With an all-new Defender just around the corner, Land Rover is gearing up to see how far it can stretch the new chassis in terms of off- and on-road performance.
Speaking to media at the global launch of the new Jaguar F-Pace SVR in Saint Tropez, Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations lead dynamics engineer, Ross Restell, said the division is capable of pushing the Defender chassis to its limits.
“We’ve got our off-road X division. We obviously can’t go into details, but we have to make a car that makes sense,” he said, telling CarAdvice an SVR Defender is "potentially" happening.
“I would love to tell you what we’re going to be doing in the next few years. We have a good team and abilities. So you never know what’s going to happen,” Restell said.
Land Rover’s SVO group has three divisions: an off-road focused division termed SVX, a luxury division called SVAutobiography, and finally a performance division labelled SVR.
We have seen previous examples of the team’s off-road visions with the Land Rover Discovery SVX, which had a supercharged V8 engine shoehorned into its engine bay, but was ultimately killed off before it made it into production.
The recent addition of Jamal Hameedi to the SVO team as director could mean big things for the Defender. Hameedi worked at Ford Motor Company for almost 30 years.
His most recent job title was chief engineer of Ford Performance. His work included, among other things, the Ford F-150 Raptor and Ranger Raptor, both more extreme off-road versions of their respective selves.
This could open an opportunity for the Defender to be offered in three trims: standard Defender, an extreme off-road version, and potentially a more powerful extreme off-road version.
If the previous generation Defender Works V8 is anything to go by, it could be fun times ahead for the rugged off-road Land Rover staple.
Do you think Land Rover should build an extreme off-road or performance version of the new Defender?