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New Land Rover Defender OCTA spotted: twin-turbo V8 flagship out in the open

The Defender OCTA will bring off-road prowess with an even more potent powertrain

After an official teaser from Land Rover, we’ve now caught the upcoming Land Rover Defender OCTA testing ahead of its full unveiling. The OCTA will sit as a halo variant of the Land Rover Defender, incorporating a new exterior design to go with a new V8 engine.

This will be the first time we’ve seen the new OCTA badge on a Land Rover and the British firm calls it “the ultimate Defender’, confirming its position as the most extreme and expensive version of its famous off-roader.

The teaser images from Land Rover don’t reveal too much about the car, although we can see the new OCTA diamond badge on the steering wheel, a revised section of bodywork below the headlights and a set of chunky Brembo brakes - reinforcing the car’s performance credentials.

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These fresh batch of spy images show the OCTA will gain a new front bumper, wider wheel arches, a new set of wheels and to the rear a new exhaust system. The interior will also feature its own updates, with elements like the unique OCTA drive mode selectable from the lower section of the steering wheel.

We know the Defender OCTA will use a twin-turbocharged V8 referenced will be the 4.4-litre unit sourced from BMW that’s used at the top of the Range Rover range. This model should have at least the same 523bhp figure as the current V8 powered Range Rover Sport, but could potentially match the new Range Rover SV with upwards of 600bhp. This would make the Land Rover Defender OCTA the most powerful Defender yet, by some margin.

This power will be sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed transmission and Land Rover’s latest generation four-wheel drive system. The other big piece of technical news is the adoption of the same 6D Dynamics suspension system that’s also found in the new Range Rover Sport SV. This system essentially pairs an air-spring setup with hydraulically cross linked dampers that also allow for the wholesale removal of the car’s anti-roll bars.

This technology gives engineers the chance to totally change the behaviour of the suspension actively, depending on the surface. On tarmac, the system will be able to stabilise the Defender OCTA under roll and pitch, while off-road the dampers can be slackened right off. Thanks to the lack of anti-roll bars, this ultimate Defender will also have increased wheel articulation, making it even more capable than the already impressive standard Defender model.

The Land Rover Defender OCTA will be revealed later this year, with prices to start way over the existing V8-powered models that already crack £100,000 and closer to the £160,000 Mercedes charges for its G 63.

Click here for our list of the fastest SUVs in the world...

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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