New Bowler 100th Edition Defender 90 Is a Bespoke Overlander That Costs a Lot of Money

To certain off-roading enthusiasts, the new-gen Land Rover Defender doesn’t exist. And it is them who are being targeted by Bowler, among other companies, with all sorts of overlanding conversions based on the previous iterations of the iconic off-roader.

The latest is called the 100th Edition, and it is a celebratory model that salutes Bowler’s 100th build of the Defender 90 Road Car Conversion. A bespoke creation, it builds on the 90 Hard Top variant, just like the original Defender Challenge vehicles, and it is also a tribute to its heritage.

Bowler describes it as “a must-have for any collector or Defender enthusiast,’ stating that it features some exclusive touches all around. It has additional stuff inside and out, and some upgrades beneath the skin, all of which are meant to further emphasize its special nature, while also making it more potent on arduous tracks.

Bowler’s new 100th Edition Defender 90 sports new bumpers, sills, rear steps, and steering guard in Corris Gray, signature headlamp surrounds, rollover protection, spare wheel mounted internally, stainless steel fixings, half bulk-head delete, an exclusive graphics package, and logos. It rides on 18-inch lightweight alloys that were wrapped in 285/60 BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires. Turning night into day at the push of a button are the extra lights mounted up front.

Land Rover’s in-house 4×4 specialists say that they gave it additional soundproofing on the inside, for a quieter and more relaxed drive. The overlander has leather on the upper parts of the dashboard, MOMO steering wheel wrapped in Alcantara, and a new gearshift lever. The OEM front seats were replaced by the Recaro SVX 60th Anniversary ones, the headliner is bedecked by Alcantara, and there is a new Alpine infotainment system on deck, complete with a reversing camera.

In addition to these upgrades, Bowler has also taken care of other aspects of their exclusive Defender 90 100th Edition. Here, they mention the new suspension, and a Stage 2 engine upgrade, complete with an intercooler, for more power. The potent 4×4 also comes with a performance exhaust system with mudflap kit, uprated brakes, and it has smoked side lights and repeaters, and LED headlamps to further set it apart from the regular versions of the three-door truck.

The 100th Edition Defender 90 is up for grabs at Bowler, and the off-roading specialist is asking £78,000 (equal to $92,290) for it in the United Kingdom, excluding tax. By comparison, a brand-new Defender 90 Hard Top can be yours from £51,365 ($60,775) locally, and the more practical Defender 110 Hard Top starts at £57,290 ($67,785). For the normal Defender 90, 110, and 130, you are looking at a minimum of £61,940 ($73,285), £64,035 ($75,765), and £75,620 ($89,475) respectively. 

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Article Credits: Car Profile
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TESTED: Land Rover Defender 90 lives up to its legend, and more

Pretoria – Only a handful of cars put a real smile on my face when I get behind the wheel or see one on the road. Because of what we do, our own transport tends to be mothballed most of the time while we drive and test a variety of cars ranging from entry level through to ridiculously expensive sports cars.

However, when I disconnect the intelligent charger from my own car, swing the engine and after a few splutters the Land Rover Defender 90 diesel TD5 motor springs to life with a bellow of smoke, I’m in my happy place. It shakes, rattles and rolls around corners and, having done a series of modifications, it’s very good off-road too.

Defender owners are also a community ready to give advice and help wherever they can. Which is why when I asked whether someone had a Defender Puma 90 for a Saturday morning photo shoot and some videos on one of the Whatsapp groups, I had a reply within a few minutes.

The reason I wanted one was because I had the New Defender 90 for a test and wanted to do a last off the line and new comparison.

In white with 18-inch white steel wheels which not everyone is a fan of, but I think adds an extra cool retro dimension harping back to the original, and if I ever win the Lotto, Land Rover Centurion would be my first call for the Defender we had.

I’ve also spent quite a lot of time with the new Defender and was fortunate enough to drive pre-production 110 models for a week in Namibia before Covid-19 turned the world on its head and later with Kingsley Holgate while he traversed the South Africa border.

As a result I often get asked what my opinion is about the new Defender and my answer is always the same. Brilliant. Which would also be my answer if questioned about the 90.

It was fitted with Land Rover’s 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine that’s good for 177kW and 450Nm and the eight-speed automatic transmission is as smooth as anything you could hope for. While the 3.0-litre diesel option provides a whole lot more power I felt that for the 90, the one on test was perfectly balanced between on and off-road performance, fuel economy and driving comfort.

There’s no drama if you need to floor the accelerator and it will quickly get to the national speed limit and faster if needed and stay there or slow down as thanks to the adaptive cruise control.

Generally short wheelbase vehicles like the 90 tend to be a bit jittery at speed and around corners but it’s certainly not the case here, testimony to the engineers that have combined a very strong monocoque chassis and suspension brilliantly.

As I’ve said before, the air suspension fitted to the Defender stands way above anything else in the segment and for that matter anything on sale in South Africa (the Ford Raptor with its specially designed Fox suspension comes very close). Corrugated dirt roads, potholes and speed bumps are its bread and butter and, because it has permanent four wheel drive, when you get to wet dirt tracks it’s a helluva lot of fun to get to your destination.

Off the beaten track the new Land Rover Defender is almost in a class of its own with every conceivable electronic aid, including diff locks that come into play as and when needed, so if you manage to get stuck it’s going to take a while for a recovery to get there.

It’s the interior though that blows you away. Any comparison to the previous Defender is moot, one is almost prehistoric and the other sublime and completely digital with a touchscreen that shows you any number of options with its Inter Active Driver display depending on which mode you select.

Land Rover Defender 90 D240 S
Engine: 2.0-litre, 4-cyl, turbodiesel
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: Four-wheel drive
Power: 177kW @ 4 000rpm
Torque: 500Nm @ 1 500-2 500rpm
0-100km/h: 9.0 seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 188km/h (claimed)
Fuel use: 7.6 l/100km (claimed)
Boot capacity: 297 – 1263 litres
Towing capacity: 3500kg (braked)
Ground clearance: 225 (291 with air suspension)
Warranty: 5-year/100 000km
Maintenance plan: 5-year/100 000km
Price: R1 175 904 (base price)

Article Credit: Willem van de Putte
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Land Rover Defender Crowned Best Design Car in the World

A third win for Land Rover in design category at annual World Car of the Year awards.

Land Rover’s new Defender has been judged the 2021 World Car Design of the Year, as part of the annual World Car Awards that recognise automotive excellence.

Highlighting new vehicles with innovation and style that push established boundaries, the World Car Design of the Year award is part of a broader competition that also includes World Performance Car, World Green Car, World Luxury and World Urban Car categories, as well as the overall World Car of the Year.

Cars eligible for the 2021 World Car Design of the Year award encompass all contenders competing in the other four award categories, so the judging panel had dozens of new cars and SUVs to choose from.

That panel consisted of seven highly respected world design experts, including Gernot Bracht (Germany – Pforzheim Design School), Ian Callum (United Kingdom – Director of Design, CALLUM, and formerly with Jaguar, Ford and Aston Martin), Gert Hildebrand (Germany – Owner Hildebrand-Design), Patrick le Quément (France – Designer and President of the Strategy Committee – The Sustainable Design School, and formerly with Ford and Renault), Tom Matano (USA – Academy of Art University, Former Head of Design – Mazda), Victor Nacif (USA – Chief Creative Officer, and Design instructor, NewSchool of Architecture and Design) and Shiro Nakamura (Japan – CEO, Shiro Nakamura Design Associates Inc.).

The panel was asked to first review each candidate, and then establish a short list of recommendations for the final vote. In addition to Defender, the short list included the Mazda MX-30, Honda e, Polestar 2 and Porsche 911 Turbo.

From this group, a 1 through 5 voting system determined the three finalists – Land Rover Defender, Mazda MX-30 and Honda e – which were announced on 30 March.

The final was held on 20 April, where the Defender was declared the ultimate winner, with 299 points, over the Honda e (239 points) and Mazda MX-30 (197 points). 

Prof. Gerry McGovern OBE, Chief Creative Officer, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “New Defender is influenced by its past but is not constrained by it and we are delighted it has been honoured with this award.

“Our vision was to create a 21st century Defender by pushing the boundaries of engineering, technology and design while retaining its renowned DNA and off-road capability. The result is a compelling 4×4 that resonates with customers on an emotional level.”

This year’s win is the third for Land Rover in the design category, following the Range Rover Velar in 2018 and Range Rover Evoque in 2012.

Article Credit: Mike Ryan
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