New Land Rover Defender Edges Nearer to 2016 Debut as Concept Vehicle

From 1948 to 1983, the world was given one of the most revered 4x4 machines in automotive history - the Land Rover Series I, II and III. From 1983 to 1985, the Landie was rebranded to Land Rover 90, 110 and 127. Then 1985 came along with the toughened up Land Rover Defender nameplate.
Land Rover DC100 Concept 11 photos
Photo: Land Rover
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It’s been 67 years since the Brits started making the Landie at the Solihull plant, but like all things good, the Defender will come to an end later this year. Though the model will still be produced under license by Iran-based Morattab and other companies, the Land Rover-badged Defender is a dying breed.

Mirroring what Jaguar Land Rover marketing director Phil Popham suggested last year, the new Land Rover Defender will arrive in 2016 strictly as a concept vehicle, with production slated to commence in late 2017 or early 2018. Furthermore, Phil assured that the new-gen Landie is going to “be more desirable to look at,” borrowing an estimated 70 percent of the 2011 Land Rover DC100 Concept’s styling cues (pictured).

Codenamed L663 and slated to arrive in the US as the 2019 Land Rover Defender

The new-gen offroader will be offered in multiple guises - from a no-frills off-road-capable machine to a posher proposition. According to a new report from AutomobileMag citing sources close to Jaguar Land Rover, we should be expecting at least five body styles.

“A two-door short-wheelbase with a metal top, a two-door short-wheelbase with a soft top, a four-door long-wheelbase with a metal top, a two-door short-wheelbase pickup, and a four-door long-wheelbase pickup,” is what insiders suggested to AutomobileMag. Regarding the ever-important oily bits, the all-new Land Rover Defender will adopt 2.0-liter Ingenium engines (turbo petrol and turbo diesel) and the 3-liter supercharged V6 pushing north of 300 bhp.

A six-speed stick shift and a nine-speed auto will be offered, with both trannies slated to be coupled to an optional feature coming in the form of a low-range transfer case and two diff locks. The previously mentioned publication indicates that the ladder frame of yesteryear has been swapped for two subframes bolted together with a purportedly aluminum unibody.

The 2018 Land Rover Defender (US-spec 2019 Land Rover Defender)’s chassis is dubbed D7u and it’s based on the PLA aluminum architecture of the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. Thankfully, JLR engineers will purportedly retain a live axle setup, further enhancing the new Defender’s capability with a finely tuned Terrain Response system. Air suspension and active body control won't be offered, apparently.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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