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New Land Rover Defender Will Push G-Class 'To The Shade'

Industry News / 21 Comments

If you're to believe Land Rover's Richard Woolley, the Defender will be a knock-out.

Richard Woolley, Land Rover's Studio Director for Advanced Design, really wished his company could have debuted its new Defender in Geneva this year, right beside the recently revealed Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Why, you may ask? While the G-Class is all new from head to tow bar, it doesn't look much different from the outgoing model. Woolley thinks this was a bit of a mistake on Mercedes-Benz's part, and he plans to wow buyers with the Defender's next evolution.

"I tried analyzing [the G-Class] to see what was new," said Woolley. "Every panel on the car is new, but it looks very similar to the previous one. I guess one thing I wish was that we were showing the Defender at the same time [as the new G class]. That would have been good. I think that the Defender will, you know, push it in the shade." The Defender was noteworthy for its absence in Geneva. In January, Land Rover launched a 125-unit continuation run of the defunct model powered by a V8 engine, years after it officially ended production of the off-roader in 2015. As for the new-generation Defender, nobody really knows what to expect, and that's by design.

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"We're nervous about showing show cars a couple of years out as you can be copied just like that," said Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern last October. Instead, the new Defender, expected to come to the United States, will go straight to production with an anticipated debut sometime in 2018. It's been rumored the Defender won't look anything like the DC100 Concept the company showed in 2011, though it could get a version with an all-electric powertrain. Still, Woolley promises it will be a proper Defender regardless: "It will be, has to be, a different kind of vehicle, but still true to the Defender and Defender principles."