Land Rover has been ramping up the interest in its new Defender again – this time with a teaser on its USA social media accounts. This disguised prototype reversing off a trailer was trailed on its Instagram account alongside the message: ‘Do not unwrap until 2019.
The image proves the new car will get independent rear suspension (a hint of its dual-purpose, on-road ability) and it looks like the side-hinged tailgate will return, too. The new Defender will dip into the JLR group’s confection of aluminum platform know-how – the body-on-ladder-frame construction is out, and a new monocoque architecture is in, according to our sources.
The result is a lighter, stiffer and dimensionally more flexible vehicle which will in future cover the full spectrum from mountain bruiser to boulevard cruiser, from Heritage to Autobiography, from workhorse to boulevardier. Although all derivatives share the fixed points of the same basic architecture, LR will offer a choice of axles, tyres, transmissions and suspension calibrations to meet a wide range of customer requirements.
Electrification is coming to the Defender family, but most buyers will initially buy internal combustion engines, while battery tech and infrastructure play catch up. Engineering sources have confirmed to CAR quite a few details about the engines and specs of this quintessential reduce-to-the-max British SUV. Buyers will be able to select the number of doors as well as the bodystyle, trim level, character of the car and, of course, the flavour of north-south engine.
Expect the familiar JLR-group 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines to provide the entry level, but you’re also going to see a selection of new inline six-cylinder engines join the Ingenium family as the old V6s are phased out. Expect 3.0-litre petrol and diesel motors available. All engines are artificially aspirated; some even feature an additional electric charger for an extra helping of take off-grunt and acceleration boost.
The first three Land Rover Defender models to hit the showrooms are tipped to be a LWB four-door metal-top, the SWB two-door metal-top and its soft-top sister model.
A spokesman added: ‘Jaguar Land Rover runs a wide range of engineering and technology development programmes. We are unable to comment on the specific nature of these programmes. However we can confirm that the Defender programme is progressing well and has reached an exciting stage of its development.
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