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Upcoming Rover Vehicle Rumors Run Rampant

  • Greg Fitzgerald
  • May 29, 2020

 

Mules of various upcoming Land Rover products are running around the English Midlands, suggesting all sorts of new and exciting things are on their way from Land Rover across all three of their "product families."

First off, there's rumors swirling about that there's a V8-powered Defender on the way. Mules with a different muffler and four downpipes have been spotted, which makes sense for a V8. If the Defender gets a V8, it's almost certain to be BMW's twin-turbo N63 V8, which features currently in BMW's 5 Series, 7 Series, 8 Series, X5, and X7. JLR intends to phase out its stalwart AJ-V8 motor at the end of 2020, and BMW V8s will replace it in high-performance models while the Ingenium straight-six replaces the AJ-V6. It's also possible that this Defender could be a high-performance SVR model using a variant of the BMW Motorsport S63 motor, which is used in the M5, M8, X5M, and X6M.

There's also the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport on the way. It looks like these two trucks will launch in some sort of tandem with each other. This may be in part becuase they both make heavy use of the AJ-V8, and thus will need new powertrains for 2021 no matter what after it's discontinued. These vehicles are still heavily camouflaged when they're out and about, but the iconic Range Rover shapes that have been there since 1970 are alive and well. Exposed bits of headlight suggest that the corner marker lights of the new Defender, themselves inspired by the original, may make their way into the new Range Rover. This also hearkens back, in a way, to the two-tier corner marker lights of the Range Rover Classic.

There's an extended Range Rover Evoque running about, which suggests a three-row vehicle may be coming to market. Evoque's platform-mate Discovery Sport is available in a "5+2" setup, with two seats in the back for very short journeys or very short people. With the Evoque and Discovery Sport both redesigned on a new, more efficient platform for 2020, it wouldn't be a stretch -- literally or figuratively -- to imagine an extended Evoque coming to market.

Finally, the Discovery 5 will enter its fifth model year in 2021, shockingly. A facelift is on the way for the new year, though for those who aren't fans of the truck's rear end and asymmetrical license plate, it looks like that's not going anywhere. The model that's been running around England is also a hybrid. Again, the Discovery 5 is heavily dependent on the AJ engine family, so it will need to be fully rejiggered to use the Ingenium powerplants in 2021. The mule that's been heavily spotted is a 48V mild hybrid, likely the Ingenium 6-cylinder based setup used on the Defender. It's also likely that a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is on the way, as this is available on many other Land Rover models now.

A large number of these changes are due to the discontinuation of the venerable AJ motor, which was developed for the Jaguar XJ and XK in 1996 and has sat in the engine bay of millions of Jaguars and Land Rovers since. (There were some mid-2000s Lincoln LSes and Ford Thunderbirds in there too, using an Ohio-built 3.9-liter version, as well as a heavily modified version in the 2005-17 Aston Martin V8 Vantage...in case you ever need a good question for a Land Rover trivia night.)

The new modular Ingenium motor family should be fully installed in the Land Rover family next year, with the only exception being high-end models using the BMW N63 V8. It's certainly all change, but there's lots of interesting new technology afoot.


  • Written By
  • Greg Fitzgerald
  • Adventure addict. '90s Land Rover daily driver. Historic preservationist. Personal vehicles: 1994 Discovery I, 1994 Range Rover Classic, 1961 Series II.
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