The Adventum Coupe is an exclusive coachbuilt two-door Range Rover

Range Rover Adventum Coupe

One of the biggest talking points from the 2018 Geneva Motor Show was the announcement of the two-door Range Rover SV Coupe. 

Planned as an exclusive limited edition of 999 units, Jaguar Land Rover would later decide to cancel production in a drive to save costs. 

For those disappointed by losing the chance to spend £240,000 ($295,000) on a Range Rover coupe, Dutch car designer Niels van Roij has a new solution.

Inspired by the Range Rover Classic

Range Rover Adventum Coupe

London-based Niels van Roij has created numerous automotive designs, but is best known for his Shooting Brake version of the Tesla Model S. 

The Adventum Coupe is his own take on the two-door Range Rover idea, and it does differ subtly from Land Rover’s own SV Coupe version.

Viewed in profile, the roofline of the Adventum Coupe falls away less dramatically than the SV Coupe. Niels has stated that the original Range Rover provided the inspiration for his model, rather than the SV concept. 

Range Rover Adventum Coupe

The result is a two-door Range Rover coupe that looks like it could have just left the production line. In reality, coachbuilders Bas van Roomen will be responsible for building all Adventum Coupes by hand. 

Only the bonnet, front fenders, and tailgate lid are said to be shared with the original vehicle. All other body panels are made from scratch.

Being a coachbuilt creation, interested buyers can have their own Adventum Coupe tailored to meet their exacting demands. Niels van Roij suggests that this could include the addition of extra vents in the bodywork, or special paint hues. 

Teak flooring throughout

Range Rover Adventum Coupe

Interior modification is also a major part of the Adventum Coupe, with van Roij fitting a trademark teak floor throughout. 

The buyer of the first Adventum, finished in Arctic White paint, choose teak elements with a white finish between them. It complements the rest of the interior, that features red leather upholstery and a dashboard finished in black piano wood. 

A key part of the Adventum Coupe is the replacement of the standard rear bench seat with two individual chairs. It makes the van Roij design a four-seater, with the rear seats electrically adjustable.  

Range Rover Adventum Coupe

To ensure the Adventum Coupe has the performance to match the looks, van Roij has used the range-topping powertrain for it. 

This means a 5.0 supercharged V8 engine offering 525 hp, which allows the regular Range Rover to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds. 

Air suspension, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and permanent four-wheel drive should mean the Adventum retains the off-road ability of the five-door Range Rover. 

How bespoke will your budget allow?

Range Rover Adventum Coupe

Such coachbuilt exclusivity will not come cheap. Starting prices for an Adventum Coupe being at €270,000. This is equivalent to £245,000 or $300,000. Niels van Roij plans to be only 100 examples. 

Given the level of custom work involved, buyers will also need to place a €50,000 (£45,000  / $55,555) deposit with Niels van Roij. 

Having an Adventum Coupe built to your exact specification is not a quick process. Building one should take at least six months, and possibly longer depending on the options picked.

Range Rover at 50: From the prairie to the Premier League

2020 sees the Range Rover turn 50. Over the course of its life, Land Rover’s stately stalwart has been transformed from a hose-down hack into the must-have driveway accessory for any self-respecting Cheshire mansion owner.

From the prairie to the Premier League, Range Rover, this is your life.

ALSO SEE: Find a used Range Rover on AutoTrader

The first Range Rover prototype

In the 1960s, Rover sensed a genuine opportunity to launch a game-changing project. The company looked across the Atlantic at the likes of the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wagoneer and pondered a rival based on the Rover P6. This more broad, sturdy model would sit above the Series Land Rovers. Two years later, the Range Rover prototype was born…

The ‘100-inch Station Wagon’

It was called the ‘100-inch Station Wagon’, with the engineering pair of Charles ‘Spen’ King and Gordon Ashford working on the body. Donald Stokes, the then boss of Leyland which had recently taken control of Rover, liked the design and left it to David Bache to make necessary refinements. The prototype was completed in 1968.

First Range Rover is built

In 1970, the first Range Rover rolled off the production line in Solihull. It featured an aluminium V8 engine, permanent four-wheel drive and all-round disc brakes. The price was a quite remarkable £1,998.

A true British classic was born

The original Range Rover was a revelation, with the automotive press quick to praise its blend of off-road capabilities and on-road manners. A true British classic was born. A British car to take on the world.

First four-door Range Rover

In 1981, the first four-door Range Rover was built. It was based on a previously launched Monteverdi design, which had struggled to sell, largely thanks to a high price tag.

First Range Rover automatic

The 1980s saw a series of new innovations for the Range Rover, starting in 1982 when Land Rover launched the first Range Rover automatic.

The visit of the Pope

During the Pope’s UK visit in 1982, the Pope was driven around in a converted Range Rover.

First diesel-engined Range Rover

Four years after the first automatic, Land Rover introduced the first diesel-engined Range Rover.

North American debut

The Range Rover made its North American debut in 1987, while a year later, the opulent Vogue SE was launched. In 1989, the 3.5-litre V8 became a 3.9-litre, while in the same year, the Range Rover became the first SUV to feature ABS brakes.

Long-wheelbase LSE

In 1990, the two-door CSK model was introduced, named in honour of Charles Spencer King. Two years later, the long-wheelbase LSE model was launched, completed with a 4.2-litre V8 engine.

Range Rover County LWB

The car was known as the Range Rover County LWB in the US and it was owned and driven by the rich and famous. Here is Michael Jordan’s Range Rover in 1995.

ETC and air suspension introduced in 1992

In 1992, the Range Rover became the first SUV to feature Electronic Traction Control (ETC) and automatic air suspension. Consider the fact that this was now a full 22-years since the launch of the original car and a replacement was still two years in the future.

Launch of the P38A

When it arrived, the Range Rover P38A was a bit of anti-climax. In fairness, it was always going to be tough following up a legend – that difficult second album syndrome. But while the second generation was more luxurious and did offer a wider range of engines, it was beset with reliability problems.

Production of the MK1 Range Rover continued

On the plus side, the P38A (codenamed after the building in Solihull in which it was built) did retain many of the Range Rover’s key features, such as the floating roof, clamshell bonnet and split tailgate. But it was no surprise to find the original MK1 Range Rover continuing to be sold alongside its replacement.

Range Rover Classic

When it did bow out in 1996, the original Range Rover – now known as the Range Rover Classic – had already lived up to its badge. Classic by name, classic by nature. A total of 317,615 cars had been shifted in a 26-year production life. In comparison, the second generation model lasted a mere seven years…

Range Rover Linley

But that wasn’t before the P38A delivered the most luxurious Range Rover to-date. It was called the Linley and featured black paint, black leather, piano black interior trim and deep-pile carpets. It was also one of the first cars to feature satellite navigation and a television. The price was a mere £100,000.

The last Range Rover II

Here we see the last second-generation Range Rover rolling off the production line in Solihull. Charles ‘Spen’ King was there to witness the event.

Third-generation Range Rover

In 2001, the all-new third-generation Range Rover was launched. In an early indication of shifting market trends and a move even further upmarket, the design was said to be inspired by yachts, fine furniture and first-class seating.

Pompous and self-important?

Spen King went on record as saying how much he regretted the way in which the Range Rover and other 4x4s developed. His original concept was for a hose-down and wipe-clean interior and he had no visions of leather and woodgrain. In fact, he felt drivers of luxury SUVs were ‘pompous’ and ‘self-important.’

New TDV8 engine

In 2006, the new TDV8 diesel engine was offered for the first time. The photo shows the Range Rover Autobiography of 2009, which featured new 20-inch diamond-turned twin-seven-spoke alloy wheels.

Range Rover facelift of 2010

The midlife facelift for the 2010 Range Rover, introduced at the 2009 New York Auto Show, was far more than a cosmetic exercise. Indeed, Land Rover bosses claimed 1,420 new parts were used in creating a more luxurious and refined SUV. With every passing year, Range Rover was getting ever closer to Rolls-Royce levels of luxury and comfort.

New 5.0-litre V8 and 5.0-litre supercharged engines

In the same year, two new engines were introduced, including the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 found in the Jaguar XFR. The V8 would help to propel the Range Rover to 62mph in 5.9 seconds, while delivering 19mpg. Meanwhile, the TDV8 could offer a slightly more acceptable 25mpg.

Holland & Holland Range Rover by Overfinch

This 2009 special edition was less Guns ’n’ Roses and more Guns ’n’ Boozes. The Holland & Holland Range Rover Overfinch was famous – not for its 31 piece gunstock walnut trim or unique four-seat layout and hand-veneered rear console. No, it was the self-replenishing drinks cabinet which captured most people’s imagination. Can’t think why.

Range Rover introduces the world’s first TFT

2010 saw the introduction of another world-first in a Range Rover with the introduction of a 12-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT), which presented all the driver information on a set of virtual dials. We take this technology for granted these days, but in 2010 this was big news. You may also remember the Range Rover was the first vehicle to offer a dual-view infotainment screen.

The most luxurious Range Rover ever?

It was billed as the ‘most luxurious Range Rover’ ever built and it cost a cool £120,000. The Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition of 2010 featured a pair of iPads on the back of the front seats, two rear seats in place of the bench and an aluminium laptop table. There was also the small matter of teak decking in the boot. Only 500 were built.

The fourth-generation Range Rover

By now, the Range Rover was on a roll. Fresh from the launch of the Evoque came the fourth-generation Range Rover, billed as ‘the world’s most refined and capable SUV.’ It was the first SUV to feature a lightweight all-aluminium body and was the most aerodynamic Range Rover ever produced. In an instant, the third generation Range Rover looked outmoded and so past it.

2013 – Range Rover Hybrid

These are changing times and even Range Rover has to adapt. Still hurting from its rollocking from Greenpeace, Land Rover introduced a new Range Rover Hybrid in 2013. The SDV6 Hybrid cuts CO2 emissions to a remarkable 169g/km – not bad for a 340hp V6-powered SUV capable of sprinting to 60mph in 6.5 seconds and retaining the same ground clearance and wading depth.

The Long-wheelbase Autobiography Black

Catchy name, isn’t it? We’re pretty sure Spen King didn’t have the likes of the Range Rover Long-Wheelbase Autobiography Black in mind back in the 1960s, but the new car did manage to extend the rear legroom by 186mm and see the introduction of executive style seating.

The new Range Rover Holland & Holland

But if the LWB Autobiography wasn’t luxurious enough, you could always order the £180,000 Range Rover Holland & Holland. Once again, it promised to be ‘the most luxurious model ever’ and featured a host of bespoke upgrades, including a leather-trimmed gun cabinet.

The Range Rover SV Autobiography

The SV Autobiography of 2015 felt no less special, but at £148,000, it was a tad cheaper. Highlights include a ‘Duo-tone’ paint, featuring a Santorini Black upper body and lower body colour of your choice, along with Windsor leather ‘event seating’, complete with footrests.

6 millionth Land Rover is a Range Rover

Rather fittingly during the Range Rover’s 45th year in production, the 6 millionth Land Rover to roll off the production line just happened to be a Range Rover LWB Vogue SE. It was built on 2 April 2015.

Range Rover facelift

Revealed at the beginning of 2018, the fourth-generation Range Rover got its first comprehensive update. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and the Range Rover was as cool-looking as ever. Changes were subtle, including new sleek LED lighting. The front matrix lamps now came with 142 individually controllable LEDs apiece. In addition to that, the Pixel-Laser High Beam added lasers to the Range Rover’s lighting arsenal. Paging Dr Evil…

Going digital

A modernised outside was matched with further digitisation of the cabin. Gone were most of the buttons, replaced by ten-inch touch screens. The upper-level screen controlled media, as did the previous iteration. The lower screen was all-new, with integrated swivel dials to control the climate control. It was a thoroughly slick system that brought the Range Rover firmly up-to-date in the face of fierce competition.

Plug-in hybrid model

New for the Range Rover with the 2018 update was the introduction of a plug-in hybrid variant. This combined JLR’s 300hp 2.0-litre Ingenium four-cylinder engine with an 85kW electric motor. This electrified Range Rover came with a claimed emissions-free range of 31 miles, albeit under the dubious NEDC cycle. Economy figures were rated at 101mpg – stratospheric for a Range Rover – and CO2 was claimed to be down to 64g/km. Impressive, given in all, this Rangey packed an impressive 404hp.

Range Rover SVCoupe

In a way, the SVCoupe went back to the Range Rover’s roots. Conversely, this blingy £250,000 luxurious beast was more suited to Sheikhs than sheep shearers. While, as the Coupe name suggests, it had just two doors, that’s where the similarities with the original Rangie end. MR’s Peter Burgess had strong opinions on it at the time, but he needn’t have worried. The decadent SVCoupe was eventually canned due to budgetary concerns.

Six appeal

If the four-pot in the PHEV sounded a bit weedy to you, but the supercharged 5.0-litre is a bit much, fear not. The 400hp Ingenium straight-six arrived in early 2019 with a mild-hybrid boost to improve emissions.

Send in the Sentinels

If you’re a high-value target, but quite fancy a Range Rover, fear not. The heavily-armoured Sentinel variant that debuted last year should keep you safe. It featured more than a tonne of armour plates and glass, with protection against ‘modern and unconventional forms of attack, including improvised explosive devices’.

To the stars

2019 also saw the introduction of the Range Rover Astronaut Edition, exclusively for members of the Virgin Galactic Future Astronaut community. Special features include the ‘zero gravity blue’ paint, and various detail touches like imagery of SpaceShipTwo throughout the cabin. Special editions don’t get more exclusive than that.

The spin-offs: Range Rover Sport

The Range Rover name began spawning offshoots over 15 years ago. The Range Stormer Concept previewed a sportier model to sit below the long-standing ‘full size’. Shortly after, the Range Rover Sport was introduced, as an answer to the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5. It brought supercharged power and ice-cool looks, attracting a younger, sportier audience to the Rangie. While it was introduced with 400hp from a 4.2-litre supercharged V8, the current blood-curdling SVR variant of the second generation sport has over 570hp from a 5.0-litre unit.

The spin-offs: Range Rover Evoque

Truly bringing the Range Rover name to the masses was the Evoque, introduced in 2011. Based on – whisper it – the Freelander, the Evoque changed the game, introducing the sporty design language Land Rover still uses today, at undeniably attractive prices. Have that, BMW X3 and Audi Q5. The less said about the convertible variant of 2016, the better. Now in its second-generation, Land Rover hasn’t strayed from the stylish look of the original Evoque too much. It’s as cool and desirable as ever.

The spin-offs: Range Rover Velar

The latest spin-off, the Velar, had some scratching their heads. Bigger than an Evoque, but smaller than a Sport, who was this new Range Rover variant for? Honestly, we’re still not sure, but it’s probably the best combination of the two. It introduced the sleek cabin of the big Range Rover, and can be ordered in muscular SVAutobiography supercharged V8 form. Now the most devoted of Premier League posers can have a four-car collection consisting entirely of distinct Range Rover models.

The future of the Range Rover

With 50 years behind it, what’s next for the Range Rover? The fourth-gen still has some years left in it, but prototypes of the next-gen car are out testing. There are rumours it’ll be all-electric, sharing a platform with the all-electric next-generation Jaguar XJ. If so, it’ll be one of the biggest changes to the Range Rover in over five decades. For now, the Range Rover is fighting fit at 50.

Twisted Automotive 2020 Expansion Plans

Land Rover specialists Twisted plot new Silverstone showroom and more

Twisted Automotive 2020 Expansion Plans

Twisted Automotive, known for producing bespoke modified Land Rover Defenders, has announced plans for a new showroom in Silverstone. 

Aimed at potential customers in London and across the south of England, the new showroom will display a range of models from the company. 

It forms part of grand expansion aims, revealed by Twisted exactly four years to the day that Land Rover ceased production of the original Defender.

Journey south

Twisted Automotive 2020 Expansion Plans

At present, UK sales for Twisted’s products are dealt with from the company’s headquarters in Thirsk, North Yorkshire. Whilst this may suit the rural image of a Twisted Land Rover, it does mean southern customers face a considerable journey to view products.

Based at Silverstone in Northamptonshire, the location for the new showroom has been chosen to be only 30 minutes by train, or an hour by car, from central London. 

Set to open in March 2020, the Silverstone showroom will offer test drives, servicing for existing customers, and also host the Twisted Cafe. 

Team America is ready

Twisted Automotive 2020 Expansion Plans

Last year saw Twisted announce an enhanced American division, located in South Boston, Virginia. Creating vehicles especially for American buyers, Twisted’s NA-specification Defenders use supercharged Chevrolet V8 engines with 650 horsepower.

The company has already finished its first North American-spec Defender, a short-wheelbase 90 model, which features air conditioning, electric windows, and central locking in the left-hand drive vehicles. 

An accompanying Defender 110 is now being prepared, with Twisted planning to show both models at the New York International Auto Show in April. Prices for the American models begin at a considerable $250,000 (£192,000).

Global expansion continues

Twisted Automotive 2020 Expansion Plans

Following on from the North American outpost will be a brand-new Twisted Middle East venture, set to open later in 2020 at a facility in Dubai.

Primarily aimed at appealing to off-road enthusiasts across the United Arab Emirates, Twisted notes that the company has previously sold vehicles to customers in Qatar, the UAE, Oman, and Kuwait.

The Twisted Middle East showroom and service centre will be managed by Matt Duckett, who recently joined the company from Jaguar Land Rover. Duckett’s previous roles included engineering the stunt vehicles used in the forthcoming James Bond film No Time to Die.

Remaking history in Yorkshire

Twisted Automotive 2020 Expansion Plans

Twisted has also finished building the first of a planned limited edition Lightweight Defender, inspired by Land Rovers used by the British Army between 1968 and 1984. 

Painted in Twisted’s own Willow Green, and with a canvas roof, the Lightweight also gains double bumpers and half-height doors. Built from low-mileage stock, the full run of ten examples is scheduled to be completed by summer 2020.

Speaking about the continuing expansion plans, Twisted founder Charles Fawcett  commented that it “illustrates the enduring passion” for the classic Defender, and that the company remains a guardian “of the heritage of this British icon”.

The new Land Rover Defender has gone into production

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

The new Land Rover Defender has entered production at the marque’s Nitra plant in Slovakia. Cars will be reaching UK dealers in the spring, with the five-door 110 model coming first.

Land Rover’s Nitra factory has been a £1.19 billion investment for the company. The new 300,000 square-metre site and its 2,000 employees will be able to produce 150,000 Defenders a year at maximum capacity. That could increase in future, though, as the workforce expands to 2,800. 

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

The plant is cleaner and more efficient than many in the world, too. New autonomous paint processes ensure quality control and reduced use of water with dry lime brush technology. Paint waste can also be reused.

Emission-free adhesive welding is used in the construction of the car, while a new autonomous pallet transport system increases speed by 30 percent. All packaging materials are recycled, and adhesive waste is used to generate energy.

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Land Rover has dragged the Defender into the 21st century. It’s brought over-the-air software updates to JLR, a feature that has since expanded to the rest of its range.

Under the bonnet, the new Defender also features mild-hybrid systems. Independent suspension and a monocoque chassis should make it drive as well on-road as it does off-road.

The new Defender will be able to wade at depths of 900mm, and its short overhangs ensure impressive approach and departure angles.

All new Jaguars and Land Rovers will get over-the-air updates

JLR over-the-air updates

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has announced every new car it sells will have Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA) capability as standard. Drivers will be able to receive software patches and updates wherever they are, without having to return to a dealer.

This means the Touch Pro and Touch Pro Duo infotainment systems that feature in current JLR models will be able to remain up-to-date. The feature was highlighted on the new Land Rover Defender, but will now be available across all Jaguars and Land Rovers.

The idea of over-the-air software updates was popularised by Tesla. Now, the likes of JLR and Porsche are implementing similar tech.

JLR over-the-air updates

“We are passionate about creating and delivering the latest technology to our customers,” said Nick Rogers, director of product engineering at Jaguar Land Rover.

“Building on the connected capability of our new Defender, we have made our pioneering software-over-the-air capability for infotainment updates standard on all our new vehicles.”

Nearly-new cars get free updateJLR over-the-air updates

Most impressive, perhaps, is the fact that newer JLR cars are eligible for a free update. Half a million cars sold since 2016 should be able to receive the complimentary update at a dealer, then become SOTA-capable.

“Of course, we want our existing customers to benefit from the latest connected features as well,” Rogers followed.

“Which is why we are offering them a complimentary upgrade to enable this capability on their vehicles too, together with the latest updates for their infotainment systems.”

Video: new Land Rover Defender spied in Bond movie debut

Land Rover Defender No Time To Die

The new Land Rover Defender will star alongside Daniel Craig in No Time To Die – the latest James Bond blockbuster, coming soon. It will join its great-grandfather, a Land Rover Series III, on the big screen, along with a Range Rover Classic and Range Rover Sport SVR.

Land Rover has released a behind-the-scenes video showing how the Defender took on gruelling tests during the filming of No Time To Die.

“Designing and co-ordinating the action sequences for the Bond franchise requires a non-compromising mindset,” said Lee Morrison, stunt co-ordinator on the film.

“We needed an unstoppable vehicle to help us battle against the elements, steep descents and river crossings, so we chose the new Defender. I’m beyond impressed that the Defender is not only back, but much, much better!”

The Defender 110s, finished in Santorini Black with darkened skid pans, 20-inch black wheels and off-road tyres, were the first to roll out of the new production facility in Nitra, Slovakia.

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Daniel Craig’s Bond has some history with Land Rover. The marque previously prepared the Defender SVX and Range Rover Sport SVR for Spectre. Craig also posed as a valet to hijack a Range Rover in Casino Royale.

We look forward to our first taste of the new Defender soon, but we’ve already sampled some of its highly esteemed ancestors. It’s fair to say they left us shaken and stirred.

Driving 70 years of Defender history

Land Rover Defender: driving 70 years of history

The Isle of Islay, just off the west coast of Scotland, is home to around 3,000 inhabitants. Accessible from the mainland only by ferry or air, it’s an isolated place. Mobile phone signal is barely existent – and if you can get it, your operator will assume you’re abroad and charge you exorbitant rates.

It’s no surprise, then, that Rover managing director Spencer Wilks and his chief engineer brother Maurice liked to escape the West Midlands in favour of their family retreat on the island. Not that getting a mobile phone signal was a concern more than 60 years ago.

Although the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales is often considered the birthplace of the Land Rover (it’s where Maurice drew an initial sketch of the car into the sand), Islay is where it really developed as an idea.

So, we headed out to Islay to discover the island that inspired an iconic vehicle – and drive a line-up of the Defender’s predecessors.

Series I

Land Rover Defender: driving 70 years of history

The Series I, or simply the Land Rover as it was known back then, was introduced in 1948.

The example we’ve driven is owned by the Dunsfold Collection. Apparently it’s manager Phil Bashall’s pride and joy, and that’s evident from its simply immaculate condition.

The car is a 1954 Series I 107-inch pick-up – the equivalent of the last13 Defender 110 truck cab. There’s little evidence that it’s more than 60 years old, but there are little quirks that set it apart from the Defender that would come decades later.

The wipers, for example, are manually operated. An interesting concept on a wet Scottish island. And the speedo is set in the middle and bobs around telling you vaguely how fast you’re daring to go – with VMax from its 53hp 2.0-litre petrol engine somewhere around 50mph.

‘Charming’ is the word.

Series II

Land Rover Defender: driving 70 years of history

Technically, this isn’t a Series II, but a Series IIA. Cosmetically there’s little difference to the II, but at this point a 2.25-litre diesel engine was introduced to the Land Rover for the first time.

The Series IIA on Islay is a 2.25-litre petrol, however. The first vehicle we drive after landing on the island, it’s a quick lesson in driving older cars. With no synchromesh on lower gears, it requires double de-clutching. Combine that with brakes lacking in servo assistance, and we soon discover how difficult it is to slow down an old Land Rover while heading downhill into a twee Islay village.

The steering doesn’t help the experience, either. Driving in a straight line is tricky – something we put down to an ‘old Land Rover’ thing, but actually turned out to be a dodgy steering box.

Still, despite these issues, it’s hard to deny the Series IIA is a lovely vehicle in which to potter around a Scottish island. Made in 1965, it looks like something out of Heartbeat, while its 2.25-litre petrol engine provides adequate power for Islay’s minor roads.

Series III

Land Rover Defender: driving 70 years of history

This isn’t our first encounter with MJP 936W – a 1980 109-inch Series III. We first got to drive it around Land Rover’s off-road course in Solihull during a visit to the last Defender production line.

It’s as terrifying as I remember, with the turning circle of a bus and ancient drum brakes. But it’s also brilliant fun. By now I’m starting to get used to dropping down through the gears rather than relying on the brakes – a technique few of us use in our everyday driving.

It’s got the same 2.25-litre petrol engine as the Series IIA, but with a load of extra mass. It’s certainly more suitable for pootling around than getting anywhere in a hurry.

90 40th Anniversary

Land Rover Defender: driving 70 years of history

The launch of the 90 and 110 in 1983 represented a turning point for Land Rover that some hardcore enthusiasts still struggle to accept. It’s when Land Rover made the switch to coil spring suspension, instead of leaf springs.

Driving this Land Rover 90, it’s hard to argue that leaf springs are better in any way. Not only do the coil springs provide a more comfortable ride, they also give more axle articulation when off-road.

But that’s enough about suspension – what makes this 90 so special? Well, it was produced to celebrate 40 years of Land Rover production in 1988. The plan was to launch a limited run of 40 special editions, all bearing the number ‘40’ on the number plate. However, with the 1980s being a turbulent time for car production in the UK, strike action led to the project being cancelled.

Just two were built. This one was finished in traditional Land Rover Bronze Green paint, with even the wheelarches colour-coded. It was equipped with a khaki soft-top, providing a nod to soft-top models of earlier Land Rovers.

Driving it around Islay, there’s just something about it that feels so right. Possibly the perfect compromise between old and new, it’s easy to drive, but still feels like you’re driving a classic vehicle.

110 V8 County Station Wagon

Land Rover Defender: driving 70 years of history

The 110 County Station Wagon represents a shift away from farmers’ workhorses to recreational family vehicles. With more comfortable seats than the regular 110, as well as a number of improvements over the years (from exterior stickers to a radio-cassette player), the CSW made the 110 genuinely desirable for the first time.

Powered by a 3.5-litre Rover V8, you’d expect the 110 CSW we drove on Islay to be pretty rapid. But with just 134hp and a weight nudging two tonnes, it’d struggle to keep up with a newer Transit-engined Defender (and certainly not the new Defender). Still, if you do boot it (and try not to think about the fuel bills if you do), it does at least sound good.

The extra length of the 110 compared to the 90 can also make things tricky off-road – while negotiating a narrow, rocky descent onto a beach, for example, the shorter vehicles were much happier to lift a wheel and get on with it.

Defender 90 Heritage Edition

Land Rover Defender: driving 70 years of history

Launched as a final send-off for the Defender, our first impressions of the Heritage edition are that it looks stunning in its Grasmere Green paintwork.

After driving its predecessors, it even feels modern. And that’s not something we’d expect to write about a Defender.

The 2.2-litre TDCI diesel is quite vocal, but it does have a degree of performance to go with it. By that we mean it’ll keep up with normal traffic, just.

It’s still definitely a Defender, though. The whole experience is a bit Marmite. However, if you’re of the Defender mindset, you’ll love it. We suspect the all-new car will be less of a departure from ‘normal’ cars.

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

Original 1948 motor show Land Rover brought back to life

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

The car that introduced Land Rover to the world has been brought back to life. The 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show star has been off the road since the 1960s and lost for decades before it was found in 2016. But Land Rover has now treated this historic vehicle to a ‘sympathetic restoration’.

Land Rover was determined to keep the car original, as seen in 1948, with left-hand drive, a prototype brake setup and alternative all-wheel-drive controls.

It was stripped back to its individual components and each part was restored and reused if possible, to maintain maximum originality.

Restoring a classic Land Rover

Series 1 1948 restoration

“It was important to strike the right balance when restoring the launch Land Rover,” said Calum McKechnie, head of Land Rover Classic.

“While there was a need to replace some parts, we were keen to keep as much of the original vehicle as possible in order to retain the unique characteristics of this 70-year-old model. The team has done an incredible job and the end result is a testament to the unique expertise and tireless passion of the experts at our Classic Works facility.”

So while the front axle, for example, was found to be in a respectable condition, the rear axle wasn’t so clean. To get a feel for the axle’s condition on the inside, the team X-rayed it. They concluded it was strong enough to be restored and reinstalled, rather than replaced.

Series 1 1948 restoration

The ‘organ stop’ controls for the all-wheel-drive system were also saved. It’s a rare setup that was replaced with a simpler system on production cars. 

Even more difficult for the technicians was reproducing this prototype’s unique rear brake setup. It had been removed in a previous life, so they used period drawings to recreate it.

On a technical level, this Series 1 has been brought back to its 1948 Motor Show standard. As a ‘show car’, however, it’s been left a little more rough around the edges. Land Rover wanted to maintain a period patina.

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

Some new bodywork was required. Alloy panels, as fitted to early prototype Series 1s, were re-manufactured in the 2mm-thick original specification. These were then painted and aged, to match the worn original panels that didn’t need work.

Technical illustrations helped Land Rover stay true to other quirks. A combination of reference photographs, diagrams and study of other pre-production Series 1s helped the marque recreate this prototype as it was in 1948. 

The restored show car debuted on the Land Rover Classic stand at the Goodwood Revival, just days after the long-awaited reveal of the new Defender.

Land Rover Classic 1948 restoration

“Bringing this historically important Land Rover back to life was a huge challenge, given its wear, tear and decay from the elements since the 1960s, but also a real pleasure,” said Michael Bishop, Land Rover Classic build engineer.

“Being able to open up our archive and revisit the original Land Rover engineering programme from over 70 years ago was a great privilege for the whole team.”

You can now buy a new Land Rover Defender LEGO kit

Lego Land Rover Defender

Worried about how you’ll find £45,000 for a new Land Rover Defender? Fear not, there is a cheaper way. Meet the Lego Technic Defender.

The new Lego kit was developed in collaboration with Land Rover for immediate release after the car’s debut. Consisting of 2,573 pieces, there’s no pre-ordering and picking this one up from the dealership. You’ve got to build it yourself. 

The model features replica body panels and wheels from the real thing, as well as four-wheel drive and three differentials. The Defender’s independent suspension, which disappointed some hardcore off-road enthusiasts, is also recreated here. There’s even a working winch.

Lego Land Rover Defender

“I’m very excited about this new model – a truly impressive job done by our Lego Group designers,” said Niels Henrik Horsted, marketing director at Lego.

“Together with Land Rover, we’ve blended elements, design and innovative engineering into a set that shows the boundless creativity of Lego play, and that with Lego Technic you can build for real.”

Lego Land Rover Defender

The Lego Defender joins a rapidly growing stable of Lego vehicles, including the Bugatti Chiron, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, McLaren Senna and Porsche 919.

In case you were completely shut away from society yesterday, click here to learn everything you need to know about the new Land Rover Defender. 

Lego Land Rover DefenderThe Above and Beyond collection

If you fancy some Defender merchandise, but Lego is a bit childish for you, there’s also a new clothing collection. It’s a collaboration between Land Rover and Musto, a manufacturer of technical sportswear.

A series of jackets, gloves and other bits of adventure clothing are available, as well as some gadgets. All useful for when you’re off adventuring in your Defender.

Frankfurt Off Road Future

Opinion: New Defender is perfect for now, but Audi has seen the future

Frankfurt Off Road FutureAfter months of speculation, leaks and teaser photos, the new 2020 Land Rover Defender is finally here.

And judging by the reaction at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, the second-generation icon is already a major hit. 

However, there’s another vehicle on show in Frankfurt that reveals how off-road driving may look further into the future

Days of future past

Frankfurt Off Road FutureLand Rover has been under immense pressure to deliver with the new Defender. It needed something built on shared components, rather than the labour-intensive bespoke platform of the previous version.

It also needed keep Defender purists happy, if possible. Yet, to make the project commercially viable, the Defender had to appeal to a wide array of customers. 

In a world where buyers clamour for luxury SUVs, building another no-compromise utility vehicle would have been commercial suicide.

Frankfurt Off Road FutureThe result is a new Defender that needs to be all things to all people. The wealth of options available from the off shows that Land Rover wants buyers to customise their cars. A £45,000 starting price is just the beginning… 

Not even the 2020 Defender can escape the lure of chequer plate trim, which covers the surface of countless original versions. Deep down in the options list is a £312 kit that adds the same effect, albeit in plastic, to your new Defender. 

It is a neat reminder that this is a modern reinterpretation of a classic off-roader. While packed with technology, and likely to be deeply impressive in the rough stuff, it is still a traditional 4×4 at heart.  

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads

Frankfurt Off Road FutureIf the new Defender is a modern 4×4 for now, Audi has very different vision of the future

Although very much a concept, the radical AI:Trail Quattro envisages automated driving technology being used in a world without paved roads.

Forest trails and dirt tracks do without the neat painted lines and consistent surfaces that self-driving vehicles rely upon. As such, Audi admits the driver will need to intervene when the going gets tough. 

However, the AI:Trail’s automated systems let the driver know when they are near the limits of the vehicle, and help avoid collisions using ultrasound and radar.

Frankfurt Off Road FutureEach wheel in the AI:Trail is driven by an individual electric motor. This allows up to 737lb ft of torque to be sent to the tyre with most grip, but without the need for transfer cases and differentials. 

The lithium-ion battery pack offers up to 310 miles of range on tarmac, but this halves to around 155 miles in the dirt. Range anxiety could quickly become ‘range fear‘ in the middle of nowhere.

A substantial glass cabin, inspired by the cockpit of a helicopter, is likely to require serious climate control to keep the occupants from cooking, too. 

Flights of fancy

Frankfurt Off Road FutureAudi has even dispensed with traditional headlights for the AI:Trail. Instead, an autonomous collection of five drones fly ahead, illuminating the ground with LED searchlights. 

These dock with the roof rack to recharge automatically, and can even be used to project navigation guidance, or help illuminate a campsite. 

Clearly, unlike the new Defender, the AI:Trail is not something to be bothering your local dealership about. At least not yet.

Frankfurt Off Road FutureThe new Defender looks set to be a major hit for Land Rover, even with its hefty price tag. It should be capable enough to keep the traditional fans happy, yet still appeal to urban warriors. 

However, there is the question of whether Land Rover could, and should, be looking further into the future. Vehicles like the AI:Trail, while fanciful in some ways, show that Audi is considering how off-roading could work in a world of electrification and autonomous tech.

Land Rover has the Defender for the current age sorted. But what will the Defender for the next generation look like?

New Land Rover Defender revealed: the headline facts

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

This is the first-ever all-new version of the original Land Rover, first launched back in 1948. We have waited years for it, and the Frankfurt Motor Show marks its international debut. Land Rover describes it as an icon reinvented for the 21st century. Here are the crucial facts you need to know.

Launched as a 110

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

There will be an entire family of new Defenders, but it debuts in a five-door 110 guise. The short-wheelbase 90 will follow a little later, with two commercial Defender vans due in 2020.

Instantly recognisable

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

It looks, well, like a Land Rover Defender. It has short overhangs, an upright stance, a side-hinged tailgate, an externally-mounted spare wheel and even Alpine light windows in the roof.

Satin finish

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

A key option from launch is Satin Protective Film. This is a ‘sustainable, solvent-free and completely recyclable wrap’ that guards against both off-road and on-road scrapes. It’s a factory-fit option for those choosing Indus Silver, Gondwana Stone and Panega Green paint colours.

Packed with accessories

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

No Land Rover has ever had such a wide range of accessories as the new Defender. These include a rooftop tent, inflatable waterproof awnings, a remote control electric winch – plus more commonplace add-ons such as tow bars and roof racks.

Diesel is still here

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

With two commercial versions set to come, the new Defender still has the potential to work for a living. Engine options reflect this, including two four-cylinder diesels, offered in 200hp and 240hp outputs. A four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 300hp, plus a range-topping 3.0-litre inline-six with an impressive 400hp complete the launch range.

Electrified performance

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

The name might be old, but the drivetrain technology underneath the new Defender is totally modern. On the 3.0-litre petrol engine there is even a mild-hybrid system, which includes an electric eSupercharger. This uses power stored in a lithium-ion battery pack to reduce the level of turbo lag below 2,000 rpm. A full plug-in hybrid will join the range next year.

Defender for the world

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Land Rover will sell the new Defender in 128 countries across the world, making it a truly global new car. It is to be built alongside the Discovery at the firm’s Slovakian factory in Nitra.

Defender for a New Age

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern says the new Defender is respectful of its past, but not harnessed by it. “This is a Defender for a New Age. Its unique personality is accentuated by its distinctive silhouette and optimum proportions, which make it both highly desirable and seriously capable.”

Structure exposed

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Inside, the Defender intentionally has a stripped-back feel, with Land Rover exposing structural elements normally hidden behind trim. The emphasis, it says, is on simplicity and practicality.

Lots of seats

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Mounting the gear lever on the dashboard has cleared space for an optional front-centre ‘jump seat’. With three-abreast seating, the Defender offers five, six or 5+2 seating. The 90 will have this jump seat option as well, to ‘accommodate six occupants in a vehicle the length of a compact family hatchback’.

Rubber floor

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Like the original Land Rover, you’ll theoretically be able to hose out your new Defender (if you’re brave), thanks to rubberised flooring. It’s just one of many practicality-focused details of the new Land Rover.

95 percent new

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

The Land Rover Defender is based on an aluminium monocoque architecture called D7x. The ‘x’ stands for extreme. It is 95 percent new compared with the Land Rover Discovery, and is the firm’s stiffest-ever body structure. Remarkably, it is three times stiffer than a traditional body-on-frame design.

Testing, testing

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Apparently, more than 62,000 individual tests have been conducted on the new Defender ahead of sign-off. Land Rover is particularly proud of its Extreme Event Test, which repeats immense, sustained impacts ‘above and beyond the normal standard for SUV and passenger cars’.

Wading ability

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Land Rover has endless figures explaining how good the Defender is off-road. We particularly like the fact it can wade through 900mm of water (that’s over 35 inches). It can also tell you if it’s safe to drive into such daunting depths thanks to a new Wade setting in the Terrain Response 2 system.

The best 4x4xfar

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

The new Defender ‘redefines breadth of capability, raising the threshold for both off-road ruggedness and on-road comfort,’ says Land Rover. ‘It can negotiate crowded city streets as effortlessly as climbing mountains, crossing deserts and withstanding freezing temperatures.’

System updates from the cloud

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

With a vast array of electronic components controlling the new Defender, Land Rover has included the potential for over-the-air software updates. The 14 onboard control modules can be improved without the need to visit a dealership. Land Rover even suggests that a satellite phone connection could be used in remote areas to receive data for updates.

Keep everything charged up

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Proving that the Defender has certainly evolved with the times, a total of five 12-volt charging sockets can be found throughout the interior. Potentially perfect for powering camping and lifestyle accessories. In addition, up to five USB charging ports are also included, dependent on seating capacity. It might make you think twice about hosing out that rubber floor, though,

Even the key is ready for activities

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

Land Rover will offer the second-generation of the Activity Key for the new Defender as an option. This allows the driver to lock and open the Defender using a device similar to a smart watch. Being shock-proof and water resistant lets owners engage in a range of lifestyle activities without the need to carry around a traditional key fob.

Ready to order right now

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

If you are excited by the new 2020 Defender, Land Rover is already accepting orders for the 110 version right now. There is also an online configurator ready to help you plan your dream 4×4. The short-wheelbase 90 will be available to order from the middle of 2020, whilst the release of the commercial variants will be detailed nearer the time.

Land Rover Defender UK prices

New 2020 Land Rover Defender

The Defender 110 costs from £45,240 for the D200 diesel, up to £78,800 for the range-topping P400 petrol. Defender 90 and Commercial prices will be announced nearer their respective launch dates, but expect to pay from £40,000 for the 90 and £35,000 (plus VAT) for the van.

2020 Land Rover Defender: in pictures

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