The next-generation Land Rover Defender will come with some of the company’s most advanced off-road assistance technologies, according to British motoring authority Autocar.
Set to be revealed in 2018 after some clear delays, the next iteration of the famous Landie Defender (2011 DC100 concept pictured above) will share a number of features with the Discovery family, and even the Range Rover, making it a significant departure over its agrarian predecessor.
According to the UK publication, the major engineering of the Defender is complete, with final testing already underway.
The replacement for its decades-old predecessor will sport an array of off-road technologies similar or even better than the new Discovery.
Expect features such as off-road cruise control, Terrain Response 2, and even partial off-road autonomy (which JLR is currently testing). The company also has a system that uses algorithms to marry the ABS with the traction control to regulate the amount of torque to each individual wheel.
Given the Disco 5 can be optioned with a two-speed transfer case with low-range and an active rear diff lock, it seems obvious the Defender will also get these staples.
Staple engines for most markets are expected to be longitudinally-mounted, UK-made Ingenium diesel engines. The Disco 5’s 2.0-litre units make 132kW/430Nm and 177kW/500Nm (the latter being a twin-turbo).
Given the popularity of petrol in China and the US, expect an Ingenium petrol also.
Land Rover will need to open the Defender up to global markets to get sufficient scale into the project, given the once-shaky business case based on the old model’s 20,000 per year volumes.
Autocar suggests, based on conversations with senior JLR executives and developers, that the next Defender will use the all-aluminium architecture (not body on frame) developed for the Range Rover, and will share this car’s wheelbases but be slightly shorter overall.
This is because of the expected shorter overhangs and greater ground clearance. The Defender will be equipped to handle tougher break-overs, and capable of attacking greater approach and departure angles.
Interestingly, the UK press also suggests that if the shorter of the two five-door bodies is around 4.7 metres, the company may opt not to do a shorter-wheelbase three-door version to succeed the Defender 90.
Don’t expect the RR’s air suspension either, but rather an all-independent steel spring array, potentially an updated and toughened version of those used in the Disco 4.
In another very interesting development, it appears that the Defender may be built in JLR’s expensive new plant in Slovakia, rather than its UK spiritual home. This would appear especially likely if Brexit results in UK export tariff barriers into the rest of Europe.
All of this suggests an appreciably higher price of the Defender, though its greater scale, modern construction methods and the deletion of bespoke components will all drive costs down.
So, a price around $50,000-$60,000 in Australia, from 2019, seems feasible. Though it’s a long way away to be speculating.
“It was one of the saddest moments of my career to end production of the old Defender,”Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth told Autocar. “So we are working very hard to give it an authentic successor.”
Source story here: Autocar.