When it comes to legendary off-roader status, the Land Rover Defender is right up there with the Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen. It’s also pretty similar to its German rival in the way it has resisted change over the decades of its existence. The defender has remained pretty much the same since its birth in the late Forties. However, unlike the G-Class, which is still going strong with evolutionary updates, the Defender as we knew it over the years was discontinued a couple of years ago.

While we know a much modernised successor is on the cards, not much is known about it now. This week, our spy photographer has spotted a test mule doing the developmental rounds, masked by an improvised Range Rover body. But from the way the prototype’s makeshift body looks, you can glean that the defender will have a much shorter wheelbase than the Range Rover. Land Rover is expected to offer two wheelbase options for the next-gen Defender, with two and four door options respectively. It is also expected to be available in hard-top or soft-top versions.

It will ride on a modified version of the light-weight aluminium-intensive platform that underpins the Range Rover and the new Discovery, but is expected to continue featuring a live rear axle. And these will be bolstered by Land Rover’s latest mult-terrain technology to help it retain its famed off-road credentials.

However, don’t expect it to retain its retro looks, which will most likely be watered down with a slightly less boxy design. But it’s too early to comment on that. Watch this space for more updates as they emerge.