Land Rover gives green light to Bowler to build £200,000 Defenders


There might be a new Land Rover Defender in 2020, but the old model will continue to live on – though not how we knew it.

Jaguar Land Rover bought UK off-road specialist company Bowler last year and has given the green light for it to rework its legendary 4X4 into an ultimately off-road weapon.

Code-named CSP 575, the upgraded Defender 110 will feature a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine producing a massive 567bhp. And it will cost in the region of £200,000.

Defender is back: JLR has given UK firm Bowler the green light to produce a limited run of high-performance Defenders with a 5.0-litre V8 engine

Render images released today have shown how the extreme Defender will look. 

It will feature Bowler’s own high-strength steel chassis, which is developed and manufactured at its headquarters in Belper, Derbyshire. 

The ‘station wagon’ Defender 110 body will be used and provide seating for four people. 

Not only will it become the first Bowler model created under JLR’s watchful eye, but also the first new vehicle produced by the brand since 2016.

It comes just months after the UK’s biggest car maker lost a court battle to trademark rights to the shape of its legendary Defender SUV, following a long-running dispute with billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who has created his own Ineos Automotive Grenadier off-road vehicle that shares the same boxy silhouette. 

A London court in August dismissed an appeal by JLR, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, after the Intellectual Property Office ruled the shapes it sought to get protected weren’t distinctive enough.

Codenamed CSP 575, the upgraded Defender 110 will feature a 5.0-litre supercharged petrol engine producing a massive 567bhp. And it will cost in the region of £200,000

Codenamed CSP 575, the upgraded Defender 110 will feature a 5.0-litre supercharged petrol engine producing a massive 567bhp. And it will cost in the region of £200,000

The new Land Rover Defender, released this year, has won plenty of plaudits, but traditionalists say its not aimed at the agricultural market like the original was

The new Land Rover Defender, released this year, has won plenty of plaudits, but traditionalists say its not aimed at the agricultural market like the original was

Ratcliffe has made no secret that he has identified the end of production of the previous-generation Defender at the Solihull plant in January 2016 and the introduction of a new modern Defender from 2020 as an opportunity to provide a simple vehicle aimed at both the agricultural and lifestyle market.

While the all-new Defender has won praise for its ability on- and off-road, traditionalists believe it doesn’t retain the same characteristics as the original.  

Bowler’s Defender remake will be sold in limited numbers when production starts in 2021 and has been promised to be a ‘road-going’ model, not just one used for competition.

JLR confirmed the price tag will be ‘around £200,000 in the UK’. 

JLR recently lost a court appeal to trademark rights to the shape of its legendary Defender SUV (pictured), following a long-running dispute with billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe

JLR recently lost a court appeal to trademark rights to the shape of its legendary Defender SUV (pictured), following a long-running dispute with billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe

This is Sir Jim Ratcliffe's new Ineos Automotive Grenadier 4X4, which was due to be built in Wales but is now likely to be produced on the French-German border

This is Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s new Ineos Automotive Grenadier 4X4, which was due to be built in Wales but is now likely to be produced on the French-German border

It will have an internal roll-cage, as shown in the rendered images of the vehicle, but given it will be available for use on public roads should also come with the creature comforts of an infotainment system, air-conditioning and a comfortable cabin. 

The showpiece, though, will be the powerplant – which is taken from the existing JLR range.

The 5.0-litre supercharged V8 is the same powerplant used in various hot vehicles in the British marque’s range, including the Range Rover Sport SVR with a 0-to-62mph sprint time of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 176mph.   

Not only will it become the first Bowler model created under JLR's ownership but also the first new vehicle produced by the brand since 2016

Not only will it become the first Bowler model created under JLR’s ownership but also the first new vehicle produced by the brand since 2016

The high-performance Defender will feature Bowler's own high-strength steel chassis, which is developed and manufactured at its headquarters in Belper, Derbyshire. It will also have an internal roll-cage

The high-performance Defender will feature Bowler’s own high-strength steel chassis, which is developed and manufactured at its headquarters in Belper, Derbyshire. It will also have an internal roll-cage

The final 'old' Land Rover Defender came off JLR's Solihull production line in January 2016 (pictured)

The final ‘old’ Land Rover Defender came off JLR’s Solihull production line in January 2016 (pictured)

Michael van der Sande, managing director of JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations division, said: ‘We’re excited to announce the first major project since our acquisition of Bowler. 

‘The CSP 575 will combine Supercharged V8 performance and four-seat practicality with Bowler’s rally raid-proven CSP platform, broadening the appeal of the brand. ‘

He also confirmed that the car will be manufactured at Bowler’s headquarters in Derbyshire, UK, and not JLR’s specialist SVO sub-department.

Calum McKechnie, general manager at Bowler Motors, said: ‘The Bowler name has stood for innovation for 35 years. 

‘The licence agreement to produce vehicles with the classic Defender shape gives us a unique opportunity. 

‘We’re excited to combine our motorsport experience with the expertise available from Special Vehicle Operations to produce a thrilling competition-inspired Defender 110 Station Wagon for the road.’  

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