The new Defender will be the most capable Land Rover ever built, according to Phil Popham, Jaguar Land Rover’s group marketing director.
Speaking at the recent Paris show, Popham said the long-awaited new model would have the biggest “breadth of capability” of any model to wear the Land Rover badge.
The claim emphasises the importance that JLR is putting on replacing the iconic Defender, which has its roots in the 65-year-old original Land Rover model.
JLR has, so far, succeeded in keeping the wraps on the likely styling and the engineering make-up of the new Defender. However, we do know that the styling of the new car has already been signed off.
The styling theme for the new model is thought to have been given the green light during the summer. This means that the new vehicle is likely to be seen as a concept in 2016, and to appear in production guise around 2018.
However, a sneak preview in the form of a concept car is currently being discussed. Potential debuts for a concept are next March at the Geneva show, at the New York show in the spring or at the Frankfurt show next September.
There’s also no news about the structure underpinning the new Defender, but it looks likely to be a version of the company’s aluminium monocoque with the addition of a substantial aluminium superstructure in order to make the architecture as stiff and rugged as possible.
This technique – mixing a monocoque passenger cell and a separate steel chassis – was used under the Discovery to great success but resulted in a vehicle that weighed more than two tonnes. Repeating the exercise in aluminium should provide even greater structural rigidity than the Disco 4, with much reduced all-up weight.