The new Land Rover Defender isn’t really a direct replacement for the old one. It’s incredibly capable off-road, of course, but the SUV is no longer intended to be a hardy, simplistic workhorse. With a big increase in luxury and refinement, its remit is now much broader.
But what if you’re not interested in the fripperies and want something with more focus? A chemical company, of all things, is claiming it has the answer.
Ineos announced an automotive offshoot and its first product - codenamed ‘Projekt Grenadier’ - back in 2017 amid ambitious claims and a colourful story about chairman Jim Ratcliffe coming up with the idea in a London pub (from which the endeavour took its name). Fast forward to today, though, the project looks to be progressing well.
These new shots - taken by a spy photographer so dedicated they were happy to hide in foliage, it seems - gives us our first look at a Grenadier prototype. They were taken in Graz, Austria in the vicinity of Magna Steyr, the company which will do the bulk of the development work.
Magna is an ideal company to be involved with for something like this - the firm has been responsible for the production of the first and second-generation Mercedes G-Glass, and developed Merc’s all-wheel drive system.
Power will come from a BMW-sourced ‘B58’ turbocharged inline-six, giving the Grenadier a curious (if tenuous) link to the original Defender. Back when Land Rover was under Munich’s control, the Defender was offered in South Africa with an M52 straight-six.
Production of the Grenadier will be taken care of by a new facility currently being built in Bridgend, Wales. Sales should begin early next year.