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We Hear: Next-Gen Land Rover Defender to Feature Aluminum Chassis

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/29/2014 Karla Sanchez

The next-gen Land Rover Defender will be the most capable Land Rover ever built when it arrives in 2016, a big boss at Jaguar Land Rover said at the Paris motor show.


Phil Popham, JLR group marketing director, boasted about the next Defender to Autocar, saying that it will have the biggest "breadth of capability" ever demonstrated by a Land Rover. Although that's a pretty bold claim, we don't doubt there's some truth behind it considering all the new off-road technology the automaker has displayed in the past. For example, the Land Rover Discovery Vision concept shown earlier this year in New York featured a "transparent hood" that created a see-through view of the terrain through the hood and engine bay through the use of virtual imaging technology. Land Rover DC100 concept front three quarter© Provided by MotorTrend Land Rover DC100 concept front three quarter

We've also reported before that LR engineers are considering a new generation of Auto Terrain Response that could anticipate changes in the landscape, and feature sensors that could help when traversing water; on-demand spiked tires; a driveline disconnect; and torque vectoring for both on- and off-road. The automaker also plans on increasing the Defender's structural rigidity by utilizing a new body structure that consists of an aluminum monocoque sitting atop an aluminum frame. Land Rover previously tried this with the last Discovery, with an aluminum monocoque passenger cell mated to a separate steel chassis. This resulted in increased strength, but also a hefty curb weight. Using aluminum for the understructure should help reduce weight.

Underneath the hood, Autocar reports we can see gas and diesel versions of the company's new 2.0-liter Ingenium four-cylinder along V-6 engines, which will be matched to an eight- or nine-speed automatic. We've also heard before that the next-generation Defender will come in short-wheelbase versions with room for five, and long-wheelbase versions with room for seven. A pickup, which is tentatively scheduled for 2017, is also reportedly in the works and will come in a crew cab configuration with room for five. While it will be more capable, it will also be more premium with a cabin that's distinctly more upscale than we're used to seeing in the current Defender. 2012 Land Rover Defender Special Edition front three quarter 1© Provided by MotorTrend 2012 Land Rover Defender Special Edition front three quarter 1

Since the report suggests the next Defender's design has already been given the green light, we expect to see a production version sometime around 2016, though we could see a concept that previews the off-roader as early as the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in March.

Source: Autocar

Land Rover DC100/Sport© Provided by MotorTrend Land Rover DC100/Sport

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