The current Land Rover Defender is being retired this year, ahead of the launch of an all-new model in 2016.

The new car will mark a radical new direct for the model, which, until now, has been pretty much the same since the Land Rover was first launched in 1947. Of course, the present Defender is very different from the original, but the architecture and construction are closely related.

To mark the end of its iconic model, Land Rover has launched three special edition Defenders; Autobiography, Heritage and Adventure.

The Autobiography Edition comes in 90 Station Wagon form only. Just 80 will be available in the UK, for the hefty price of £61,845. For that you get a 148bhp version of the 2.2 TDCi diesel engine, LED headlights, 16-inch alloys wheels shod with chunky Goodyear MT/R tyres, full leather interior and too many trim details to mention here.

The 400-off Heritage Edition harks back to the first pre-production Series 1 Land Rover. The Grasmere Green colour scheme, heavy duty steel wheels and old-school detailing pay homage to that landmark car, known as Huey, after its HUE166 registration. 90 and 110 versions will be built, with prices starting at £27,800.

The Adventure Edition is for the more, err, adventurous. Extra underbody protection, off-road tyres, roof rack, rear ladder and snorkel will all come in handy when you go on that African expedition you always dreamed of. The 90 Station Wagon version produces 148bhp (the 110 remains standard), there’s LED headlights, the seats are trimmed in leather and, again, there’s much unique detailing. 600 will be available, priced from £43,495.

Inevitably, the prospect of a new Defender is proving controversial, even before we’ve seen so much as a sketch. But Land Rover Vehicle Line Director Nick Rogers assures: “Passion and enthusiasm surround everything we do with Defender, and that will never change. Land Rover [is] committed to creating a fitting successor to the legendary Defender.”

The special edition Defenders, available from April, will be a fitting tribute to one of the great icons of British, indeed world, motoring.

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