Next-generation Land Rover Defender Leaked on Film Set

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Not since James Bond traded in his .32 Walther PPK for a PPK/S in .380 ACP has the long-running film franchise generated so much buzz. The set of the upcoming film No Time to Die was the site of an unexpected and long-awaited Land Rover reveal this week, with a shot leaking to social media of the next-generation Defender.

Spotted completely sans camo and appropriately splattered with mud, the Defender pic comes by way of Instagram user shedlocktwothousand. Jaguar Land Rover would surely have preferred to keep this thing under wraps — after a three-year hiatus, the new Defender is due for a public unveiling at next month’s Frankfurt Auto Show.

Revered for its off-road ability and quintessential Britishness, the Defender ceased production in early 2016 following a 67-year run. It bowed out of the U.S. market in 1987, and eventually the steady march of safety standards (pedestrian collision protection, specifically) meant that JLR couldn’t keep the thing on British roads. A ground-up revamp was in order.

As the photo shows, the new Defender keeps its boxy shape, only you won’t cut yourself brushing against this model’s corners. Headlands diverge from the singular circles of the past, preferring a hooded look. Unlike the DC100 concept of 2011, the Defender’s front end is mercifully blunt, though there’s some similarities to be found in the roofline and flanks. Thick pillars look ready to handle any rollover.

The internet went wild over this pic, with one Instagram user commenting on the Defender’s resemblance to a far less exclusive Skoda Yeti. Frankly, the Defender’s nose reminds this writer of the Kia Telluride Concept. But people will say things and see things; what matters to JLR is if the thing sells.

Expected to bow first in mid-length (five-passenger) 110 guise, the Defender line will eventually incorporate a smaller 90 series with a Jeep Wrangler-fighting mission, as well as a long-wheelbase, eight-passenger 130 version. Power will come by way of Jag’s Ingenium line of turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines, with a plug-in hybrid variant on tap. Thanks to a leaked presentation last month, we know that a new diesel 3.0-liter Ingenium V6 will be available in the U.S. market.

The biggest departure from the original Defender is the model’s independent suspension, replacing the rock-solid (but far less supple) live-axle setup that came before. JLR’s finances aren’t great these days, and the big-bucks Defender is positioned as a halo money-maker for the automaker. To serve in this capacity, the brand’s ultimate off-roader needs to coddle occupants who will rarely, if ever, go off-road.

Expect to see the Defender appear on these shores next year as a 2021 model.

[Image: shedlocktwothousand/ Instagram]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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2 of 24 comments
  • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Aug 27, 2019

    There are lots of comments on the styling. Was the series Land Rover even styled? Part of me wants to say that it doesn't matter what it looks like. It will be a legitimate Land Rover based on how it performs far from civilization rather than whether or not it has Apple Car Play and looks as expensive as a G550. The rest of me knows you'd have to be a legitimate imbecile to go further away from a refrigerator than you can walk in a British Tata instead of a Toyota.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Aug 27, 2019

    Too bad I can't just get a Skoda Yeti in the States, but this does a reasonable impersonation.

  • Jkross22 if at first you don't succeed, don't change the styling, increase the price and pretend you have no competition.-Fiat Marketing Dept.
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  • Paul Alexander Hahaha!