Land Rover reveals fresh new Defender

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Words: Nile Bijoux
11 Sep 2019

After heaps of teases and concepts, Land Rover has, at long last, revealed the new-generation Defender at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

It kicks off with two versions, the 110 and 90. The numbers refer to the wheelbase in inches, with the former coming with 5+2 seating.

There’s a trio of engine options, consisting of twodiesels and JLR’s electrified inline-six, with outputs of 147kW/430Nm in the entry-level D200 and 177kW/430Nm in the D240. Meanwhile, the mild hybrid straight six makes a healthy 297kW/500Nm, being both turbocharged and supercharged. The latter is powered by the 48V mild hybrid system, which can also harvest energy under braking. Land Rover says a P400e PHEV variant will arrive next year.

Every engine is connected to an eight-speed automatic, sending power through a permanent four-wheel drive system. A two-speed transfer case helps the off-road side of things while the Terrain Response 2 system allows multiple drive modes. There’s even a Wade programme, which “ensures drivers can ford deep water with complete confidence.”

Under the skin is a new aluminium monocoque instead of the previous body-on-frame build, which Land Rover says is three times stiffer than before. Cushioning off-road bumps is independent coil-sprung suspension at each corner, with air suspension available as an option.

The new Defender has a towing capacity rated at 3500kg and a payload of 900kg. Wading depth is 900mm, supported by ground clearance of 291mm which allows the 110 to have approach, breakover and departure angles of 38, 28 and 40 degrees, respectively.

New Defender features up to the minute 21st century styling, in contrast to the mid-20th century outline of its predecessor. There’s a squared-off rear end with stacked LED taillights contrasting with a rounded front end, which will probably divide die-hard fans.

Inside is an interesting place to be, with the steering wheel an historic affair. Pair that with two digital screens and over-the-air updates, for a mix of influences. A special Defender trick is that the middle backrest of the front-row bench seat can fold forward, providing additional cupholders. If you like to customise, Land Rover will offer around 170 accessories before you even get into the aftermarket offerings.

Pricing and a local launch are yet to be announced but JLR NZ says if you’ve been waiting for this, best to strike while the iron’s hot or face delays as there are likely to be supply shortages.

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