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More Details on Next-Gen 2018 Land Rover Defender Emerge

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/9/2015 Alex Nishimoto

Production of the venerable Land Rover Defender is about to end, and no model has stirred as much speculation as that vehicle's successor. Now, our friends at AUTOMOBILE have learned a few details on the next Defender, which is expected to arrive by 2018 for the nameplate's 70th anniversary.

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Codenamed L663, the new Defender will be a departure from the SUV's working-class roots, aimed at customers who may not care as much about off-road capability. That isn't to say the next Defender won't be capable, however. AUTOMOBILE says the L663 will be "a butch-looking, go-anywhere luxury liner," that will be available in at least five body styles, including two- and four-door models available with long or short wheelbase lengths and in convertible or hardtop from, as well as a four-door pickup. Five engine choices will also be offered, including JLR's new Ingenium four-cylinder engine lineup with both gasoline and diesel variants, and a range-topping 300-hp 3.0-liter V-6 replacing the V-8. Those engines will be mated to either a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic, which can be coupled with an optional low-range transfer case and two locking differentials.

Related Link: Research the Land Rover Ranger Rover

Land Rover Defender Heritage Limited Edition Grille© Provided by MotorTrend Land Rover Defender Heritage Limited Edition Grille

But given the Defender's new target market, the SUV will also be more comfortable with improved ride and handling. The Defender will continue to use a live axle, but the ladder frame design will be replaced by a lightweight unibody mated to two separate subframes. As we previously reported, that unibody is said to be made out of aluminum. This architecture, called D7u, could preview what's in store for the rest of the Land Rover lineup. In addition to the improved ride, the new Defender will also benefit from enhanced interior quality, ergonomics, infotainment, safety, and efficiency. So not to completely alienate its current following, the Defender can be de-contented to save cost and weight. Things like air suspension and active body control will likely be retained, but infotainment options, a 360-degree camera, off-road-oriented navigation, adaptive extended-range headlights, hill descent and hill climb control, and a Terrain Response system will be optional.

Land Rover expects to move 30,000 Defenders each year, which would be a big jump from the current model's sales. Though it may get a little softer, the next Defender will broaden its appeal, which will help it cross the pond to the U.S.

Land Rover DC100 concepts pictured.

Source: AUTOMOBILE

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