The Defender is powered by the more powerful version of the two-litre, four cylinder, Ingenium petrol engine that’s a mainstay in almost every JLR model in India. And it’s mated to an eight-speed torque converter. As it turns out, neither feel special. The engine and gearbox combo give the Defender – and its over two-tonne bulk – enough legs to sprint around in the city and cruise comfortably at three-digit speeds on the highway, no doubt. But, it’s not a drivetrain that gets you involved or excited. It does its job. And that’s that.
It revs cleanly and sounds good, yes, but one can still tell that the engine – even with its near 300bhp and 400Nm of torque – isn’t exactly thrilled about lugging the Defender around. Sport mode or otherwise. Plus, the auto ‘box isn’t exactly of the quick shifting, fast reacting, driver engaging variety.
Drive with a light and progressive throttle and both the engine and gearbox do their respective jobs well. The Defender doesn’t feel slow, it doesn’t wait for the flowers to blossom to respond to your inputs, and the gearbox moves up and down the ratios without needing too much of a prod. It’s a nice, relaxed, and quiet setup that’s easy to like and live with in the city, or in stop-and-go traffic, or on a calm run to the farmhouse.
Start demanding more, however, and the lag in throttle response and kickdown, the engine noise at higher revs, and the general bluntness in performance (against its advertised output figures), does take the shine off the Defender’s aura.