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Jamie_grieve

Thoughts and musings on the new defender

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Still not reached the magic 100!

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Ooops.... we have now!

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3 hours ago, steve b said:

 ...

I see a lot more modern hatchbacks upside down in fields and ditches around here than anything else.......

Steve b

I thought that's how they are supposed to be parked?

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6 hours ago, Snagger said:

If you want sports car handling, buy a sports car!  Honestly, some people really want to have their cake an eat it.  Yesterday, you can start making vehicles that will behave well in both regimes, but then you have to compromise on complexity, which means enormous price, maintenance and reliability issues.  Any car is a handful if you drive foolishly.  But no standard and well maintained Series, Defender Discovery 1 or 2, RRC or P38 has significant handling difficulties.  They are benign and easy to drive if you don’t have an excess of speed, no different from any other vehicle.

Well said.  This is what really annoys me about the new Defender.  If they had made it more of a truck, made it look more like a truck and deliberately hobbled the top speed (85 m.p.h. would have been heaps), there would be none of this business of trying to make a car capable of fast laps on a race track.  That way, there'd be fewer compromises and we would have had a more defined vehicle in the range which could have been the Defender everyone wanted, at a competitive price too.

As for the handling of beam-axled Land Rovers, my long impression is that Series vehicles are easier to hustle along at speed (on the rare ones with working brakes).  I put that down to four things: lower centre of gravity; generally stiffer and less floaty suspension; no horribly intrusive steering damper (on most); and the lack of a Panhard rod.  The slight left-right waltz as the suspension rises and sinks is something you can get used to and subconsciously anticipate but a journalist or other newcomer hopping in and punting it up the road at speed could be a bit unnerved, which might explain the reputation a bit.   Either way, all that rubber means you can have fun at speed on a winding road and I love mine.

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That's just it though, you have to drive it, not it drive you. Just the same with all the turbonutter sports executive type things. If the electronic aids were removed, they would also be found to be somewhat "unnerving" to drive at speed.  

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1 hour ago, reb78 said:

Ooops.... we have now!

 

The Century!

Seconds away round 2!

🤓

 

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21 hours ago, Ozzy50 said:

I take issue with “never before has a Defender felt so composed at speed “

Why? Just because a well maintained Defender can be good at speed doesn't mean the new one isn't better. 

All recent Land Rovers are in another class to the old Defender at speed - but they should be, they are far more road biased and they're expensive luxury cars not workhorses.

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9 hours ago, geoffbeaumont said:

Why? Just because a well maintained Defender can be good at speed doesn't mean the new one isn't better. 

All recent Land Rovers are in another class to the old Defender at speed - but they should be, they are far more road biased and they're expensive luxury cars not workhorses.

Because it infers that the “old” Defender is a bad handling piece of carp , which it is not . I’m not saying the new one isn’t better on the road , at £40k it should be !

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3 hours ago, Ozzy50 said:

Because it infers that the “old” Defender is a bad handling piece of carp , which it is not . I’m not saying the new one isn’t better on the road , at £40k it should be !

I mean it is.. terrible at handling 🤣

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4 hours ago, Ozzy50 said:

Because it infers that the “old” Defender is a bad handling piece of carp , which it is not . I’m not saying the new one isn’t better on the road , at £40k it should be !

£40k?? You're missing an extra £30k for a relatively low-specced 110!

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Defender heroes: the people behind Land Rover's definitive 4x4: https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/features/defender-heroes-people-behind-land-rovers-definitive-4x4

"...

Rob Atkins - chief engineer, vehicle engineering
“I was involved with the Defender programme from the early stages,” says Atkins. “My job was to pull the architecture, which is to say the main components of the vehicle, all together. My team and I work on all of our SUV models: the Defender was just one of them, though of course it’s a very important one. Basically, I just know lots of people across the business and my job is to suck their expertise out of them – whatever the project needs.”
 
Atkins says one important reason for the Defender’s success is that it isn’t a caricature of the original car, or of the outgoing model, but it has been created from a genuine attempt to make a vehicle for today, and looking several decades forward, that is modern in every key aspect but carries the same iconic values as the 1948 original.
 
“There was no way the new Defender could ever be a rebadged version of one of our other SUVs,” he says. “Nick Rogers was really good at holding us to account over that. He was adamant that it had to be authentic. In any case, [design chief] Gerry McGovern and his design team had come up with a great concept for a modern machine, and we knew we needed to do justice to that.”
 
Many of the biggest Defender decisions aren’t obvious, says Atkins, such as the use of a monocoque structure instead of a traditional body-on-frame set-up, and the very advanced electronic architecture. He and his team were heavily involved in all of that. But he’s proud of two particular decisions: the use of bigger tyres to raise the Defender’s driving position and improve its off-road traction; and some special packaging measures needed to make the Defender’s boot space as wide and uncluttered as it is, in comparison with more conventional SUVs.
 
The decision about the big wheels came early, says Atkins: “Even before we had a fully engineered mule, we did some testing after we fitted bigger tyres to a Range Rover Sport and it was very promising. Then we went to Dubai, where sand driving is the national sport, and were simply blown away by the performance of our Defender mule, even when we were using road tyre pressures. We knew the design was strong, but big wheels gave the vehicle extra height and presence, and a lot more grip. That was a very important moment.”

 
Mike Cross - chief engineer, vehicle integrity
Mike Cross isn’t a big talker. He prefers to demonstrate what he does – which is to bring “Land Roverness” to every model, then signing it off when he’s sure it has arrived – by getting you to drive the product, or deploying his own legendary driving skills. Which is why we were circulating the Gaydon test track at 90mph-plus as he explained his role with the Defender.
 
“I wanted it to drive the way it looks,” he says, “to feel a bit… mechanical. It needed to be fun to drive, with the right kind of precision and so on, but in an idiosyncratic sort of way. This wasn’t a sports car.”
 
That’s why the Defender has more body roll than many of the cars Cross has been involved with: an off-roader is expected to be pretty compliant over bumps. He looks pleased when I take the wheel for a bit and observe that the car feels pleasantly supple over bumps large and small, but despite its softish, all-independent air suspension, there’s absolutely no body float, even at high speed. (We touch 120mph.) The steering is pleasant and accurate, too. Not sporty, just capable. “It’s supposed to feel very connected to the road,” he says.
 
Cross and his team were involved at the two critical times for Defender: at the most formative stage, and in the last 15 months, when mules were being assessed. “In the first instance, my team works with the engineers to produce a statement of intent for the car and we guide the car’s development, from a dynamic point of view, as it progresses,” he says. “Then when mules become available, we start driving them. Our job is to make certain the car meets the values that we laid down and that buyers will expect from a Land Rover. That means noise, vibration, harshness [assessment] as well as steering quality and effort, brake feel, ride and handling.”
 
On a high-speed departure from the test track, we attack a couple of evil-looking concrete jumps, one after the other, at 90mph. The car gets airborne each time but tracks dead straight when it lands and feels like it’s alighting on a huge, firm cushion. There’s no sign of bottoming and Cross allows himself a faint smile. “I think this is one of the best vehicles we’ve done,” he says."

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New Land Rover Defender P400 2020 review: https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/land-rover/defender/352281/new-land-rover-defender-p400-2020-review

"Verdict

Petrol or diesel? Difficult decision. On this short experience of the new P400 with its mild-hybrid tech, it ups the fun level even further – and the diesel is already very enjoyable. Most people will be tempted by the extra economy and lower prices of the diesel models, especially given the huge cost of the P400 Defender X. They’d be making the right decision, although this car shows the promise that an even hotter Defender might just offer in the future. ...

Our first drive of the long-awaited new Land Rover Defender didn’t disappoint – it resulted in a full five- star rating. What surprised us most was how much fun the car was to drive – and that was the diesel-engined model. So how does the Defender do with petrol power under its square bonnet?

Until Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division gets their hands on the Defender, this P400 model is as fast as the new car will get. It’s also as electrified as the Defender gets, too, at least until plug-in hybrid versions eventually arrive. This all-new six-cylinder petrol engine gets mild-hybrid tech to boost response, power and efficiency – slightly.

With a 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbo, plus a 48-volt electric supercharger with a belt-integrated starter motor in place of the alternator, power tops out at 395bhp with a tasty 550Nm of torque. That equates to a 0-60mph time of 6.1 seconds.

The on-board 48-volt lithium-ion battery feeds the whole electrical system and gets topped up as the car slows down, while also helping to reduce fuel consumption; the P400’s best claimed average of 25.2mpg isn’t too far off the diesel’s 31.7mpg. 

It’s more fun to drive, too. The throttle response is noticeably sharper – helped by the mild-hybrid system – which makes the Land Rover feel even more lively, while acceleration is accompanied by a tuneful note from the six-cylinder engine.

There are no gearchange paddles behind the steering wheel – a deliberate decision by the engineering team that didn’t feel it was in keeping with the Defender spirit. However, the stubby gearlever can be used to manually shift through the ZF auto box’s eight ratios. Left to its own devices, changes are barely noticeable save for the slight shift in tone of the engine note.

The tighter responses of the petrol engine make the Defender feel even more alert on the road. The monocoque body is incredibly stiff, enabling engineers to tune the car-like double-wishbone front and integral link rear suspension for a rare combination – for such a 4x4 – of off and on-road ability.

Air suspension is standard, as are Adaptive Dynamics, which combine to not only raise the car for extreme off-roading and lower it for easier access, but also react super-swiftly when driving on tarmac.

That means that this near two-metre-tall SUV handles more like a car than a 4x4; it stays largely flat and unflustered when cornering. The ride is pretty much unchanged from the diesel version – communicative rather than uncomfortable – while levels of grip are impressively high. The steering is surprisingly reactive; again, unusual for a 4x4.

The only other downside to the P400 model is that, currently at least, it’s only available as a top-spec Defender X, although the car in our pictures is in SE trim. It has pretty much every option box ticked and all for a sizeable £79,655. That’s nearly £35,000 more than the Defender 110’s starting price and only a few thousand less than the cheapest Range Rover."

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It seems from the interview that they’re all drinking the Kool-Aid.  All hail McGovern...😒

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We're not worthy, we're not worthy

Mo

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The biggest thing we did was use larger wheels.  We did some testing and they were better off road.  Good thing they have seasoned off road experts at the helm...

  • Haha 2

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7 hours ago, Red90 said:

The biggest thing we did was use larger wheels.  We did some testing and they were better off road.  Good thing they have seasoned off road experts at the helm...

You're so right.

You have to wonder what they are drinking.  Those tyres are the same diameter as the ones they used on 110s and long wheel base Series vehicles since before most of that bunch were born - and actually smaller than the 8.25 or 9.00x16s they put on One Tonners and 2a and 2b forward controls!

They missed a trick here.  The car could have come standard with actual big wheels, at least 33 inchers.  Not so good on a racetrack, admittedly, but racing slicks aren't that good in a muddy field.  I think the latter scenario would have been a better target...

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11 hours ago, deep said:

You're so right.

You have to wonder what they are drinking.  Those tyres are the same diameter as the ones they used on 110s and long wheel base Series vehicles since before most of that bunch were born - and actually smaller than the 8.25 or 9.00x16s they put on One Tonners and 2a and 2b forward controls!

They missed a trick here.  The car could have come standard with actual big wheels, at least 33 inchers.  Not so good on a racetrack, admittedly, but racing slicks aren't that good in a muddy field.  I think the latter scenario would have been a better target...

Again, missing the point of the Pretender.  It’s a road car for the image conscious, that uses over complex electronics to get past poor mechanical design for off-road use.  Pretender is an apt name - it suits the car, given its pretence at being a serious over lander or works vehicle, and suits the majority of owners, who will never take it further off road than the school's unpaved car park.

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14 hours ago, Snagger said:

Again, missing the point of the Pretender.  It’s a road car for the image conscious, that uses over complex electronics to get past poor mechanical design for off-road use.  Pretender is an apt name - it suits the car, given its pretence at being a serious over lander or works vehicle, and suits the majority of owners, who will never take it further off road than the school's unpaved car park.

I think this misses the point too.  As I noted above, the whole reason this car exists is to have something with demonstrable off road ability that they can hang their whole image on.  No more, no less.  

The comment about the tyre size is in response to the post before it, pointing out how far removed current designers are from their own history by bleating on about how their 32 inch tyres are the biggest they've ever fitted.

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8 hours ago, deep said:

I think this misses the point too.  As I noted above, the whole reason this car exists is to have something with demonstrable off road ability that they can hang their whole image on.  No more, no less.  

The comment about the tyre size is in response to the post before it, pointing out how far removed current designers are from their own history by bleating on about how their 32 inch tyres are the biggest they've ever fitted.

I don’t think so.  They have made it capable off road for the reason you mentioned, but they haven’t made it reliable off road because it won’t venture far or often.  It relies entirely on electronics to achieve what could have been done more cheaply and reliably with bigger tyre diameters and live beam axles with long travel suspension, but the emphasis was entirely on road manners.  Instead of compromising road handling for off road ability, or vice versa, they compromised on cost, reliability, dependability, and so will not sell the vehicle as a real working vehicle.  But they don’t seem to want any kind of blue-collar appeal anyway.

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12 hours ago, deep said:

I think this misses the point too.  As I noted above, the whole reason this car exists is to have something with demonstrable off road ability that they can hang their whole image on.  No more, no less.  

 

But it does nothing a D3/4/5, RRS or even FFRR does in this regard. It is even built on the same platform as some of the others.

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56 minutes ago, Chicken Drumstick said:

But it does nothing a D3/4/5, RRS or even FFRR does in this regard. It is even built on the same platform as some of the others.

That's not the point - it has a more "serious offroader" image than any of those, and that's important for the branding of the whole range. Actual ability is not particularly relevant, beyond not being so laughable they can't sustain the branding, it's all about how the vehicle is perceived.

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26 minutes ago, geoffbeaumont said:

That's not the point - it has a more "serious offroader" image than any of those, and that's important for the branding of the whole range.

But does it? A real Defender sure, but not this plastic fantastic, fake chequer plate machine. The Defender had the image bcause:

1. It was a rugged utilitarian vehicle

2. Simple construction

3. Live axles

4. Coil suspension

5. Native design that was good for off roading

 

The new Pretender has none of this and is only a name. I suspect it's image will be very mixed, but it will never been seen as a roughty toughty off roader. Because it simple isn't.

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Oh it will be seen as a roughty roughty offroader by those suburban and city types with money who wouldn't know a real roughty toughty offroader if they saw one.

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1 hour ago, geoffbeaumont said:

.... it has a more "serious offroader" image than any of those....

What gives it a serious offroader image?  Grab a bunch of random "normal" people off of the street.  Show them a picture of this thing.  I seriously doubt any of them will udder the words serious offroader.

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1 hour ago, Red90 said:

What gives it a serious offroader image? 

Just the name. Its just playing on the name, nothing else, because it shares nothing else with the original other than the name.

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