Land Rover Defender drops six-cylinder petrol, gains four-pot PHEV

The Land Rover Defender line-up has been shuffled, with the addition of a luxurious new seven-seater, a more potent diesel engine – and a plug-in hybrid that uses a (contrary to information initially circulated by JLR) four-cylinder engine. 

The revamp comes four years after the launch of the L663-generation Defender and, while not as substantial as a full-blown facelift, ushers in a range of important mechanical and cosmetic tweaks, along with a reorganisation of the trim structure. 

The headline change for the updated Defender comes under the bonnet, where the D300 diesel engine has been swapped for the more potent D350 from the Range Rover, boosting outputs by 49bhp and 37lb ft – to 345bhp and 516lb ft – with the result that “everything from overtaking to towing is even more effortless”, says JLR. 

JLR has not revealed any performance figures for the new engine, but no doubt it will improve slightly on the D300’s 7.0sec 0-62mph time. 

So too has the P400 Ingenium straight-six petrol been replaced by a 419bhp version of JLR’s supercharged 5.0-litre V8, and the plug-in hybrid Defender swaps its two-litre four-cylinder engine for the P300e arrangement used in the Evoque and Discovery Sport PHEVs – based around a 1.5-litre triple and producing 305bhp all up.

The changes have been made in order to make the Defender compliant with Euro 6e emissions legislation, so no doubt the petrol straight six will soon also be retired from the Discovery, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport line-ups. 

Chief among the cabin upgrades is the introduction of a new Captain Chairs pack for the three-row Defender 130, which swaps the middle bench for a pair of individual armchairs – with access in between for the rearmost three seats. 

2024 land rover defender refresh interior rear

Heated and ventilated as standard, and with easy access to a pair of cupholders in the middle, the captain chairs are said to bring “front-row comfort to those travelling in row two”, and are available on Defender X and V8 models.

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