The full-time four-wheel drive is powered by a 90kW 2.4-litre diesel engine which punches out 360Nm of torque – 60Nm more than the 2003 model.
Combined fuel economy remains the same at a flat 10.0-litres/100km but CO2 emissions are down from 282g/km to 266.
A new six-speed manual transmission comes with a lower first gear and a higher sixth to improve both off-road ability and highway cruising refinement.
Land Rover marketing and public affairs manager, Kevin Goult, said that with almost two million units sold since 1948, the 90 has a reputation for getting you there and back regardless of climate or terrain.
“With the reintroduction of the 90 in Australia, Land Rover now offers nine different Defender derivatives, across three wheel bases.
"We believe the enhancements to the iconic Defender 90 will win the hearts and minds of new and existing customers alike,” he said.
The new 90 is shorter in length but taller than the 2003 model with a greater ground clearance (323mm).
Wading depth is up to 500mm while max towing weight with a braked trailer is 3500kg (750kg unbraked).
Safety features come in the form of ABS and traction control.
Land Rover chief designer, Dave Saddington, said very few changes have been made to the model’s exterior but the interior received much more attention.
“The interior's a different story. We wanted to change the heating system and instruments, as well as improve ergonomics, all of which gave us the opportunity to introduce an all-new fascia.
“The new fascia is better integrated, more robust and functionally superior to the old unit, whilst still entirely in keeping with Defender 90's character.”
Inside is a new in-dash CD player, rubber floor mats and electric front windows.
The air-conditioning system can now cool the cabin in half the time and by seven degrees more than the old unit, while the heater works 40 per cent quicker and up to 12 degrees hotter.
Land Rover chief program engineer, Gary Taylor, said upgraded sound insulation and a quieter engine make for a far superior cabin experience.
“For many customers, the step change in Defender 90's refinement will be one of the most welcome advances.
“Not only are noise levels significantly lower, but sound quality is transformed too.”
The Defender 90 is on sale now at a recommended retail price of $44,990 before statutory and delivery charges and will arrive in Australia early next year.