Land Rover's reborn icon, the all-new Defender, has been caught testing in short wheelbase form for the first time.
The rugged 4x4 is due to go on sale in 2020, but we've already seen numerous test mules, while last month saw prototypes taking a more production-ready form. The disguised five-door '110' model has now been joined by the smaller three-door '90' version, with an even larger '130' wheelbase rumoured too.
The pictures show the new Defender in camo livery on the roads near the Jaguar Land Rover factory. Asked about the images at the Paris motor show, Felix Bräutigam, Jaguar Land Rover's marketing chief, admitted they were of the first prototypes to leave Gaydon, and said more would follow in coming months as the ramp-up to production begins.
“These are what we call Pilot build cars and testing will increase on public roads from now,” said Bräutigam. “The first four cars are ready, and now the line is running you can expect the number of test cars to grow exponentially.
“In time, as you’d expect, the Defender will go through all the usual test routines, from cold weather testing in Arjeplog in Sweden to extreme hot weather testing in Death Valley in the USA. It’s exciting for us to be able to now be one step closer to bringing the car to market, of course. We are talking about the rebirth of an icon and not just as a single car, but as a whole family.
“Our brand is about passion, and it is icons that drive that passion. The truth is the world doesn’t need another premium brand doing what all the others do. These icons are what separate us; at Land Rover we are rooted in our heritage and that’s what makes us different.”