The Land Rover Defender is one of the veterans among off-road vehicles. From a myth perspective, only the Willys Jeep can keep up with it. But compared to the small original Jeep, the Defender was also the more practical car in the Spartan military version. The Queen has always been one of the biggest fans of brands and models. Unforgettable is the scene in the film of the same name, in which she – played by Helen Mirren – repairs her own car shirt-sleeved.
If it had been up to the tough fans, you could have continued to build the terrain rock forever, but modern regulations could no longer be met with the old model. Production ceased in 2016.
The power of a special brand
The successor was worked on for a long time. It will be in stores in April. It must not disappoint the expectations of the traditionalists and at the same time it must be the car that will bring the brand into the future. Of course, Land Rover has several irons in the fire. And above all, the city beauty “Evoque” has proven that the small brand has the power to create its very own vehicle category, which was eagerly imitated by the big competition. But the brand core remains connected to the Defender.
Technician Mike Cross is completely convinced after an exit. “This is the best car we make at Jaguar Land Rover,” he beams, hitting a jumping hill at 140 km / h. The 5.02 meter colossus takes off and lands on all fours shortly thereafter, bounces briefly and then remains stable. You could have done such a stunt with the predecessor, but then you would have had to pray in flight that the car would not break out after landing.
When it comes to Mike Cross, the capabilities of the new Defender should speak for themselves. The car remains rustic and is said to be a gentleman. The old model was always a little lacking in comfort. Even if the last years were far more comfortable than the vehicles that were sold by the military and found their way into civilian life.
Modern chassis – finally
Uncompromising off-road mobility and comfortable travel are difficult to achieve with leaf springs. Today, an aviation plant with variable dampers takes over this task. Even on bad roads or a dirt road without puddles, the Defender does not lose its maintenance, ironing out the bumps well. “We run tests fully loaded at 70 miles per hour (113 km / h). I tell my employees that the car has to be able to do this,” explains Mike Cross. The three of us were in the car and raced along the dirt road at 130 km / h. “Like an air cushion boat,” Cross says happily and even uses the German word.
We were on the road with the top model P400 – with V6 engine, 400 PS and the mild hybrid, which is also known from the Range Rover. The drive train makes a powerful impression and can handle the 2.3 ton colossus in a relaxed manner, pushes strongly. The forces do not drop even between 100 and 140 km / h.
The off-road vehicle remains neutral for a long time, even in fast corners, until it discreetly pushes outwards. The all-wheel drive is designed equally, has a mechanical reduction gear, the limited slip differential on the rear axle is controlled electrically and the center differential can be locked mechanically. For the time being, the 400 hp version will remain the top engine.
Defender becomes a Bond car
The Defender 110 D 200 with the two-liter four-cylinder diesel costs at least 55,600 euros, the short version is specified at 49,700 euros, if you let off steam with the equipment list and choose stronger versions, you can quickly reach the 70,000 euro mark. The British want to sell more than the 20,000 pieces a year that the original Defender made.
For this, the new Defender can take part in the next James Bond adventure with the auspicious title “No Time to Die”. And let’s wait and see when the Queen swaps one of her beloved old “bone rattlers” in Balmoral Castle for a model that is easier on the back.
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