Land Rover’s chief design officer, Gerry McGovern, has been around automobiles for a very long time and, in journalistic terms, ‘is good copy’, meaning he can always be relied upon to have something interesting to say – and with the all new Defender, does just that.
“We have created the new Defender to ensure it is ready for anything, with a design that has been inspired by the past, not constrained by it. Its elemental grille, sophisticated surfacing and commanding stance give the entire family a modernity and confidence that set it apart, while simultaneously retaining the essential elements that make a Defender so recognisable.”
That just about sums it up for the newcomer, unveiled as a worldwide virtual launch to computers everywhere.
The 110 is just the start for this family and will be followed by a short wheelbase 90 in 2020.
The new Defenderhas minimal front and rear overhangs, providing excellent approach and departure angles, while the upright stance keeps the Alpine light windows in the roof, side-hinged rear tailgate and externally-mounted spare wheel that make the original so identifiable.
The stripped-back personality of the original Defender has been embraced inside, where structural elements and fixings usually hidden from view have been exposed, with the emphasis on simplicity and practicality.
Innovative features include a dash-mounted gear shifter to accommodate an optional central front ‘jump’ seat, which provides three-abreast seating across the front like early Land Rovers.
As a result, the Defender 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 six occupants in a vehicle the length of a compact family hatchback.
Land Rover’s new purpose-engineered D7x (for extreme) architecture is based on a lightweight aluminium monocoque construction to create the stiffest body structure Land Rover has ever produced. It is three times stiffer than traditional body-on-frame designs, providing perfect foundations for the fully independent air or coil sprung suspension and supports the latest electrified powertrains.
The new Defender has been through more than 62 000 tests for engineering sign-off, while the chassis and body architecture have been engineered to withstand Land Rover’s Extreme Event Test procedure – repeated and sustained impacts, above and beyond the normal standard for SUV and passenger cars.
During development testing, prototype models have covered millions of kilometres across some of the harshest environments on earth, ranging from the 50-degree heat of the desert and sub 40-degree cold of the Arctic to altitudes of 10 000 ft in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
Permanent all-wheel drive and a twin-speed automatic gearbox, centre differential and optional Active Locking Rear Differential ensure it has all the hardware required to excel in the soft sand of the desert, the freezing tundra of the arctic and everywhere in between.
Configurable Terrain Response debuts on new Defender, allowing experienced off-roaders to fine-tune individual vehicle settings to perfectly suit the conditions, while inexperienced drivers can let the system detect the most appropriate vehicle settings for the terrain, using the intelligent Auto function.
The new body architecture provides ground clearance of 291 mm giving the 110 approach, breakover and departure angles of 38, 28 and 40 degrees (Off Road height) respectively. Its maximum wading depth of 900 mm is supported by a new Wade programme in the Terrain Response 2 system, which ensures drivers can ford deep water with complete confidence.
On dry land, Land Rover’s advanced ClearSight Ground View technology helps drivers take full advantage of Defender’s all-conquering capability by showing the area usually hidden by the bonnet, directly ahead of the front wheels, on the central touchscreen.
A choice of advanced petrol and cleaner diesel engines ensure new Defender has the power, control and efficiency for any environment. At South African launch expected in the first half of 2020, the 110 line-up will include a powerful 3,0-litre straight six-cylinder P400 featuring efficient Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology with outputs of 294 kW and 550 Nm.
Alternatively, customers can choose a 2,0-litre D240 turbo-diesel with 177 kW and 430 Nm. The introduction of increased engine options, along with the short wheelbase 90 derivative, will follow later in 2020.
New Defender introduces Jaguar Land Rover’s new Pivi Pro infotainment system. The next generation touchscreen is more intuitive and user-friendly, requiring fewer inputs to perform frequently used tasks, while its always-on design guarantees almost instant responses.
In addition, the new Defender takes Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA) technology to a new level, with 14 individual modules capable of receiving remote updates. By downloading data while customers are asleep at home or in far-flung locations, the new Defender will get better with age: as electronic updates cascade down to the vehicle immediately, without delay and with no need to visit a Land Rover retailer.
Nick Rogers, Executive Director, Product Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover, says: “We have embraced Defender’s stunning capability and minimalistic, functional interior to reinvent the icon for the 21st century.
“New Defender gives us the licence to do things differently, to push the boundaries and do the unthinkable, without ever losing the character and authenticity of the original. From the start we had an absolute obsession with functionality beneath the skin, from choosing the right materials through to state of the art connectivity. The result is not only the most capable Land Rover ever made, but also a truly comfortable, modern vehicle that people will love to drive.”
New Defender will be available in 90 and 110 body designs, with up to six seats in the 90 and the option of five, six or 5+2 seating in the 110. The model range comprises Defender, First Edition and top of the range Defender X models, as well as standard, S, SE, HSE specification packs.
Customers will be able to personalise their vehicle in more ways than any previous Land Rover with four Accessory Packs. The Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban Packs each give Defender a distinct character with a specially selected range of enhancements. The exclusive First Edition model features a unique specification and will be available throughout the first year of production.
Customers will also be able to opt for a new Satin Protective Film to make the exterior paintwork even more durable. The sustainable, solvent-free and completely recyclable wrap helps protect against everything from car park scratches to bramble rash and will be available as a factory-fit option with Indus Silver, Gondwana Stone and Pangea Green colours, providing a unique contemporary finish as it protects new Defender’s paintwork.
Felix Bräutigam, Chief Commercial Officer, Jaguar Land Rover, says: “New Defender will be available in 128 global markets and meets or exceeds the toughest emissions and safety requirements in the world.
“Combining advanced technology and durable mechanical underpinnings we have delivered the toughness and character you can only find in a Defender. Our new 4×4 has been developed for adventurous hearts and curious minds. With four personalities to choose from, two body styles and a comprehensive range of options and accessories, customers will be able to personalise Defender to make their ultimate 4×4 companion – whatever their lifestyle.”