Alex Misoyannis • Land Rover is said to be readying a three-pronged family of Defender-inspired models, set for launch in the next five years.
According to a report from Autocar, the British brand is preparing to build off the anticipation and hype around its new Defender with two new models on either side: an entry-level vehicle and a flagship offering.
Starting with the former, Autocar claims the baby Land Rover will arrive in 2021 with a starting price of £25,000 ($48,000). Codenamed L860, its design is set to draw heavily from that of the new Defender, with a rugged yet rounded look inside and out.
To cut costs, the L860 is rumoured to ride on the D10 (or Omega-Arc) platform, a modernised, cost-efficient version of the D8 platform underneath the first-generation Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Also employed by the Indian-made Tata Harrier, the D10 architecture supports electrification via a compact battery pack, which is said to enable a set of efficient mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains based around an upcoming 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine driving the front wheels.
Autocar claims the L860 would benefit from bespoke suspension setups - including a multi-link rear axle - and a unique front subframe to differentiate it from its Tata platform-mate.
This report appears contradicts a similar one from Autocar just three weeks ago, in which Jaguar Land Rover executives quashed rumours of building smaller vehicles to slot beneath its existing sedans and SUVs.
However, the popularity of mid-sized SUVs in Europe, combined with the onset of a 130g/km CO2 target in the EU for 2021, has likely compelled Land Rover to expedite the development of the compact model.
Autocar claims the new range-topper will ride on the MLA platform scheduled to debut with the next-generation Jaguar XJ, and will feature pure-electric powertrains from launch.
It will aim to both reduce Land Rover’s fleet CO2 emissions in time for strict 2025 EU regulations, and appeal to an eco-minded, highly-affluent set of car buyers.
Despite being pitched as a more road-focused offering than the regular Defender, the Sport’s electric motors should allow it to be equally as off-road-ready as Land Rover’s current range.
The entry-level and range-topping Defender-inspired Land Rover models are set to be revealed in 2021 and 2024 respectively.