Land Rover Defender Special Vehicle X Makes Its U.S. Debut At NAIAS
11 January 2000Land Rover Defender Special Vehicle X Makes Its U.S. Debut At the 2000 North American International Auto Show
Concept Vehicle Embodies Land Rover's Celebrated Mud-And-Adventure Mythology DETROIT, Mich., Jan. 10 -- First seen at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show, Land Rover's latest concept vehicle, Defender Special Vehicle X, makes its North American debut at the 2000 North American International Auto Show. The Defender Special Vehicle X concept is designed to answer a single question: What if off-road capability was the only thing that mattered? Special Vehicle X symbolizes the "ultimate sport-utility" side of the Land Rover brand. It was created by a team of enthusiasts at Land Rover Special Vehicles in Solihull, England and has but one purpose: unstoppable off-road enjoyment. The inspiration behind the Defender Special Vehicle X project rests with the core values of the Land Rover brand: authenticity, adventure, guts and supremacy. "Special Vehicle X represents the off-road potential of every Land Rover," says Rob Myers, product manager for Land Rover Special Vehicles. "Range Rover, Discovery and Freelander are dual-purpose vehicles designed for use in the real world. They are fully capable both on and off-road. Special Vehicle X embodies the off-road side of that equation -- the extreme, go-anywhere, mud-and-adventure spirit that's at the heart of the Land Rover brand." Defender Special Vehicle X celebrates Land Rover's 50-plus-year history of innovation, advanced technology and off-road leadership. The vehicle is based on a modified version of the existing Land Rover Defender 90 platform that has been heavily upgraded by Land Rover Special Vehicles -- an organization within the BMW Group that is dedicated to special projects such as police and military transports, Land Rover TReK vehicles and limited-edition models like the upcoming Holland & Holland Range Rover. Power for Defender Special Vehicle X is sourced from Land Rover's TD5 engine, a 2.5-liter, five-cylinder direct injection diesel powerplant. The engine was introduced to the European market with the launch of the 1999 Discovery Series II and Defender models. For this concept application, the engine management system has been adjusted to boost torque 25 percent to 277 lb-ft at less than 2,000 rpm. The torque is well positioned in the rev band for off-road driving. In fact, at more than 110 lb-ft of torque per liter, the TD5 in Defender Special Vehicle X is one of the strongest engines per-liter in the industry. The engine is mated to the Land Rover five-speed manual transmission and a two-speed transfer case. Land Rover helped pioneer the development of off-road electronic traction control and braking systems. Accordingly, Defender Special Vehicle X features four-channel ABS with full off-road capability, permanent four-wheel drive, Four-wheel Electronic Traction Control (4ETC) and Land Rover's patented Hill Descent Control (HDC). All three differentials are lockable. Both front and rear differentials feature air-operated lockers that the driver can easily engage from the cockpit. Locking the differentials automatically disables the traction control system, allowing the driver to choose the four-wheel drive configuration that best suits the terrain. Land Rover has long recognized the importance of maximizing suspension articulation to provide the ultimate in all-terrain performance. Defender Special Vehicle X takes this recognition a step further with performance- rated, dual-tension coil springs and adjustable gas-charged dampers. Special Vehicle X is fitted with custom-designed 20-inch alloy wheels and specially cut 285/55R-20 all-terrain tires. The chassis has been strengthened to meet Land Rover's military vehicle specifications and galvanized for added durability. Full underbody skid plates help protect Special Vehicle X's underpinnings from off-road hazards. For extreme situations, receivers at the front and rear of the vehicle are designed to easily accept the detachable Warn winch. When not in use, the winch can be stowed in the rear compartment. The bodywork is derived from the standard Defender 90. However, Special Vehicle X has been modified with a new alloy front bumper and grille assembly; cutaway wheel arches; unique wells that accommodate the larger wheels and allow for greater axle articulation; and a removable, lightweight tailgate and doors. The vehicle's rocker panels are equipped with 'Rock Sliders' to help protect the bodywork and the long-range fuel tank during off-road driving. A wide-section, heavy-duty safari cage incorporating raised air intakes allows for deep wading while providing excellent occupant protection. The exterior of Defender Special Vehicle X is finished in a unique and striking Himalayan Green. Inside, Defender Special Vehicle X features rugged and easy-to-cenger footwells. The Spartan yet elegant dashboard layout is derived from Land Rover's military vehicles and features only the essential indicators. The extra-wide, lightweight foot pedals and the strong alloy gear shift and transfer lever knobs have a positive feel and are easy to manipulate even in the most extreme or awkward situations -- descending Colorado's Black Bear Pass, for example. Waterproof off-road seats with integral grab handles and four-point racing harnesses help ensure that both driver and passenger are held firmly in place no matter what conditions are encountered. Convenient stowage nets help keep personal items in place. Although Land Rover has no plans to build salable versions of Defender Special Vehicle X, some of the technology presented on this concept vehicle -- Four-wheel Electronic Traction Control and four-channel, all-terrain ABS, for example -- has recently been introduced on the Defender 90, adding even more capability to this much-celebrated Land Rover workhorse. Land Rover North America, Inc., established in 1986, imports Range Rover and Discovery Series II vehicles manufactured in Solihull, England, for sale in the U.S. and is a wholly owned subsidiary of The BMW Group, Munich, Germany.