Land Rover’s dyed in the wool fans are eagerly awaiting news on the all-new Defender, with the company commencing a drip-feed campaign.
It now appears we'll see the Defender in Australia from 2020, with at least one model to sport independent rear suspension, along with air suspension.
Speaking to media at the launch of the new Jaguar XE in Saint Tropez, Jaguar Land Rover general manager of communications and public relations, Tim Krieger, said the Defender will start touching down early in 2020.
"You've got Defender coming up later in the year which will be huge... the car will be revealed around September, but we won’t see customer deliveries until early next year," he said.
“There will be something around Frankfurt [in September]. Whether it's at the motor show or whether it's an out of show event, we’re sorting that out at the moment, with Australia in early 2020.”
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Krieger’s comments come after a colleague of MotorTrend journo Jonny Lieberman spotted a prototype testing in Moab, Utah, and was quick enough to get photos under the rear of the vehicle. You can view all of the photos at the above Instagram post.
(Note: Without knowing the original source, we originally credited the photos to Laurens de Smet on Facebook, who had not identified the original photographer.)
The photos show a suspension setup very similar to the current generation Land Rover Discovery 5, with independent rear suspension, an anti-roll bar, and what appears to be air suspension.
It follows commentary from Land Rover in the past confirming the Defender will be capable as ever, but a better vehicle to drive on-road.
Asked about Australian interest in Defender, Krieger confirmed there are plenty of people excited about the car, and Land Rover hopes to please Defender customers with a car they can still take anywhere.
“Australia is one of the few markets that continued to sell the old Defender right up to the end. So in a sense, the brand name is probably stronger in Australia because we haven't had this hiatus like some of the other markets who haven't sold it in a number of years.”
“So that's a positive. The interest that new cars kind of command is just huge. So if you look at that you've got these two new cars that we've got and then there's the two Range Rovers, it’s a pretty good year coming up I think,” Krieger said.
Whether dyed in the wool Defender fans get on board with the new model remains to be seen. Either way, it’ll be hard to please some of the most hardcore fans that wouldn’t let a rivet change go unnoticed on previous Defender generations.
Do you think Land Rover can come up with the right formula to bring the Defender into today’s day and age?