Land Rover has been criticized for making the latest Defender more luxurious than it needs to be given its utilitarian roots and the fact pushing it upmarket might cannibalize sales of other models from Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). The recently spotted eight-seat derivative coming in 2022 raises the same concerns, but that’s apparently not preventing the Tata Motors-owned company from making the SUV even more sophisticated.
A new report published by Autocar claims the MLA platform debuting at the end of the year with the next-generation Range Rover will also be put to good use on a fancy Defender due to hit the market at the beginning of 2025. The rumored flagship version is said to have a less rugged interior compared to the current model by adopting improved material in such a way as not to clash with the next-gen Range Rover.
It is believed the MLA-based Defender will be larger than the current three-door 90 and five-door 110 models and could spawn a fully electric derivative to compete with the Mercedes EQG due in 2024. A three-row version is mechanically possible to serve as a more luxurious alternative to the upcoming Defender 130, but it could eat into sales of the next Discovery.
Should the Defender lineup get a new top-of-the-line iteration, it’s expected to kick off at just under £60,000 in the UK, thus making it about £10,000 more expensive than a current Defender 110. In the United States, the five-door model begins at $50,500, but you can pay as much as $114,600 for a V8 Bond Edition.
Along with a posh variant, the on-again, off-again pickup truck could also be a part of what Land Rover has labeled the Defender family, which already includes a potent V8 supercharged model. There are rumors of an even hotter SVR-badged model with more than 600 hp from a BMW engine, and in the meantime, tests are being conducted with a hydrogen-fueled prototype.
Autocar goes on to say Land Rover had planned yet another Defender flavor for 2025, an entry-level model based on the EMA platform tailored to EVs that can also accommodate a range-extending gasoline engine. However, the idea has been shelved and the EMA architecture will be used just for the Evoque and Discovery Sport replacements.