Coventry, England – It appears that Land Rover is working on a high-performance V8 version of the new Defender to go up against the Mercedes-AMG G63.
But surely bonkers performance off-roaders like these don’t make any real sense, you might point out in protest, as they’re compromised both on tar and off the beaten track. But when you consider that the G63 makes up a significant portion of G-Class sales, it’s easy to see why JLR wants a piece of that action too.
Autocar has come across a picture showing a Defender prototype that appears to have a V8 engine, given that JLR’s quad-exhaust layout is only used on eight-cylinder models, and the UK publication also managed to track the vehicle’s registration data, which lists a 4999cc engine.
However, it gets a bit more complicated, as the current 5-litre supercharged V8 that we see in Range Rover SVR models is made by Ford and it’s being discontinued later this year, but Autocar believes that Land Rover will either stockpile the latter or source BMW’s 4.4-litre V8, in which case the prototype is simply testing the Defender’s dynamic capabilities with a larger and more powerful powertrain package.
The BMW V8 would be procured through a recent powertrain tie-up between the two carmakers, which will also include electric technologies, and Reuters recently reported that a V8 engine was also part of the deal.
The new Defender line-up might be lacking a ‘bonkers’ version, but the range does include an impressively brawny option in the form of the 3-litre straight-six mild hybrid drivetrain with 294kW and 430Nm.
The Defender is expected to go on sale in South Africa around midyear, depending on Covid-19 delays. It will be available in a wide range of spec variants and engines, with prices starting at R948 000.
By Jason Woosey