Land Rover Defender 90 and commercial hit showrooms along with 398bhp plug-in hybrid

Land Rover has announced a series of updates for its recently released Defender, including the addition of a plug-in hybrid model along with new six-cylinder engines and additional trim and equipment levels.

The 2021 model year also marks the delayed launch of the short-wheelbase 90 variant as well as the arrival of the Hard Top commercial version of the 4x4.

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The biggest changes for the Defender, which was only launched earlier this year, are in the engine bay.

A new plug-in hybrid petrol drivetrain joins the range, badged as the P400. The system uses a four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine along with a 105kW electric motor to offer a total of 398bhp. The drivetrain, exclusive to the 110 variant, gives the Defender CO2 emissions of 74g/km and WLTP fuel economy of 85.3mpg while being capable of accelerating to 60mph in just 5.4 seconds. A 19.2kWh battery will provide electric-only driving range of up to 27 miles.

Land Rover says that the system’s instantly available and “substantial” torque makes the hybrid Defender even more capable in off-road conditions.

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Along with the plug-in hybrid, a mild hybrid diesel system has been added to the Defender line-up. Replacing the existing four-cylinder Ingenium diesels, the six-cylinder MHEV engine comes in 198bhp, 247bhp and 296bhp tunes. Torque ranges from 367lb ft in the entry-level D200 to 479lb ft for the range topping D300.

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All six-cylinder diesels also now come with intelligent four-wheel drive which diverts torque between axles depending on the driving conditions. Up to 100 per cent of torque can be sent to either axle, meaning for the first time the Defender can operate in two-wheel-drive mode.

The changes are designed to improve the Defender’s efficiency and emissions performance, with fuel economy of up to 32.2mpg and emissions of 230g/km.

A new X-Dynamic trim line aims to bring some of the presence of the ultra-tough X model, featuring satin finishes to the skid pans, grille and alloys along with dark body cladding, metal treadplates and hard-wearing “Robustec” upholstery inspired, apparently, by workmen’s gloves and biker jackets.

There are also new equipment options, including a third row of seats and folding fabric sunroof for the 110, a head-up display, Meridian sound system and four new exterior colours.

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Alongside the 110, the short wheelbase 90 is now available to buy, offered with the D200, D250 and D300 mild hybrid diesels, along with 296bhp and 398bhp mild hybrid petrol options.

At the same time, the commercial Defender Hard Top has gone on sale. Available in 90 or 110 body style, the Hard Top offers the same off-road performance as the passenger car but with a towing capacity of 3,500kg, a 2,059-litre load area (1,355 for the 90) and a payload of up to 800kg. Priced from £35,820 before VAT, the Hard Top is only available with the diesel engines. Entry level 90s get the 198bhp D200 while the 110 is offered in D250 or D300 guise.