The new Defender can do to the Land Rover badge and image what the smash-hit Evoque did for the Range Rover. That is the view of Land Rover’s design director, Gerry McGovern.

It is now over a year since Land Rover revealed the DC100 concept and began touring it worldwide at shows, getting feedback. “The concept got the thumbs-up,” said McGovern, “and 90 per cent of the 250,000 people we spoke to loved it.”

McGovern said design work on the Defender replacement had progressed and various different concepts had been looked at internally in addition to the DC100, ahead of a planned introduction in “the middle of the decade”.

He believes the “new Defender can do for Land Rover what the Evoque did for Range Rover”, bringing a new, more style-conscious buyer to the Defender and the Land Rover brand.

Although style is promised, it will not be at the expense of function. “We need a new Defender for a new generation,” said McGovern, “so it has to be relevant and desirable to a modern audience, but it has to have the essence of the Defender. James Bond needs to be able to kick the hell out of it and it will still be able to get up for more.”

McGovern understands the sensitivity of the new Defender project due to the current car’s staunch fan base, but he said it couldn’t “be developed through rose-tinted spectacles”.

He said: “A like-for-like replacement for the Defender would not be appropriate and wouldn’t be legal with safety legislation. We can still capture the essence of the past but in a modern way.”