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New 518bhp Land Rover Defender V8 joins range

Land Rover’s new 5.0-litre V8 engine has made this the fastest Defender yet, with a 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds

Land Rover has fitted the Defender with a new V8 powertrain, making it the fastest production version of the 4x4 to date. The new Land Rover Defender V8 is available to order now, with prices starting from £98,505 for the short-wheelbase Defender 90 and £101,150 for the larger Defender 110.

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The supercharged 5.0-litre V8 produces 518bhp and 625Nm of torque, which Land Rover says is enough for a 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds and a top speed of 149mph in the Defender 90. The larger Defender 110 completes the same sprint in a claimed 5.4 seconds.

To control the extra performance, Land Rover has fitted the Defender V8 with new springs and dampers, thicker anti-roll bars, a specially calibrated gearbox and a new electronically controlled rear differential. The car’s traction control system has also been reprogrammed, while new torque vectoring technology makes an appearance to boost agility.

Like the entry-level Defender, this V8 model also features four-wheel drive, but Land Rover has added a new Dynamic mode to the car’s Terrain Response system. The extra setting adjusts the SUV’s electronically controlled chassis tech and sharpens the car’s responses, promising better cornering ability and improved handling.

Land Rover has made a few cosmetic tweaks to the Defender V8 to mark it out as the flagship variant. Upgrades include new 22-inch alloy wheels, a fresh quad-exit exhaust system and unique badging. The cabin gets new Ebony Windsor leather upholstery, ‘V8’ branded treadplates and chrome gearshift paddles.

The Defender V8 can also be specified in Carpathian Edition form. This special edition trim level adds Xenon Blue front brake calipers, satin black towing eyes, an exclusive Carpathian Grey paint finish and a contrasting black roof, bonnet and rear boot door.

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Land Rover has also wrapped the 4x4’s bodywork in a protective film, which claims to shield the paint from minor car park scuffs and minor off-road scratches. Prices for the special edition model are identical to the standard V8 4x4.

Land Rover Defender: 2022 model year updates

To complement the new V8 engine, Land Rover has also launched a suite of updates for the Defender ahead of the 2022 model year change. Tweaks include a refreshed trim level line-up, new exterior styling options and some more interior technology.

First, Land Rover has replaced the Defender’s launch edition trim with the XS Edition. It sits above the mid-range Defender SE and features 20-inch alloy wheels, Matrix LED headlights, air suspension, a rear-view camera, body-coloured cladding and a choice of four paint finishes – Silicon Silver, Hakuba Silver, Gondwana Stone and Santorini Black. Prices for the XS Edition model start from £58,060.

Land Rover has also improved the Defender’s touchscreen, fitting its latest Pivi Pro infotainment system, which adds features such as over-the-air software updates and an improved navigation system. The system comes with a 10-inch screen as standard, but can be upgraded with an optional 11.4-inch unit for an extra £140.

Finally, Land Rover has launched three new exterior design packages. The firm’s Bright Pack (£1,250) swaps the standard car’s grille, badges and skid plates for chrome replacements, while the Extended Bright Pack (£1,500) adds silver highlights to the Defender’s lower body cladding and wheel arches.

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For an extra £875, Defender X, X-Dynamic and V8 buyers can opt for Land Rover’s new Extended Black Pack, which switches the standard car’s skid plates, grille, badges, bonnet chequer plate, mirror caps and body cladding for gloss black alternatives.

With the exception of the new V8 unit, the Defender’s engine range remains unchanged. 

Buyers can still choose from either a petrol or diesel 3.0-litre straight-six mild-hybrid unit, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine or a 2.0-litre four-cylinder plug-in hybrid.

The P400 3.0-litre petrol engine has 395bhp, while the 3.0-litre diesel comes in either 197bhp (D200), 247bhp (D250) or 296bhp (D300) outputs. The P300 2.0-litre petrol also generates 296bhp, albeit with 250Nm of torque less than the diesel – and the P400e PHEV has 398bhp. More importantly, the latter unit has delivers claimed economy of 85.3mpg and can cover up to 27 miles on electric power alone.

Prices start from £44,825 for the entry-level Defender 90 S and £46,215 for the equivalent Defender 110. Land Rover also now offers ‘Hard Top’ commercial variants of both body styles, with prices starting from £44,200 for the 90 and £52,450 for the 110, both including VAT.

Now read our review of the Land Rover Defender. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…

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