The Defender has always been a symbol of strength and the new model is the toughest and most capable Land Rover yet, combining a new body structure with world-first technologies and proven hardware to create a Defender that is fit for the 21st century.
The lightweight all-aluminium monocoque construction of the new D7x architecture delivers the stiffest Land Rover body ever created, with a torsional rigidity of 29kNm/Degree – making it three times more rigid than traditional body-on-frame designs. These strong foundations provide the perfect basis for the all-independent suspension, twin-speed transfer box and permanent all-wheel drive.
Configurable Terrain Response makes its debut in new Defender, allowing drivers to fine-tune the set-up of the vehicle to suit the precise off-road conditions like never before. The Terrain Response 2 system also includes a new Wade programme to provide the ultimate reassurance when driving through water by optimising all of the vehicle systems accordingly.
Delivering transformational breadth of capability and on-road handling, Defender is in a category of its own.
Nick Rogers, Executive Director, Product Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We've embraced Defender's stunning capability and minimalistic, functional interior to reinvent the icon for the 21st century. New Defender gives us the licence to do things differently, to push the boundaries and do the unthinkable, without ever losing the character and authenticity of the original. 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."
The core team of engineers and designers agreed the new Defender family would include 90 and 110 body designs, retain the distinctive silhouette, side-hinged rear door arrangement and include a central front jump seat at the very beginning of the programme.
Strong and tough body structure
To retain the famous Defender silhouette, accommodate a family of body designs and support the latest range of electrified powertrains, Land Rover developed the new all-aluminium D7x platform. It has the unique combination of practicality, flexibility and capability expected from a 4x4 wearing the Defender name and doesn’t share a single body-in-white panel with another Land Rover model. This commitment to engineering integrity means the Defender has its own line in body assembly at the new manufacturing facility in Nitra, Slovakia.
Raising the position of the body by 20mm compared to Land Rover’s existing range of large SUVs and relocating elements including the battery and cooling circuits, has enabled Land Rover’s engineers to deliver ultra-short front and rear overhangs, which guarantee impressive approach and departure angles of 38 and 40 degrees respectively. With a wheelbase of 3,022mm (99mm longer than a Discovery) the 110 has a breakover angle of 28 degrees (31 degrees for the 90) ensuring excellent off-road geometry.
The short rear overhang, the same for both body designs, is made possible by mounting the spare wheel externally, rather than under the rear floor, where it is readily accessible off-road, and the trademark side-hinged rear door is engineered to accommodate any of the available wheel and tyre combinations.
The comprehensive choice of 18-, 19-, 20- and 22-inch wheels ranges from utilitarian 18-inch Gloss White Steel rims to 22-inch Gloss Black five-spoke alloy designs. With All-Season or Off-Road tyres available, all with an outside rolling diameter of 815mm, the Defender is available with the biggest contact patch of any Land Rover – for peerless traction and grip in any environment. Specialist Professional Off-Road tyres are also available through Land Rover retailers in selected markets, for customers who need the ultimate capability and robustness.
The monocoque body construction developed for new Defender is the stiffest aluminium body Land Rover has ever produced and able to withstand 6.5 tonnes snatch load through the recovery points. This strong, stiff structure provides the perfect foundations for the 4x4’s advanced all-independent chassis. The sophisticated double wishbone front and integral link rear suspension optimises off-road performance while delivering excellent handling dynamics and comes with a choice of passive coil or Electronic Air Suspension.
The familiar suspension layout uses all-new components to deliver world class durability with new steel subframes and uprated ball joints and bushes that are designed to withstand severe off-road impacts – the wheels can withstand up to seven tonnes of vertical load into the body. As a result, the new Defender delivers an unmatched breadth of capability, combining long-haul cruising comfort and rewarding handling characteristics with immediate responses and peerless off-road performance.
Adaptive Dynamics is available with Electronic Air Suspension, allowing customers to fine-tune the driving characteristics. The system’s adaptive dampers monitor body movements up to 500 times per second and respond almost instantaneously to optimise control and comfort.
The introduction of air suspension helps to transform the 4x4’s on-road handling and supports its all-terrain capability, providing an off-road ride height lift of 75mm and supreme ride comfort across all surfaces. An additional 70mm of lift means the air system can raise the body by a maximum of 145mm when needed, while Elegant Arrival automatically lowers the body by 50mm to aid access.
The confidence-inspiring and sure-footed new Defender excels off-road, where its maximum suspension articulation of 500mm comes into its own. It can tackle 45-degree side slopes and inclines of 45 degrees with customary composure, but the biggest transformation comes on the road, where the new Defender is engaging and agile.
Mike Cross, Chief Engineer, Vehicle Integrity, Jaguar Land Rover said: “We wanted to maintain the analogue, connected driving experience of the past and introduce modern handling and comfort. The old Defender was fun to drive, but flawed. New Defender is fun, but without the flaws. The result is a 4x4 that will put a smile on your face on any terrain and leave you feeling refreshed after a long drive, yet tow up to 3,720kg, carry a dynamic roofload of up to 168kg and wade through water up to 900mm deep.”
A transformational breadth of capability sets new Defender apart. Permanent all-wheel drive and a twin-speed automatic gearbox, centre differential and optional Active Locking Rear Differential ensure it has all the hardware required to excel in the soft sand of the desert, the freezing tundra of the arctic and everywhere in between.
Configurable Terrain Response
Land Rover has introduced a series of technologies to help deliver the capability customers expect from a Defender, including the latest generation of its patented Terrain Response system. Configurable Terrain Response technology allows drivers to use the touchscreen of the new Pivi Pro infotainment to fine-tune every aspect of the vehicle to suit its precise surroundings.
In the original Defender, drivers could lock the central differential manually using the high-to-low range gear selector. In the new Defender, drivers can prevent cross-axle slip using the Centre Slip Limited and Centre and Rear Slip Limited options on the central touchscreen controller. In addition, there is a choice of three settings for the throttle and gearbox response, steering and traction control, allowing experienced off-roaders and all-terrain novices to tailor the vehicle set-up to suit their requirements. The system allows four individual profiles to be saved, so different drivers can quickly activate their preferred settings.
Alternatively, the intelligent Auto functionality of Terrain Response 2 can recognise the surface and configure the vehicle appropriately with no input from the driver.
The Defender is also the first Land Rover to feature a Wade programme within the Terrain Response 2 menu. The new setting automatically softens the throttle response, sets the heating and ventilation to recirculate cabin air, locks the driveline and adjusts the ride height to its off-road setting while activating the Wade Sensing screen on the infotainment system. This allows drivers to see the depth of surrounding water and provides ultimate confidence when fording deep water – allowing drivers to take full advantage of new Defender’s world-class maximum wading depth of 900mm. When exiting Wade programme the new Defender automatically drags the brakes, momentarily, to clean and dry the discs and ensure optimum braking performance is restored quickly after driving through deep water.
Land Rover’s advanced All-Terrain Progress Control and ClearSight Ground View technologies also support drivers in extreme off-road situations, removing the stress of maintaining a low crawl speed and showing the hidden area directly in front of the vehicle using the central touchscreen.
Towing and carrying
The Defender’s strong body architecture helps customers make more of their world, whether they want to tow heavy loads or carry them, with a comprehensive range of roof racks and tow bar systems, and a maximum towing capacity of 3,720kg. State-of-the-art technologies include Advanced Tow Assist, which takes the stress out of difficult reversing manoeuvres by letting drivers steer trailers with their fingertips using a rotary controller on the central console. New for Defender, the intelligent set-up works with 3D visualisation on the central touchscreen.
The ultra-strong body is ready for overland adventures, with a maximum roof load of 168kg making it perfectly suited to both camping trips and visits to the hardware store. The 300kg maximum static roof load allows adventurous souls to make use of the expedition-ready pop-up roof tent accessory, turning Defender into an all-terrain home from home.
The rear loadspace delivers customary Defender practicality with the 110 providing up to 1,075 litres when using the full height. Folding the row-two seats provides a generous maximum load volume of up to 2,380-litres and, with a maximum payload of up to 900kg (110 P400), the new Defender lives up to the practical heritage of its iconic predecessors.
The second-row seatbacks are split 40:20:40 for maximum flexibility, while loadspace rails on the floor of the luggage space come with a range of load retention accessories to prevent smaller items from moving around inside. A lockable Security Box provides added protection on overland adventures – the heavy-duty steel box secures to the loadspace rails and is big enough to hold laptops, tablets and other valuables†. In addition, all Defenders feature a lockable 5.8-litre glovebox and deep door pockets. The exposed cross car beam also doubles as a shelf to provide 6.9-litres of open oddment stowage.
Defender has always been the perfect companion for outdoor adventures and the new model is no different. The clip-in loadspace cover is designed to double as a ground mat for picnics or when changing mucky footwear on wet surfaces. The hose-clean and machine washable material is another example of Defender’s rugged and practical design.
The versatile loadspace is both big and clever. A switch panel inside the rear door allows customers to adjust the rear ride height of the Electronic Air Suspension and operate the deployable towbar, for simple trailer hitching, when fitted. Customers can also choose detachable and multi-height tow bar designs, allowing them to make full use of the Defender’s 3,720kg maximum towing weight.
Reinventing and updating the hose-clean interior of old Series and Defender models, new Defender also features a durable rubber floor with flush fitting sills, allowing customers to brush or wipe the interior clean after muddy or dusty adventures. Customers can specify carpet inserts for a more premium look and feel, but these are easily removed to reveal the durable flooring beneath when necessary.
Next generation braking performance
New Defender is the first Land Rover to introduce next-generation braking technology which provides quicker and quieter responses than conventional systems, improving safety and enhancing the driving experience. An actuator-controlled piston operated by the foot pedal applies braking effort, delivering much finer control.
The system comes into its own during low-speed off-road manoeuvres and, when the Traction Control and Autonomous Emergency Braking systems are triggered, it can lock a wheel within only 150 milliseconds – versus 300 milliseconds with a conventional set-up.
In everyday use, the benefits include Hill Launch Assist with Enhanced Hill Hold, so the vehicle is prevented from rolling back on inclines – leaving the driver to focus solely on pulling away and negotiating objects ahead – with a smoother transition from the brakes to power in all environments.
Tested to extremes
Defender is truly capable of great things and the front and rear recovery points can withstand up to 10 and nine tonnes of pull respectively. During its global development programme, Land Rover engineers were able to complete iconic trails in Moab, USA, for the first time, including Hell’s Revenge, the Poison Spider and the Steel Bender Trails. Closer to home, the Defender met Land Rover’s toughest durability standards during testing at the global design and engineering headquarters at Gaydon. As part of these extreme events, the Defender withstood repeated 200mm kerb strikes at 40km/h (25mph).