There’s probably a super-long German word to describe the Land Rover Defender at the Nurburgring. It would roughly translate as ‘seeing something that really shouldn’t work but somehow does’.
The Defender 110 is a bulky 4×4 (really bulky, in fact) with a tailgate-mounted spare wheel and a near 2.5-tonne kerbweight. It’s primarily designed for inhospitable terrain and towing a horse box up a rutted track, but it seems it can also pummel said racetrack if you really want it to.
Not that you’d want to do it in an entry-level D200 diesel, as that’d take quite a while. It’ll take considerably less time in this model, which packs a BMW-derived V8. Just like the classic Defender (the ‘real’ one, if you must), this new one is getting a thumping V8 to sit at the top of the range.
It’ll be a 4.4-litre twin-turbo pinched from BMW M Performance, with 500bhp or so. Full-bore 0-62mph acceleration will take around five seconds, if not less, which’ll put some distance between the V8 and the 395bhp P400 petrol that can reach that threshold in 6.4 seconds. Fuel economy obviously won’t be a concern, and we’d expect 20mpg to be a pretty decent achievement in the V8.
An upgraded quad-exit exhaust system gives away its eight cylinders, and plenty more will be uprated besides. The red brake calipers of this prototype hint at some serious – and necessary – stopping power, while the suspension and chassis will be firmed up to cope with the extra performance. There’ll still be a bit of body roll, despite the beefed-up components and electronic wizardry, but it looks reasonably composed given the height and weight of Land Rover’s newest model.
The 567bhp Range Rover Sport SVR is still likely to be the most potent JLR SUV, and we don’t expect the Defender V8 to be produced by the SVO skunkworks. It’s likely you’ll only be able to get the V8 in the five-door 110 body style (can you imagine 500bhp with the 90’s shorter wheelbase?), and those that are waiting for the V8 will need to pay a hefty premium over the other models in the range. Prices are likely to start close to £100,000.
Would you choose the Defender V8 over the Mercedes-AMG G63 or the upcoming Ineos Grenadier? Tell us below.
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