This isn’t entirely surprising, since Jaguar Land Rover has committed to making at least half of its models electrified in some way. We’re left to speculate as to the exact configuration of the powertrain. The Range Rover PHEV’s powertrain would seem like a good choice with its turbocharged inline-four short enough to fit either length-wise or width-wise in the Defender. That powertrain’s 398 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque would be welcome in a small SUV, too. If it were plug-in capable, it would be an interesting competitor to the upcoming Jeep Wrangler plug-in hybrid. Of course, we can’t be sure if it will have a plug until we see it charging somewhere.
Another interesting part of this prototype lurks behind the front bumper and burly brush guard. There’s a Warn winch mounted in the lower grille area. It would seem strange to fit one if the company wasn’t planning on offering it with production vehicles. It wouldn’t be the first vehicle to be offered with a factory winch, nor one with it hidden behind the bumper. The Ram 2500 Power Wagon comes with a winch in that very spot.
We should have more clarity regarding these features when the Defender is revealed this fall. The company hasn’t finalized whether the unveiling will be at an auto show or not, but the Frankfurt Motor Show in September seems like a safe bet. As we mentioned earlier, the new Defender is mechanically different from the old model, but visually it’s heavily inspired by the old SUV with its boxy body and multiple wheelbases and door counts. It will also once again be offered in the U.S.