Forget electrification for now—here’s the new V8-powered Land Rover Defender

Supercharged, with 518hp and some quirky blue brake calipers
by Tom Harrison | Feb 25, 2021
PHOTO: Land Rover
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Just days ago, JLR announced that Land Rover will launch six all-electric SUVs in the next five years, as the group aims to become entirely carbon-neutral by 2039. And this...isn’t one of them. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.

Yup—we all knew it was coming, and now it’s arrived. Land Rover has stuck its tried-and-tested 5.0-liter supercharged V8 in the new Defender. Available as either a two-door, short-wheelbase ‘90’ or a four-door, long-wheelbase ‘110,’ the V8 Defender makes 518hp, accelerates to 60mph (97kph) in a shade under 5sec, and tops out at 240kph. Fuel economy is predictably shocking—just 8.3km/L and 327g/km of CO2.

The Land Rover Defender V8

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Happily, the Defender’s chassis and suspension have been beefed up to cope with the added power, though not, says Land Rover, to the detriment of its off-road ability. Larger-diameter solid anti-roll bars aim to reduce, uh, roll. Then there’s the new ‘Electronic Active Rear Differential,’ stiffer suspension bushes, bespoke spring and damper rates, and a new ‘Dynamic’ mode for the Terrain Response system that helps drivers “exploit the more dynamic character” of the V8 “on tarmac and loose surfaces.”

Spot a V8 Defender by looking for quad tailpipes, blue brake calipers (for the front axle only—weird), dark-gray 22-inch alloy wheels, and V8 badges. Inside, you get fancy leather upholstery with suedecloth/Robustec accents, an alcantara steering wheel, and satin black trim. The V8 ‘Carpathian Edition’ adds a semi-matte wrap over ‘Carpathian Gray’ paintwork to protect “against everything from car park scratches to off-road bramble rash.”

The Land Rover Defender V8 in the off road

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The Land Rover Defender V8 on the road

The V8 arrives as part of a broader update for the Defender to 2022-spec. In short, the Defender First Edition has been replaced with the Defender XS, the clever ‘Pivi Pro’ infotainment system is optionally available with a bigger 11.4-inch touchscreen, and there are three new exterior design packs on offer.

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Price? The Defender V8 starts at £98,505 (P6.77 million) for the 90 or £101,150 (P6.95 million) for the 110. Not cheap on its own, but remember, the Mercedes-AMG G63 costs almost £150,000 (P10.31 million).

More photos of the Land Rover Defender V8:

The Land Rover Defender V8  rear tire

The Land Rover Defender V8 driver's seat and steering wheel

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 The Land Rover Defender V8 dashboard

The Land Rover Defender V8 media panel and front compartment

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 The Land Rover Defender V8 parked

The Land Rover Defender V8 profile

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The Land Rover Defender V8 angled rear view

The Land Rover Defender V8 driving through water

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The Land Rover Defender V8 running over water

The Land Rover Defender V8 on the road angled front view

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NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: Land Rover
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