Earlier this summer, company executives said that Land Rover might finally kill off its legendary Defender. Now, though, Auto Express reports that Land Rover will launch a "futuristic reinvention" of the Defender as a concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

The Defender is perhaps the most traditional and famous of all Land Rovers. It has been sold virtually unchanged for decades. Its boxy shape and go-anywhere off-road abilities have made the Defender an icon. But its antediluvian underpinnings (and thus a lack of safety and emissions equipment) mean it can no longer be sold in the U.S., and that by 2016 sales in Europe will have to stop.

The new Land Rover Defender will be built upon the heavy-duty chassis used by the LR3. Rather than a facelift, Auto Express reports that it is an all-new vehicle. Like the LR3, the new Defender would reportedly get the Terrain Response System that adjusts suspension, engine, and four-wheel-drive settings to help Land Rovers tackle a variety of different surfaces.

Building a new version of Land Rover's most iconic model is a tough act. Colin Green, managing director of Land Rover U.K., told Auto Express that, "If we get it wrong, we are messing up one of the industry's biggest icons."

A new range of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines will be under the Defender's hood. The SUV's interior will be thoroughly revised, with modern navigation and infotainment systems. It's expected that the interiors of future Land Rover products will be styled after that of the Evoque.

The new Land Rover Defender debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but should reach production lines by 2013.

Source: Auto Express