The new Land Rover Defender seems to be flying off of showroom floors, despite the purist’s dislike of the modern offering. There are no pop-rivets visible on the new model and one doesn’t need to manhandle it to get it into reverse anymore. The newcomer offers some of the latest technology for both on and off-road driving. While available with a raft of petrol and diesel engines the British automaker has however decided to rummage around in the engine storeroom back at the factory and what they found lying around makes no sense but we love it.
More power has never been frowned upon and while some might feel that the Defender is best suited for a turbo diesel the engineers at JLR have stuffed a 5.0-litre V8 into it. Yes, announced for 2022 Land Rover has confirmed that the new Defender will be offered with its iconic 5.0-litre supercharged V8. The motor produces 386kW and 625Nm of torque and drives through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Defender V8 90 accelerates from 0-100km/h in 5.2 seconds. Since when are performance stats on a Land Rover Defender impressive?
While this addition might not make sense to some, the reality is that SUVs are being bought by people who don’t necessarily use them for their full intended purpose. There are those who own some impressive overlanding vehicles that have never been off the tarmac before. The alluring thing about the Defender, regardless of the engine, is that it is a very capable off-road companion. The V8 does add a new layer of driver appeal, with the introduction of a new Dynamic program within the Terrain Response system exclusively offered on this model.
Other unique elements on the supercharged V8 model include bespoke exterior badging, quad exhausts with distinctive tailpipes and unique 22-inch alloy wheels with a Satin Dark Grey finish combine to set the most powerful model in the line-up apart. The Defender V8 is further identified by its Xenon Blue brake callipers and 20-inch brake discs.
Inside, Defender V8 features seats trimmed in unique Ebony Windsor Leather with Miko Suedecloth and Robustec accents, each finished with a unique Ebony tag, while the Defender’s exposed Cross Car Beam has a special Satin Black finish. The four-spoke steering wheel is enhanced by an Alcantara rim and tactile satin chrome gearshift paddles, which are unique to V8 models. Leather covers the airbag housing and gear lever, while illuminated treadplates are completed with a V8 script.
Does fitting a high-performance engine into what is an iconic off-road vehicle make sense? No, not in our books but we do understand why they did it. We do understand that the Defender is no longer a car for just the rough and ready Camel smoking man. It now appeals to a wider audience. We definitely need to sample this specific offering to see if we fit within that wider audience.
Land Rover South Africa has confirmed the new Defender V8 and XS models will be coming to South Africa, with pricing and SA-spec to be announced closer to the launch date.