Land Rover Plots Defender Expansion With LWB, High-End Models
The Defender nameplate will reportedly spawn a family of vehicles, from a long-wheelbase variant due next year to a posh, six-figure model in 2025.
LAND ROVER PLOTS DEFENDER EXPANSION WITH LWB, HIGH-END MODELS
Land Rover already sells multiple versions of the Defender—the stubby but charming two-door 90, the standard four-door 110, and the burly supercharged V8 model. Now Land Rover is preparing to expand the Defender lineup even further, turning it into a family of vehicles similar to what it did with the Range Rover nameplate. As reported by Autocar, Land Rover will introduce a series of Defender models over the next several years, including a long-wheelbase 130, a pickup truck, and even a plush, high-end luxury version.
The 130, seen here in spy photos, is due soonest, with the eight-seater expected to arrive at some point next year according to Autocar. The 130 should be at least ten inches longer than the 110, with most of that length added to the rear overhang. The Defender 130 is expected to only come in higher trim levels and should feature both the six and eight-cylinder engine options. The United States and China will be the stretched Defender’s primary markets.
Land Rover is also set to take the Defender further upmarket, with Autocar alleging that a fancier model, based on the MLA platform that will underpin the next Range Rover, will arrive by 2025. The MLA platform will support combustion engines, plug-in-hybrid setups, and electric powertrains, and will also form the basis for the next Range Rover Sport, Velar, and Discovery. This would make a Defender EV possible, but the Range Rover and Velar are expected to have priority for all-electric versions. The high-end Defender’s interior will be the major differentiator, and Autocar says it will feature more vibrant colors and upscale materials.
Although the powertrain landscape will have shifted even further towards EVs by 2025, the luxe-Defender will likely still be powered by the six-cylinder engine. A plug-in hybrid is also currently sold in Europe, and an evolution of this setup could come to the U.S. as well. Given that the Defender V8 already starts at nearly $100,000, expect the top-of-the-line Defender to be in six-figure territory.
An entry-level Defender 80 had also been rumored to debut by 2025. It would have been based on the EMA (Electric Modular Architecture) platform, but Autocar reports that this model has been cancelled. That platform will be found in the next Evoque and Discovery Sport, but Land Rover has apparently decided to not move the Defender name downmarket, as a baby Defender likely wouldn’t have the higher profit margins that should make the 130 and luxury Defender worth the investment.