Based on a cast-iron block, the engine features an alloy, 16-valve cylinder head with Denso common rail fuel injection. Not only is combustion noise dramatically reduced, thanks to the excellent control provided by the engine’s solenoid-driven fuel injectors, but a new Garrett variable geometry turbocharger also helps ensure throttle response is improved over the outgoing engine. The engine’s lubrication and sealing systems have been specially developed to cope with Defender’s onerous range of operating angles.
The new GFT MT 82 six-speed gearbox provides a much wider ratio spread than before; the lower first gear offers a reduction in crawl speed and combines with the engine’s increased torque output to make towing on-road and off-road even easier. The increased engine torque also helps in-gear acceleration, and has allowed the new sixth gear to be set 20 per cent higher than the outgoing model’s top gear. This helps to improve real-world cruising refinement and fuel economy. Ground gears in both the gearbox and new transfer box help boost refinement, while reductions in clutch and gear-change loads make day-to-day living with Defender significantly easier.
Individual pedal maps specifically matched to the demands of each gear are designed to ensure throttle progression and control is better than ever before; in addition, improved anti-stall characteristics further extend the vehicle’s renowned ability to tackle the toughest terrain.
Changes to the vehicle exterior have been kept to a minimum, with a revised bonnet profile the only clue to the new Defender’s increased capability.
As Dave Saddington, Defender chief designer points out, “Defender’s timeless exterior has become synonymous with functional design. Every line and surface seems to be linked to the vehicle’s extraordinary capability, so we deliberately changed very little.
“But the interior’s a different story. We wanted to change the heating system and instruments, as well as improve ergonomics, all of which gave us the opportunity to introduce an all-new facia. In doing so, we’ve worked hard to reflect Defender’s unique purpose and versatility inside the vehicle too. The new facia is better integrated, more robust and functionally superior to the old unit, whilst still entirely in keeping with Defender’s character.”
Improved Comfort And Ergonomics
Defender’s new facia is based on a single, large moulding supported on a robust steel rail to help eliminate squeaks and rattles. Instruments from Land Rover’s Discovery 3 provide clear, concise information to the driver, and details like all-LED instrument illumination help ensure high standards of reliability. Improvements to ergonomics abound - for example, a new passenger-side grab handle provides robust, two-handed support during extreme off-road driving. The process of modernising Defender’s facia hasn’t sacrificed its usability either, with versatile stowage shelves conveniently located for both the driver and passenger. Two console options are available: a practical open-tray design that keeps contents to hand and a large, lidded design that provides an impressive 14-litres of stowage.
In-car entertainment systems have been upgraded to take advantage of Defender’s improved refinement. For the first time, high-mounted tweeters are available in Defender and work in conjunction with the new speaker installation for significantly improved clarity and sound reproduction. An auxiliary/MP3 audio input socket is also available.