Land Rover has confirmed that it will introduce a new eight-seat Defender later this month, with the launch of the new 130 variant. The long-mooted larger model will join the existing 90, 110 and commercial Hard Top derivatives in the Defender lineup, and offer ‘epic all-terrain adventures for up to eight’ when the order books open on May 31st.
As various spy images have already shown, the 130’s chief distinguishing feature will be the additional length that allows it to accommodate a third row of seats. Land Rover says the new 2-3-3 configuration will be complemented by the ‘latest digital technologies and advanced integrated chassis technologies’. Expect a carryover of the existing Defender engines.
The release is accompanied by a single image of the new model scaling a sand dune (the sand conveniently disguising that much more capacious rear-end). The implication, though, is clear: no matter how many more people you’re squeezing into it, Land Rover intends the Defender to remain the world’s preeminent off-roader.
Fans of the brand will likely recall that the manufacturer has been here before: the many derivatives of the original Land Rover included the 127, a utility model launched in 1985, and specifically built to handle larger payloads thanks to an additional 17 inches of wheelbase grafted into the middle. A dedicated chassis was introduced in 1990 when the car officially became the Defender 130. The new car is widely expected to have earned its extra length thanks to an extended rear overhang rather than a longer wheelbase - but we’ll find out for sure in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned.