Land Rover chose to reveal the New Defender with a live-action demonstration of the vehicle’s capabilities at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The launch began with a dramatic 42-degree descent down a climbing wall at the show and this was broadcast live to a global audience. The first adventure of the new Defender was a drive to one of the most land-locked places on the earth, the Valley of the Castles in the Charyn Canyon, Kazakhstan and this drive was helmed by professional mountaineer Kenton Cool, who has conquered Mt. Everest 14 times. He was at the launch to give the Defender his seal of approval along with Olympic medal-winning equestrian rider Zara Tindall.
The New Defender completes the Land Rover lineup joining the luxurious Range Rover range and the highly versatile Discovery SUVs. It will be available in 90 and 110 body variants, with up to six seats in the 90 and the option of five, six or 5+2 seating in the 110.
The Discovery range includes the Defender, S, SE, HSE, First Edition and top-of-the-range Defender X versions. Customers have the option of personalizing their vehicle in more ways than in the case of any other Land Rover, with four Accessory Packs named the Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban packs. Throughout the first year of production, Exclusive First Edition models with unique specifications will be available.
Speaking at the launch, Felix Bräutigam, Chief Commercial Officer, Jaguar Land Rover, said that the new Defender will be available in 128 global markets. It meets or exceeds the most rigorous emissions and safety standards across the globe and offers a combination of advanced technology and durable mechanical underpinnings. Customers have numerous options to personalize their Defender with four accessory packs, two body styles and a wide range of options and accessories to choose from, so that their Defender is their ultimate 4×4 companion, irrespective of their lifestyle.
An icon reimagined
The new Defender has a distinctive silhouette that makes it instantly recognizable, with minimal front and rear overhangs for excellent approach and departure angles.
Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover, said: “The new Defender is respectful of its past but is not harnessed by it. This is a new Defender for a new age. Its unique personality is accentuated by its distinctive silhouette and optimum proportions, which make it both highly desirable and seriously capable – a visually compelling 4×4 that wears its design and engineering integrity with uncompromised commitment.”
Land Rover used its purpose-engineered D7x architecture meant for extreme terrain for the new vehicle. It is based on a lightweight aluminium monoque construction for the stiffest body structure the brand has ever produced. The structure is three times stiffer than traditional body-on-frame designs and has been engineered to tolerate Land Rover’s Extreme Event Test procedures. It serves as the perfect base for the fully independent air or coil sprung suspension while supporting the latest electrified powertrains.
Customers can opt for either advanced petrol or cleaner diesel engines to get optimum power, control and efficiency for any environment. In 2020, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) powertrain will join the range.
Technical features include permanent four-wheel drive, a twin-speed automatic gearbox, a maximum towing capability of 3,720kg* and a maximum static roof load of 300kg, making the vehicle perfect for off-road trips.
The New Defender is also the first Land Rover to feature Configurable Terrain Response, which allows motorists to adjust a range of settings to suit the conditions to a more precise degree. A new Wade programme optimizes the vehicle for fording, making it easier to tackle flooded roads and tracks. Defender has a world-class maximum wading depth of up to 900mm.
The cabin design is notable for its exposed structural elements and innovative technologies, including the state-of-the-art new Pivi Pro infotainment system. The futuristic touchscreen is more intuitive and user-friendly, calling for fewer inputs to perform frequently used tasks, with a design that allows for near-instantaneous responses. There are as many as 14 individual modules capable of receiving remote updates so that Defender customers always benefit from the latest software, wherever they are in the world.
Nick Rogers, Executive Director, Product Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover, said that the new Defender has been reinvented for the 21st century while retaining its outstanding capability and minimalistic, functional interior. It has not lost its authenticity or character but still gives the customer the licence to do things differently, and to push the boundaries and do the unthinkable. .
He added, “From the start we had an absolute obsession with functionality beneath the skin, from choosing the right materials through to state of the art connectivity. The result is not only the most capable Land Rover ever made, but also a truly comfortable, modern vehicle that people will love to drive.”
Humanitarian partnership revealed
A Defender 110 wearing an International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) livery was on the stand in Frankfurt, with Land Rover announcing that it was reinforcing its humanitarian partnership with the IFRC by providing Defenders for the organisation’s Disaster Response vehicle assessment program. All vehicles used by the IFRC have to complete the comprehensive process before going into service on active operations. Land Rover has a relationship with the Red Cross that goes back 65 years with the first specially adapted Land Rover being a Land Rover that entered service in the Middle East as a mobile dispensary in 1954. Over the next three years, Land Rover will support disaster preparedness and response initiatives in locations including India, Mexico and Australia.
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