Coronavirus made adjustments to life: instead of the required test drive of the latest Land Rover Defender, I sit at a laptop and communicate with representatives of the brand’s Russian office. They talk in detail about the model, and something that you can’t read in the press release
I have never attended the virtual premiere of a new car, but everything, as they say, happens for the first time. Photos, diagrams and figures pop up on the screen, a Jaguar Land Rover Russia employee talks about the new product in real time, and I type questions in a chat. The result – as he visited the real premiere, only he could not touch the car. Yes, and the train too. But it doesn’t matter, I’ll ride later, but for now I’ll write that I found out something interesting.
Perhaps the main news for fans of the legendary “rogue” Defender is that it no longer has a frame, however, like other models of the brand. But this does not in any way worsen his off-road ability – on the contrary, it improves. This is because Land Rover technologies make it possible to make such a thing with a load-bearing body that the frame never dreamed of. It is enough to recall Discovery of the last generation, on which I personally participated in expeditions along the Tien Shan and the Pamirs, – the SUV showed simply miracles of cross-country ability. But he has a supporting body. And the new Defender is built on the same chassis, only upgraded.
The Discovery platform carries the D7u index, while the new Defender calls it D7x. It can be assumed that their design is the same, but with differences. In reality, the platform of the new “Def” is changed to … 95%! That is, in front of us is another car. Take a closer look at the changes.
Since the Defender was designed with a view to a very serious off-road, its front overhang was reduced, and the radiator was positioned higher and moved deeper into the body. Amplifiers appeared in the engine compartment, and additional spars appeared in the rapids. The bottom panels became more rigid. In general, the torsional rigidity of the body reached 29,000 Nm / deg, while at Discovery it is 23,000 Nm / deg. For comparison: the very first Defender has only 3,000 Nm / deg.
Reduced and rear overhang. That is, the front and rear axles, in fact, have been moved apart, which makes the wheelbase 99 mm higher than Discovery and exceeds 3 m! To be more precise, it turned out 3022 mm, which is even more than the Range Rover. An increase in the wheelbase should have worsened the ramp angle, but this was compensated by the installation of the body on thicker subframes (+20 mm) and wheels of increased diameter (+ 10–13 mm). The vehicle’s ground clearance is 225 mm and that of the air suspension in the standard position is 216 mm.
When you turn on the “off-road” mode, “pneuma” raises the body to a clearance of 291 mm. And if you suddenly happen to sit on your belly, the SUV will automatically raise another 35 mm. But that is not all. If the automation did not help, the driver can squeeze the brake pedal and press the body up button for three seconds, so Defender will increase the ground clearance by another 35 mm. As a result, 361 mm will come out! You can ride with such a clearance at a speed of up to 8 km / h. When driving at high speed, the car, on the contrary, will sit down to 203 mm. Finally, for loading and unloading, a clearance of up to 166 mm is provided.
The devil is in the details
In general, the attention to detail in the new Defender is amazing. For example, air intakes are located in the front wings behind the wheel arches. It is in this place, when wading, a wave lifted by the car drops, which allows you to storm deeper water bodies. In addition, it is easy to attach a snorkel here if the owner decides to modify the car for trophy raids.
The front of the roof from the windshield to the hatch is faced with plastic. The designers noticed that when driving on the road this part of the body suffers greatly from stones flying from under the wheels of the front-going SUV, so it was decided to protect it with a special polymer that is practically not scratched and not damaged.
And the center armrest between the front seats actually turns out to be … a folded middle seat with its own seat belt. However, the client can order a complete set without it, and even without an armrest at all – then there will be a convenient passage to the second row. The latter option is also suitable for standing between the front seats at full height, leaning out of the hatch. If anything, on real off-road it is possible to do so, because traffic rules do not work there.
Like it or not, the car turned out outstanding. Moreover, in no case can it be called turned Discovery, as some people think. This is a very serious and very technically sophisticated SUV. Even the brakes here are innovative, electric, due to which they work twice as fast and operate more reliably due to the smaller number of nodes. And here is the new electronic architecture.
Russian prices have not yet been announced, they will become known closer to the start of sales, which are scheduled for autumn 2020. Closer to that time, we will also talk about motors and much more. After all, someday a full-fledged test drive of the new product should take place.