Due to go into production early in 2020, the rugged 4x4 was testing in North America earlier this month. Engineers are said to be subjecting the Toyota Land Cruiser rival to "rigorous test extremes", including temperatures as low as minus 40deg Celcius and as high as 48 deg, as well as at altitudes up to 13,000ft.
The first sighting of Land Rover's reborn icon with more production ready bodywork came from official 'spyshots' of the five-door '110' variant, and soon after our snapper caught the short-wheelbase three-door '90' model testing in disguise. An even longer-wheelbase '130' version is rumoured, too.
Recently, a prototype also hit the roads with a rear-mounted spare wheel for the first time. It's not clear yet if that's a feature that will make production, but it's likely given the car's off-road focus and the styling link to the old model.
The previous pictures showed the new Defender in camo livery on the roads near the Jaguar Land Rover factory. Asked about the official images at the Paris motor show, Felix Bräutigam, Jaguar Land Rover's marketing chief, admitted they were of the first prototypes to leave Gaydon, and said more would follow in coming months as the ramp-up to production begins.
“These are what we call Pilot build cars and testing will increase on public roads from now,” said Bräutigam. “The first four cars are ready, and now the line is running you can expect the number of test cars to grow exponentially.
“In time, as you’d expect, the Defender will go through all the usual test routines, from cold weather testing in Arjeplog in Sweden to extreme hot weather testing in Death Valley in the USA. It’s exciting for us to be able to now be one step closer to bringing the car to market, of course. We are talking about the rebirth of an icon and not just as a single car, but as a whole family.