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New Land Rover Defender OCTA thundering towards a 3 July launch with twin-turbo V8 power

Just 1,070 examples of the “ultimate Defender” will be available to UK customers in the first year of production

After more than three years of testing in some of the world’s toughest conditions, the new Land Rover Defender OCTA will finally be unveiled on 3 July 2024. This “high-performance all-terrain hero” will be the halo variant of Britain’s iconic 4x4, powered by a new V8 engine. 

The Defender OCTA was put through an extreme, globe-trotting development programme that saw it tested on all types of terrain, from the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife race circuit in Germany to the rock crawls of Moab, Utah, along with a French rally stage and the deserts outside Dubai for good measure.

In all, the engineers put the Land Rover Defender OCTA through nearly 14,000 additional tests, on top of the standard car’s testing regime.

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Before the OCTA’s public debut, prospective buyers have been invited to register for one of seven exclusive ‘Defender Elements’ events that will be held at private locations around the world. They’ll need to be quick to place their order, as only 1,070 Defender OCTAs will be available to UK customers for the first year of production.

Described as the “toughest, most capable and luxurious Defender ever”, the Defender OCTA will be powered by a twin-turbocharged mild-hybrid V8. It’ll be the same 4.4-litre BMW-sourced motor that’s used at the top of the Range Rover line-up, in cars such as the 626bhp Range Rover Sport SV. Whether the Defender OCTA will have the same amount of firepower has yet to be confirmed. 

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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Our most recent spy shots show the Defender OCTA will sport 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.

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.

Considering prices for the existing V8-powered Defender start from over £100,000, we expect the Land Rover Defender OCTA will attract a price tag much closer to the £160,000 Mercedes charges for its high performance G 63 version of the G-Class.

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

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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