While we may have seen the just about the entirety of the 2021 Land Rover Defender already, the new Landie remains in development and can still be spotted testing in camouflage in some of the most seemingly unlikely places.
A reader was kind enough to send us the video embedded below of Land Rover engineers taking camo’d Defender prototypes around the infamous track in Western Germany. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Defender out on the ‘Ring, but the fact that it’s still out there seems to mean that Land Rover is dedicated to getting on-road handling down just right. Also, this time we got to see the three-door (with its rear-mounted spare) doing the rounds too.
The fact that the new SUV is getting tested on a race track at all is a clear tell that, as predicted, the new Defender is going to have a stronger bias towards the road and away from muddy fields and rutted desert tracks. The utility market has largely been snatched from under Land Rover’s nose by the Hilux and other similar mid-size pickups. Earlier reports suggested the new Defender would target those trucks to reconquer the space, it appears that the mid-development restart has led Land Rover to take more of an up-market approach to multiplying Defender sales with the new generation. Nonetheless, we have also seen Defender prototypes strutting their stuff off-road as well, and though the new generation appears to feature independent suspension all-round, it does seem to be pretty capable.
The new Defender, which will be officially imported to America for the first time since the NAS Defenders left the market in 1997, will reportedly be offered with six (three gasoline and three diesel) powertrains worldwide, including one plug-in hybrid. It remains to be seen which engines will make it to the North American market, especially since Jaguar Land Rover has begun to slow down diesel development, but all three body-styles (the two-door “90", the five-door “110", and extended five-door “130") will likely make it to America.
The 2021 Land Rover Defender is set to be unveiled next month in Frankfurt, and it will reportedly be priced somewhere between the Discovery and Range Rover Sport, making it one of the more relatively affordable Land Rovers but far more expensive than the reliable workhorse it replaces.