Land Rover's new range-topping Defender will rival the Aston Martin DBX.
When it goes on sale in the US next spring, the 2020 Land Rover Defender will initially only be available in the 110 guise, which measures 197.6 inches long with the rear-mounted spare wheel, 77.4 inches high, and 82.9 inches wide including the mirrors, with a 119-inch wheelbase.
A smaller Defender 90 variant will join the lineup in the summer of 2020, measuring 180.4 inches long with the rear-mounted spare wheel, 77.5 inches high, and 82.9 inches wide including the mirrors, with a 101.9-inch wheelbase.
The Defender 110 is offered with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 gasoline engine developing 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque or a 3.0-liter turbo inline-4 with a 48-volt electric supercharger producing a combined 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The smaller 2020 Defender 90, on the other hand, will be offered with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 engine with electric boost developing 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. According to Autocar, however, the new Defender family will be further expanded with a cheaper entry-level model and a more expensive luxury variant.
Priced at around £25,000 ($32,894), the new entry-level five-door Defender, reportedly codenamed L860, will be cheaper than any previous Land Rover model and is expected to arrive in 2021. The styling is expected to be based on the new Defender while also paying homage to the original iconic Land Rover, but the interior will likely offer less equipment and space to reflect the price.
It's not yet known how the entry-level Defender will be branded, but Autocar claims it could adopt the Land Rover 80 name as a reference to the wheelbase of the original Series 1. The new model could lure buyers away from compact SUVs such as the Jeep Compass, Mini Countryman and Volkswagen Tiguan and compete with premium models like the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40. Reducing development and construction costs will be a challenge to sell the L860 at a low showroom price.
More powerful four-cylinder engines and all-wheel drive are allegedly possible, but there's a risk that this could cannibalize sales of the Land Rover Discovery Sport. A plug-in three-cylinder version is also a possibility to keep emissions low. To keep costs down, it's believed the L860 will be built at Land Rover's new plant in Slovakia, which has lower employee costs. Autocar claims the new entry-level model will be unveiled in the third quarter of 2021, so we should see some test mules undergoing testing in 2020.
According to insiders, the range-topping Defender Sport is in the early stages of development and is expected to be the first pure-electric Defender based on the new MLA architecture. It will be significantly more luxurious than any other current Defender to rival the Aston Martin DBX and entry-level versions of the Bentley Bentayga but isn't expected to launch until around 2023.