifter allows for an optional central front 'jump' seat, which provides three-abreast seating across the front, meaning that the 110 offers five, six or 5+2 seating configurations, with a loadspace behind the second-row seats of up to 1,075 litres, and as much as 2,380-litres when the second row is folded. The Defender 90 will be able to accommodate up to six occupants.
The model range will comprise of Defender, First Edition and top of the range Defender X models, as well as standard, S and SE specification packs.
Diesel or petrol power.
The new Defender will come with a range of 4 and 6-cylinder engines: two 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesels, a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol and a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo-petrol with a mild hybrid electric system boosting performance.
New Zealand would appear to be ignoring the 2.0-litre petrol, with the P400 petrol six, and D200 and D240 with the diesel four in two states of tune being slated for the local line up.
While the company's V8s can apparently fit, there is no word on that ever happening, although a plug-in hybrid is definitely coming.
Its a serious off-road beast.
The new Defender has up to 291mm of ground clearance (on air suspension models, steel suspension models have 218mm), which is technically less than the old one, but the shift to a monocoque platform and independent rear suspension means it has a completely flat underside, with no diffs hanging down.
The Defender sits on what Land Rover is calling the D7x architecture, that is related to the D7 platform that forms the basis of the Range Rover, Discovery and Velar, but has been extensively re-engineered (the 'x' stands for 'extreme') for use in the Defender. Land Rover say that the D7x architecture is three times stiffer than a traditional body-on-frame design.
All models come standard with permeant dual-range all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission, a centre differential and the option of an active locking rear differential.
All models will be capable of wading through 900mm of water but, according to an interview with 4x4 Australia, engineers even say it is capable of going deeper and, to reduce the risk of floating, the doors can be cracked to let water in, ruining the carpet, but the electrics will be fine - the entire electrical system is IP67 certified, meaning that it can be submerged in a metre of fresh water for an hour with no issues.
The Defender's approach, breakover and departure angles are 38, 28 and 40 degrees respectively, but this is for the air suspension models at full off-road height.
It's got lots of tech.
If you were hoping the new Defender would be as basic and agricultural as the old one, prepare to be massively disappointed (although, let's face it; it was never going to be).
As well as an advanced terrain response system, the Defender also gets a "wade" mode that to make the most of that impressive 900mm wading depth. It also scores Land Rover's ClearSight Ground View technology that displays the area usually hidden by the bonnet, directly ahead of the front wheels, on the central touchscreen.
The Defender introduces Land Rover's new Pivi Pro infotainment system a next-generation touchscreen system that the company says requires fewer inputs to perform frequently used tasks, while its always-on design "guarantees almost instant responses."
In addition, the new Defender also gets Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA) technology, with 14 individual modules capable of receiving remote updates.
It's all about that outdoor lifestyle.
Land Rover will offer four accessory packs with the Defender - Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban - and the companys says each give it "a distinct character with a specially selected range of enhancements."
As well as the packs, it will also offer the "widest choice of individual accessories ever assembled for a new Land Rover", including everything from a remote control electric winch that is integrated behind the number plate and a rooftop tent and inflatable waterproof awnings, to more conventional fare, such as towbars and roof racks.
The Defender is engineered to carry up to 168kg on its roof when moving and up to 300kg when static, meaning two people can sleep in that rooftop tent.
And because it actually wants you to get the Defender dirty, Land Rover will be offering a factory-fitted wrap in matte colours as an option. The company says the wrap has "scratch recovery" properties and can be removed and replaced during the life of the car. It is also fully recyclable.
It's coming here, but you better get in quick if you want one.
Jaguar Land Rover NZ general manager Steve Kenchington has confirmed the local distributor will be bringing the Defender here and says he expects strong demand for it
"The new Land Rover Defender integrates decades of Defender DNA and combines it with the latest generation technology from the Land Rovers that are produced today.
"The new Defender is as practical as it is tough and can be further adapted to fit the requirements of a family with seating options available for five, six or seven passengers," he said.
Kenchington says the new model will be one of their most anticipated in recent times and will see limited stock made available across the globe.
"We are advising our New Zealand customers to contact their authorised Jaguar Land Rover retailer to register their interest early."
Pricing and delivery timing for the new Defender will be announced in the coming weeks, but Land Rover Australia has said the 110 will "start at around AU$70,000" or NZ$75,000, leading Australian media to speculate that the 90 will priced somewhere around AU$60,000 (NZ$64,000).