2021 Land Rover Defender Spied Testing On The Nürburgring Again

Illustration for article titled 2021 Land Rover Defender Spied Testing On The Nürburgring Again
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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.

Max Finkel is a Weekend Contributor at Jalopnik.

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For everyone that is freaking out about a Land Rover being tested at the Nurburgring, chill out. Land Rover has been testing products at the ‘ring since the LR3. In fact, I’ve included below a hilarious video of them doing just that (sound on for full immersion).

I’ve owned multiple Discovery 2's, a lifted LR3 on 33's, and most recently a Range Rover Sport V8 Supercharged with the center and rear lockers. The reality is that these new Land Rovers are more capable than the older machines in BOTH on and off road scenarios. Stock v. stock, a Discovery 5 with the center locker will absolutely destroy an NAS Spec Defender 90 on most trails. Equip the D5 with double lockers (as you can from factory) and it will be an even larger margin of victory. As much as I love the old rovers, there’s no denying that the new stuff is incredibly capable. Frankly, if the new Defender manages to be as capable as a D5 while also being smaller, then there’s no scenario where I see an “old” Defender beating the “new” Defender. (Except in the visual department. I expect the new one to look like a DC100 pile of dogshit).