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    • Posted: 19/06/19

      Our six-part series tracing the evolution of our original Land Rover, has so far taken us from the Series I in 1947 to the Defender launched in 1990. In the final chapter we look at Defender between 2007 and 2015.

      Further improvements to our Defender allowed for quieter, more efficient long-distance cruising, without compromising its renowned off-road capabilities.

      The Defender made another step-change in April 2007 when the Td5 engine was replaced by the four-cylinder, 2.4-litre Puma unit.

      It used direct injection and turbocharging to generate 121BHP and a huge 265lb-ft of torque, but it also hit the tough new Euro IV emissions regulations. The engine was coupled with a revised, quieter transfer case and a new six-speed manual gearbox, which allowed a longer top gear for quiet, efficient long-distance cruising.

      Not the kind of driving the Defender was originally designed for, but something it was now unquestionably capable of. 'The new engine propels the Defender at speeds as high as 85MPH with amazing civility, and the new six-speed gearbox moves with precision,' said CAR magazine after driving the vehicle from London to Belfast in one day.

      The engine was revised again in 2011 to meet the new Euro V regulations. The latest engine technology allowed it to downsize by 200cc yet maintain its power and torque outputs. It was quieter, and when fitted with the diesel particulate filter, emitted less pollutants than any Defender before it.

      The 2012 Defender which can be easily identified by its large alloys and bonnet 'bulge'
      Bottom Left
      2012 Defender's wading capability
      Bottom Right
      2012 Defender off-road

      Visually, these new four-cylinder diesel-powered Defenders were distinguished by a distinctive ‘bulge’ in the bonnet, and by the blanked-out air vents under the windscreen which were no longer needed by the more sophisticated air conditioning.

      Inside saw a more modern dashboard with ‘eyeball’ air vents and controls for the electric windows, heated seats and heated screens, and the four inward-facing rear-most seats on both the three- and five-door station wagons were replaced by two folding, forward-facing seats.

      But not on the Station Wagon Utility, a new production body style for this generation of Defender. It was a 110 Station Wagon with no third row of seats and blanked-out side windows to the rear compartment, creating an off-road van capable of carrying a crew of five.

      “The new engine propels it at speeds as high as 85MPH with amazing civility, and the new six-speed gearbox moves with precision.”

      CAR magazine’s review of the 2007 Defender

      Further proof of the Defender’s endless configurability came at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show with the unveiling of the Electric Defender Research Vehicle. Inspired in part by the silent, electric Defender vehicle tested in 2011, Land Rover built a fleet of seven Defenders to test the suitability of electric powertrains for use across its range.

      The 300-volt lithium-ion battery and 94BHP electric motor were able to propel the Defender for up to eight hours in typical low-speed off-road use, and the electric drivetrain with its huge torque proved perfect for controlled progress over difficult terrain.

      To celebrate the legend, in 2015 Land Rover commissioned the Defender Celebration Series, three very different Limited Edition models, each celebrating a crucial aspect of the Defender DNA.

      The Heritage, Adventure and Autobiography editions were revealed on Anglesey’s Red Wharf Bay as six other Defenders – each one equipped with heavy-duty agricultural harrows – drew a one-kilometre outline of that iconic shape in the sands where Maurice Wilks first sketched it. A 68-year adventure was ending where it started.

      Defender gets drawn into the sand on an epic scale back in 2015.


Jaguar Land Rover Limited: Registered office: Abbey Road, Whitley, Coventry CV3 4LF. Registered in England No: 1672070

The figures provided are as a result of official manufacturer's tests in accordance with EU legislation. A vehicle's actual fuel consumption may differ from that achieved in such tests and these figures are for comparative purposes only.

The figures provided are NEDCeq calculated from official manufacturer’s WLTP tests in accordance with EU legislation. For comparison purposes only. Real world figures may differ. CO2 and fuel economy figures may vary according to wheel fitment and optional extras fitted. NEDCeq are figures calculated using a Government formula from WLTP figures equivalent to what they would have been under the old NEDC test. The correct tax treatment can then be applied.

The figures provided are WLTP. WLTP is the new official EU test used to calculate standardised fuel consumption and CO2 figures for passenger cars. It measures fuel, energy consumption, range and emissions. This is designed to provide figures closer to real-world driving behaviour. It tests vehicles with optional equipment and with a more demanding test procedure and driving profile.

TEL (Test Energy Low) and TEH (Test Energy High) figures are shown as a range under WLTP testing measures. TEL refers to the lowest/most economical figures (with the lightest set of options). TEH refers to the highest/least economical figures (with the heaviest set of options). WLTP legislation dictates that where there is <5g CO2 variance between TEL and TEH, only the TEH is declared.