Almost four years after ending production of its most iconic model, Land Rover's new Defender has been revealed to the world.
The car was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday morning and broadcast on Land Rover’s YouTube channel. Design-wise, the car looks roughly half-way between the old model and the Land Rover Discovery; the sharp, boxy edges have gone, yet it retains a pleasingly practical shape.
The true test will be in the farmland and woodland of Britain, of course, but it’s hard to imagine that Land Rover will have made many mistakes in that regard. With Jaguar Land Rover — and the entire industry — suffering though all sorts of problems at the moment, the success of the new model is simply too important for the new model to be bungled.
New Defenders will be available in a range of different options, sizes and with all manner of 21st century toys, including 5G connectivity
It’s hardly a surprise that the company has launched a new model. Reporting on the Defender’s demise in January 2016, Country Life predicted as much: ‘It’s clear that, despite the obituaries, the Land Rover Defender may yet live to fight another day, albeit with an entirely different look.’
The old car’s demise was less a matter of demand as one of regulation: the old model was essentially impossible to re-engineer in such a way as to meet modern standards on safety and emissions.
Yet the cult of the Land Rover Defender ensured that fans of the car continued to pursue them, with old models fetching tens of thousands of pounds.
Some have been sold with price tags far beyond that. Companies such as Twisted Automotive have been hand-converting old Defenders and turning them into magnificently bonkers machines with ‘the throttle pick-up of an F1 car and the aerodynamic profile of a washing machine’, in the memorable phrasing of Country Life’s James Fisher.
Order books for the new vehicle are already said to be filling up even before the official launch. 70 years from the launch of the original Defender, the New Defender looks set to keep one of Britain’s most famous cars going for many years to come.
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