Land Rover to launch new Defender in 2020 in southern Africa with 3-litre straight-six option
This week saw the new car launch of the decade when Land Rover unveiled its much anticipated new Defender.
Since earlier this year, speculation was rife in motoring circles worldwide regarding the route Land Rover has chosen to replace one of the most iconic vehicles of all time. Land Rover enthusiasts, keen to get a glimpse of how much the new Defender will depart from its hefty progenitor, flighted snippets from the film location of the new James Bond flick, claiming that this was it.
Many others posted videos ranging from gross misinformation to supposedly insider revelations but none of this noise could dampen the sense of trepidation Defender supporters felt before the launch date. Even teasers of distant shots of the Defender cruising down a Tajikistan canyon, could not make up for the frothing expectations.
Then finally, on Tuesday 10 September, Land Rover Jaguar officially released the images and descriptions of the car that will be critically examined and dissected for the next couple of months.
First impressions are all over the top. Despite its growing family of closely related cars all based on some minor tweaking of the Discovery, Evoque, Range Rover shell, the engineers at Land Rover have truly pulled a proverbial hare out of the hat.
The new Defender is stunning, filling the shoes of its predecessor in such a grand way that it will quickly become just as highly-regarded as its boxy ancestors.
Land Rover’s Chief Designer, Gerry McGovern, said “We have created the new Defender to ensure it is ready for anything, with a design that has been inspired by the past, not constrained by it. Its elemental grille, sophisticated surfacing and commanding stance give the entire family a modernity and confidence that set it apart, while simultaneously retaining the essential elements that make a Defender so recognisable.”
The Defender 110 offers five, six or 5+2 seating configurations while the Defender 90 will be able to accommodate six occupants in a vehicle the length of a compact family SUV.
Its architecture is based on a lightweight aluminium monocoque construction to create the stiffest body structure Land Rover has ever produced. It has been through more than 62,000 tests for engineering sign-off, while the chassis and body architecture have been engineered to withstand Land Rover’s Extreme Event Test procedure – repeated and sustained impacts, above and beyond the normal standard for SUV and passenger cars.
Land Rover Jaguar said “A transformational breadth of capability sets the new Defender apart. Permanent all-wheel drive and a twin-speed automatic gearbox, centre differential and optional Active Locking Rear Differential ensure it has all the hardware required to excel [anywhere].”
Ground clearance is an acceptable 291 mm with a 38° approach angle and a 40° departure angle. It can wade through 900 mm of water before it starts to float.
A choice of advanced petrol and cleaner diesel engines ensures the new Defender has the power, control and efficiency for any environment. At the South African launch expected in the first half of 2020, the 110 line-up will include a powerful 3-litre straight six P400 featuring efficient Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology with outputs of 294kW and 550Nm. Alternatively, customers can choose a 2-litre D240 turbodiesel with 177kW and 430Nm.
The introduction of more engine options, along with the short-wheelbase 90 derivative, will follow later in 2020.