After months of teasing its new Defender, Land Rover finally rolled the SUV out in the flesh at the Frankfurt auto show.
No more sketches and camouflaged images, as well as one leaked photo of the vehicle on the set of the latest Bond film - now we have the real things.
By this point the final product is not much of a surprise in terms of its looks, but no one is complaining. The renewal of an iconic model the styling of which virtually never changed was probably quite a challenge for Land Rover’s designers. The Defender had to be modern on every level, but also stick to the traditional design consumers will expect.
The 2020 Defender is built on a new platform that goes by the code name D7. The new architecture is stiffer and more solid to help the vehicle handle extreme challenges and conditions. As well, the heavy presence of aluminum in the structure makes the vehicle quite a bit lighter. That said, the lightest version of the new Defender is still a hefty 4,815 lb.
On launch of the model, which is scheduled for next spring, two types of bodies will be offered to consumers. First off is the Defender 90, a short-wheelbase edition with three doors; and second is the Defender 110 with regular wheelbase and five doors. A longer version, the Defender 130, will be added to the product offering; it will be able to accommodate eight occupants (The 90 can take in six occupants, while the 110 can welcome up to seven).
Under the hood, two powertrains will be available. The base engine is a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo unit good for 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The other option is a 3.0L inline-6 turbo with light-hybrid system. This unit will deliver 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. With this powertrain the 2020 Defender can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in under 6 seconds.
The only transmission is an 8-speed automatic unit; it’s coupled with a 2-speed transfer case and permanent all-wheel drive.
As for those all-important off-road capabilities, the Defender sits 0.8 inch higher off the ground than the brand’s other products, which translates into an 11.5-inch ground clearance. The angles of approach and exit are 38 and 40 degrees, respectively, which allows for very aggressive attacks. Towing capacity is 8,200 lb, and the vehicle can cross riverbeds that are up to 35.4 inches in depth.
For the rest, the SUV gets the latest generation of the Terrain Response system that features a number of electronic drive assist systems specifically for off-roading. On board, the company’s latest-generation multimedia system is included.
We’ll of course have more information to give you when we finally get a chance to climb into the new Defender for a first drive. We expect there will be strong enthusiasm for this SUV, which by the way is getting a starting price of around $50,000 in the U.S. As for Canadian pricing, patience is in order.