The Land Rover Defender gets a makeover

24th May 2012 by Admin

After 64 years of almost-unchanged service, the go-anywhere Land Rover Defender off-roader will be replaced by an all-new model in 2015. The slick design was unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show last year, though production is still a way off.

Design director Gerry McGovern said the concept is “the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century. Replacing the iconic Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive design world; it is a car that inspires people worldwide.”

The company is determined to continue rolling out the Defender, but admits a complete overhaul is required to bring it into the 21st century. Although it’s a perennial favourite in the motoring world, Land Rover only sells around 20,000 Defenders globally each year.

Defense against its rivals

The new Defender is designed to appeal to a vaster audience, as the company tries to catch up to newer off-roader rivals in the booming SUV segment.

“Loved the world over for its simple, honest and distinctive design, we are determined that the new Defender will be true to its heritage, while meeting the requirements of a changing global market,” said Land Rover global brand director John Edwards.

“We plan to engage with existing and potential customers to help us finalise the details of the new vehicle. One thing’s for sure - it’s going to be an exciting journey."

The Aussie recruit

The engineering team behind the Defender is headed by Australian ex-pat Murray Dietsch, who worked on the Ford Territory. He confirmed that his team is working hard to ensure the Defender remains one of the most capable off-road vehicles, even though it’s expected to add more car-like safety features and creature comforts.

America’s Car and Driver suggests that regardless of the Defender’s final shape, it is likely to complement the company’s current Land Rover LR4 platform, though with a simpler and tougher body. The design is believed to be inspired by the DC100 concepts unveiled in Frankfurt.

The go-to engine will probably be the 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel, which was recently introduced in the European Jaguar XF to produce 187 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. An optional petrol engine can also be expected, which could be anything from a borrowed four-cylinder motor to the company’s complex 5.0-litre V-8 to an all new V6.

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