2020 Land Rover Defender 110 Polishing Its Road Manners At The ‘Ring

Our photographers sent us a new set of spy shots of the 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 undergoing testing at the Nürburgring. The fresh photos have been added to the gallery below. (Update 3/25/2019)

We’ve seen the all-new 2020 Land Rover Defender testing around JLR’s headquarters and in the icy-cold climate of the Arctic Circle but this is the first time we get to see it on the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

This is likely the most significant of all sightings so far because it is very telling of the shift in the 2020 Defender’s philosophy. While its predecessor was an off-roader to the core that performed rather poorly on paved surfaces, the new Defender aims to be a more accomplished all-rounder.

Can you ever recall an instance where Land Rover tested the previous Defender on the Nürburgring? Neither can we, that’s what makes this sighting so unusual. However, if you read a thing or two about the upcoming Defender you won’t find anything surprising about this Nürburgring testing session.

Unlike the classic model, the new one will ditch the body-on-frame architecture for a new aluminum-intensive monocoque platform that features an independent rear suspension. This solution results in a lighter and stiffer body, with obvious benefits for on-road dynamics. As the spy photos show, the 2020 Defender exhibits noticeable body roll but not as much as one would expect from a vehicle carrying this nameplate.

The new Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) will also allow the new Defender to accommodate different drivetrains including internal combustion engines, mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid systems, as well as fully electric powertrains.

There’s not much to report on the design front as the boxy Defender 110 prototype continues to carry heavy camouflage. Land Rover will also offer the Defender in a short-wheelbase 90 version, and both body styles will use 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline and diesel units in the entry-level versions and 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder gasoline and diesel power plants with mild hybrid assistance in the upper-range models.

The all-new Land Rover Defender will debut towards the end of this year, possibly at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and will go on sale in early 2020.

more photos...

Photo credits: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien | CarPix for Carscoops

  • salamOOn

    i hope it will be as boxy and sharp as possible.

  • Giziclown

    With its crap reliability who cares.

    • Matt

      Maybe a lot of people? Ie the thousands of Defender fans?

    • wait a minute

      A mechanic once told me they are very durable, but doesn’t mean they are reliable.

  • Harry_Wild

    2020 Land Rover Defender now will be track ready SUV! What not to like?

    • Ben

      The fact that defenders aren’t supposed to be “track ready SUV”. They’re supposed to represent a dedication to offroad adventure and utility, not trying to claim a ‘pretty good for an SUV’ lap time. It would be like someone taking a Jeep Wrangler to the drag strip or Hummer H1 to Laguna Seca.

  • Ben

    Defenders aren’t supposed to have road manners. That’s what a range rover is for.

    • Matt

      All modern cars need to be safe on the road, regardless of their lineage. The Nürburgring is a good test of all the Defender’s chassis systems to ensure it won’t behave badly in the hands of customers.

      • Ben

        You don’t use the Ring to test a vehicle’s safety. That’s what proving grounds are for. The Ring is used to tune suspension for performance driving. If anything, we should see the Defender at an offroad proving grounds going up gradients, fording water and stretching articulation to near failure.

        • Matt

          Yes proving grounds provide that, but I remember reading all JLR products are signed-off at the Nürburgring. Considering the Defender is in the final throes of its development, one can assume the Nürburgring testing is not going to influence the chassis design in any real way. Like I said, it’s a good test of systems (like ABS, ESP and others) in a demanding driving environment.

          Most of the off-road testing would have been done at private proving grounds so we as causal observers are got getting the full picture, only because the Nürburgring is a public track does this get news time.

          • Ben

            I get what you’re saying, about JLR saying they’ll use the Ring to test certain capabilities. However, you have to admit using a race track to test an offroader’s ABS, ESP and other traction systems is pretty…odd.

            Don’t you think you’d like to test those systems while on rollers, gradients, mud pits, sand, or on loose gravel? Honestly, I believe the only reason the truck was there was to “show it off” and keep its development cycle in the media, which they’ve done. Like you said, proving grounds are private and cameras wouldn’t be able to catch testing footage.

  • Six Thousand Times

    They SHOULD be testing it on the Rubicon.

  • Alx

    you wouldn’t want to let any air out of those low profile tires…

  • Matteo Tommasi

    Say goodbye to everyone who thought this would challenge a Wrangler offroad

  • john1168

    If they put an adjustable height suspension in it (they should be able to with the independent front and rear suspension), this vehicle should do quite well on the road with decent performance tires (no, not a high performance suv) and it should also do very well off road with off road tires. It will be a jack of all trades and a master of none but it should be pretty good on and off road. It won’t be a hardcore offroader like a Rubicon Wrangler but I think it will be just fine in most situations. This will be an expensive vehicle and I have a feeling the person who will buy this is the type who want’s a decent off roader but also wants something that’s good on the road too. I’m actually very excited to see the production version but I understand why past Defender drivers will be disappointed.

  • nastinupe

    Look at those tires. LOL, this is NOT an off road vehicle. Glad I got my Wrangler JL Rubicon.

  • Dennis Scipio

    So they’re keeping that square-ish hood? okay.

  • Harry_Wild

    It price the same as the G Wagon! Ugh!

  • wait a minute

    Must be a first for a defender to be on the ‘ring’.

  • Marcin Lewandowski

    Vision of the future: fully electric Defender SUV on the Nurburgring – oh God, let me check out.

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