The rumour has been around for some time and now it’s officially not a rumour anymore, but fact: the new Land Rover Defender will be available with a V8 engine starting next year.
The industry might be stepping on the accelerator in terms of moving towards electrification, but the V8 engine lives on, simply because demand for it is still there. For example, the Jaguar Land Rover 5.0L in-house engine, able to produce up to 575 hp (in the SVR version of the Range Rover or in the Jaguar F-Type R), will be available starting next year with the Defender 90 and 110 models. In this case it’s expected to deliver 518 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque.
With the 90 two-door version, it translates into a 0-97 km/h acceleration time of just 4.9 seconds.
To accommodate the engine and its greater weight, the company has reworked the model’s springs and shock absorbers and equipped it with wider anti-roll bars. The active electronic rear differential will be standard with the new engine, and a dynamic mode will appear on the Terrain Response system menu, which will strengthen the suspension and improve throttle response.
At the rear, V8-powered Defenders will feature four exhaust tips and sport V8 logos on the front fenders and tailgate. These variants will come standard with 22-inch wheels with blue front brake calipers and 15-inch discs, with 20-inch wheels with off-road tires available as an option. Clearly, driving promises to be more interesting with these versions.
On board, buyers will find unique black leather seats with suede accents and an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel. Chrome paddle shifters will be available for the latter. Illuminated door sills with the Defender V8 lettering will also be visible when the front doors are opened. All 2022 Defender models will also be available with a new 11.4-inch curved touchscreen and wireless charging for electronic devices will be standard on all models. The 10-inch screen remains standard.
It’s easy to see why the automaker is adding a V8 engine to the lineup. Since its arrival on the market, the Defender has proven to be very popular, so why not strike while the iron is hot. Ironically, the significant profits from the sale of these future variants will help the company's shift to electric mobility.