KUALA LUMPUR: We have seen the camouflaged prototype driven around and there was even a Lego Technic version of it.
The new Land Rover Defender has finally been unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, featuring a reinterpretation of its iconic design and an abundance of new technologies.
The new Defender has been engineered to meet current global requirements, including in the world’s two largest markets, China and the United States.
Initially, the five-door Defender 110 will be introduced with a price tag of £45,240 (RM233,456) and offered in four trims — Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban. Deliveries will start early next year.
The more compact three-door Defender 9 will go on sale shortly afterwards from around £40,000 (RM206,416) together with two commercial models.
Perhaps potentially the most divisive aspect of the new Defender is its exterior styling, which has evolved from its utilitarian looks to being more sophisticated, although retaining its rugged appearance.
Cues from the earlier Defender can be seen through the short front and rear overhangs, squared-off wheel arches, rising roofline and the so-called Alpine light windows set into the roof.
Optional extras include a folding fabric roof that allows second-row passengers in the 110 to stand up, a roof-mounted tent, a side ladder and side window carriers.
Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern said: “It has a silhouette even a child could draw, but there’s nothing simple about it – especially on the surfaces, which on first glance look quite raw and elemental but, which are in fact incredibly sophisticated.
“Flat panels can look very cheap and this is a premium vehicle, so we needed to be smarter than that.”
In the cabin, the new Defender is equipped with the company’s next generation infotainment system called Pivi Pro, which is said to be more intuitive and user-friendly.
However, the 10-inch digital screen is deliberately not integrated into the dash. “It’s honest. We didn’t want to pretend this is a high-tech vehicle at its heart,” said McGovern.
The Defender also features dash-mounted gearshifter (the car is not available with a manual option), which means it allows for an optional central “jump” seat as found in the earliest Land Rovers.
The new Defender is built on Land Rover’s D7x platform, which the company said was the stiffest body structure it had come up with.
The aluminium structure has also been designed to fit electrified – but not fully-electric – powertrains.
With that said, the company is committed to selling a plug-in hybrid variant from next year.
This is on top of the choice of four- and six-cylinder diesel and petrol engines.
The four-cylinder P300 petrol engine makes 296hp and is able to hit 100kph in 8.1 seconds while the six-cylinder P400 engine uses a mil-hybrid technology and produces 396hp/550Nm, allowing it to sprint to 100kph in 6.4 seconds.
Meanwhile, the oil-burner unit and designated as D200 and D240 both deliver 197hp and 237hp respectively.
In terms of off-road capability, the figures are 291mm ground clearance, 38-degree approach angle, 40-degree departure angle, 900mm wading depth, 900kg payload, 300kg roof load and up to 3,500kg towing capability.
These figures are aided by the mechanical permanent four-wheel drive system with the choice of independent air or coil spring suspension.
Other kits include twin-speed transmission, a locking centre differential and an active rear-locking differential.
As for the techy bits, the Defender also has Configurable Terrain Response, which manages throttle and gearbox sensitivities, and Land Rover’s ClearSight Ground View, Hill Launch Assist and Enhanced Hill Hold.