Land Rover is set to fast forward the evolution of its iconic Defender, transforming it from the company's ancient relic to its technology leader in one generational change.
Information uncovered by British publication Autocar suggests that when the all-new Defender finally emerges it will move away from its utilitarian roots to the same thoroughly modern aluminium chassis that underpins the new Discovery and Range Rover Sport.
Land Rover will also equip the new car with a range of technologies to give it an off-roading edge, taking systems from its more premium vehicles further up the range, and loading them into the Defender to ensure it maintains the go-anywhere reputation of the previous generation.
Fully independent steel-sprung suspension will underpin the Defender, foregoing the more complex adjustable system available on the Discovery, and a dual-range transfer case will make up part of the standard mechanical package.
Under the bonnet the Defender will adopt the latest generation of Jaguar Land Rover's Ingenium four-cylinder engine range and is likely to introduce a petrol option as well as the traditional diesel engine.
To broaden the Defender's appeal, both manual and automatic transmissions will be available, and both long and short wheelbase variants will be offered, though a three-door variant seems likely to be scratched.
Overhangs are set to be reduced compared to the other Land Rover products using the same chassis to ensure that the Defender maintains its impressive approach and departure angles.
Land Rover will also adapt its existing suite of off-road technologies including the Discovery's Terrain Response, Wade Sensing, and All Terrain Progress Control systems, while adding new features in an attempt to make the Defender's off-road systems more accessible to a wider range of customers.
Though key capability figures are yet to be revealed, Land Rover's dedicated focus means that ground clearance, and wading depth are unlikely to suffer compared to the previous Defender, while safety systems are likely to make a huge leap forward.
But those looking to get their hands on the new Defender will need to be patient, with its public debut expected to be in 2018 as part of Land Rover's 70th anniversary ahead of its showroom arrival in 2019.
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