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.