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Land Rover unveils its most powerful Defender V8 ever


Fetch the smelling salts – quick. Environmentalists, green anti-car campaigners, and the puritanically woke brigade are about to have a fit of the vapours.

Land Rover has announced the fastest and most powerful version of the Defender 4X4 ever built – a growling supercharged 5.0-litre 525 horsepower V8 petrol incarnation of its latest off-roader that will delight hard-core off-roading fans. 

With an eight-speed automatic transmission and a rock’n’roll characteristic V8 soundtrack, the 90 and 110 versions are priced just either side of £100,000.

Most potent Defender ever: The new V8 Defender 110 leading a pair of its older eight-cylinder forefathers as the British marque unveils the gas-guzzling SUV

Harking back to a V8 heritage going back the more liberally permissive but politically-incorrect 1970s, it accelerates from rest to 62mph in 5.2 seconds while promising even more nimble off-road capability.

And to cap it all there’s even a new flagship limited-run Defender V8 Carpathian Edition – named after the Eastern European mountain range that stretches from the Czech Republic, through Slovakia where the new Defender is built in Nitra, and on to Transylvania in Romania – home to Bram Stoker’s vampire creation Dracula.

But such red-blooded V8 performance comes at a price – and green it definitely is not, with gas-guzzling consumption figures that may give environmental activists a touch of the tremors.

Just days after Jaguar Land Rover announced ambitious plans to electrify its range with Jaguar going fully electric and Land Rover adding pure-electric vehicles to its line-up, fuel consumption for the new V8 is revealed as a miserly 19.5 miles to the gallon, with emissions of CO2, the ‘greenhouse gas’ blamed for global warming, a mighty 327g/km, putting it well into the highest tax-band for Vehicle Excise Duty.

Defender's V8 heritage goes back to the more liberally permissive but politically-incorrect 1970s, With the latest motor, it accelerates from rest to 62mph in 5.2 seconds while promising even more nimble off-road capability

Defender’s V8 heritage goes back to the more liberally permissive but politically-incorrect 1970s, With the latest motor, it accelerates from rest to 62mph in 5.2 seconds while promising even more nimble off-road capability

Fetch the smelling salts – quick. Environmentalists, green anti-car campaigners, and the puritanically woke brigade are about to have a fit of the vapours

Fetch the smelling salts – quick. Environmentalists, green anti-car campaigners, and the puritanically woke brigade are about to have a fit of the vapours

Prices for the mighty new Defender V8 start at £98,505 for the two-door 90 (pictured) and £101,150 for the larger 110

Prices for the mighty new Defender V8 start at £98,505 for the two-door 90 (pictured) and £101,150 for the larger 110

Red-blooded V8 performance comes at a price – and green it definitely is not, with gas-guzzling consumption figures that may give environmental activists a touch of the tremors

Red-blooded V8 performance comes at a price – and green it definitely is not, with gas-guzzling consumption figures that may give environmental activists a touch of the tremors

But overall, it could be argued, the full-fat V8’s emissions will be balanced out by the Land Rover plug-in hybrids – capable of 27 miles of electric-only driving – and their other electrified 4X4s hitting the market.

Prices for the mighty new Defender V8 – including the Carpathian Edition- start at £98,505 for the two-door 90 and £101,150 for the larger 110.

That’s a significant mark-up when compared with the rest of the Defender range, which starts from £36,886 (plus VAT) for the commercially-minded Defender 90 Hard Top, from £44,825 for the 90 and £46,215 for the 110.

Land Rover has announced the fastest and most powerful version of the Defender 4X4 ever built – a growling supercharged 5.0-litre 525 horsepower V8 petrol incarnation of its latest off-roader that will delight hard-core off-roading fans

Land Rover has announced the fastest and most powerful version of the Defender 4X4 ever built – a growling supercharged 5.0-litre 525 horsepower V8 petrol incarnation of its latest off-roader that will delight hard-core off-roading fans

Just days after Jaguar Land Rover announced ambitious plans to electrify its range with Jaguar going fully electric and Land Rover adding pure-electric vehicles to its line-up, fuel consumption for the new V8 is revealed as a miserly 19.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 327g/km put it into the highest VED band

Just days after Jaguar Land Rover announced ambitious plans to electrify its range with Jaguar going fully electric and Land Rover adding pure-electric vehicles to its line-up, fuel consumption for the new V8 is revealed as a miserly 19.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 327g/km put it into the highest VED band

To cap it all there's this  new flagship limited-run Defender V8 Carpathian Edition – named after the Eastern European mountain range that stretches from the Czech Republic, through Slovakia where the new Defender is built in Nitra, and on to Transylvania in Romania – home to Bram Stoker's vampire creation Dracula

To cap it all there’s this  new flagship limited-run Defender V8 Carpathian Edition – named after the Eastern European mountain range that stretches from the Czech Republic, through Slovakia where the new Defender is built in Nitra, and on to Transylvania in Romania – home to Bram Stoker’s vampire creation Dracula

It means the V8 models have a significant mark-up when compared with the rest of the Defender range, starting from £44,825 for the  entry 90 and £46,215 for the 110

It means the V8 models have a significant mark-up when compared with the rest of the Defender range, starting from £44,825 for the  entry 90 and £46,215 for the 110

Land Rover said: ‘The new Defender V8 is the ultimate expression of Land Rover’s toughest 4×4 and recalls the rich heritage of eight-cylinder Land Rovers dating back to the 1970s.’

Land Rover said: ‘The new 525HP supercharged engine powers the fastest and most powerful production Defender ever made.’

The ‘potent’ new V8 comes with bespoke chassis settings and transmission tuning that aim to provide ‘new levels of driver engagement and agility both on and off-road’.

The new V8 forms part of a range of enhancements to the new Defender range.

This includes a new XS Edition trim level replacing the launch-targeted First Edition, as well as bespoke design packs that allow greater personalisation, and an optional larger 11.4-inch Pivi Pro infotainment touchscreen.

V8 versions of the Defender get unique suspension and transmission tuning, including bespoke spring and damper rates and a new Electronic Active Rear Differential

V8 versions of the Defender get unique suspension and transmission tuning, including bespoke spring and damper rates and a new Electronic Active Rear Differential

it delivers more agile and engaging handling with heightened body control – all accompanied by a characteristic V8 soundtrack, according to Land Rover

it delivers more agile and engaging handling with heightened body control – all accompanied by a characteristic V8 soundtrack, according to Land Rover

Each version comes with a new Terrain Response system with an additional Dynamic mode to help owners 'exploit the more dynamic character and handling balance of the 525HP model on tarmac and loose surfaces'

Each version comes with a new Terrain Response system with an additional Dynamic mode to help owners ‘exploit the more dynamic character and handling balance of the 525HP model on tarmac and loose surfaces’

Will it fit in my garage? New Defender V8 90 

Price: from £98,505 (£101,150 for the larger 110).

Doors: 2

Engine: 5.0 litre supercharged V8

Gears: 8-speed automatic

0-60mph: 4.9 seconds 0-62mph: 5.2 seconds

Top speed: 149mph 

Fuel economy: 19.5mpg CO2 Emissions: from 327g/km

Length: 4323mm/4583mm (with spare wheel)

Width: 2008mm (mirrors folded)/2105mm (mirrors out)

Height: 1969mm (air suspension)/1974mm (coil spring)

Ground clearance: up to 291mm

Land Rover said the powerful new V8 models build on decades of Land Rover heritage – from the original Stage I V8 of the Seventies, to the North American Specification models of the Nineties and powerful Defender Works V8 models.

It said the uncompromising new Defender V8 delivers ‘new levels of performance and driver engagement’ by combining the powerful 525HP 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol engine with ‘expertly developed suspension and transmission tuning to create the fastest and most dynamically rewarding Defender yet.’

‘Engineered to be the fastest and most engaging production Defender ever, it delivers unrivalled agility and driver appeal.

And the exclusive new Carpathian Edition represents ‘the ultimate expression of Defender design, performance and capability’ and is hailed as ‘the very pinnacle of the Defender range’.

In Carpathian Grey with a Narvik Black contrast roof, bonnet and tail-gate door, the exterior is finished with Land Rover’s semi-matte Satin Protective Film wrap that also protects against car park scratches and off-road bramble rash.

Of the new V8s nimbleness, Land Rover said: ‘With unique suspension and transmission tuning, including bespoke spring and damper rates and a new Electronic Active Rear Differential, it delivers more agile and engaging handling with heightened body control – all accompanied by a characteristic V8 soundtrack.’

The new Defender V8 Terrain Response system acquires an additional Dynamic mode to help owners ‘exploit the more dynamic character and handling balance of the 525HP model on tarmac and loose surfaces’.

Priced just either side of £100,000, if you do want a snarling V8 Defender you're you're going to have to pay through the nose for one

Priced just either side of £100,000, if you do want a snarling V8 Defender you’re you’re going to have to pay through the nose for one

Not green: Images show the new V8 Defender tackling tough woodland terrain, but it's the eight-cylinder engine's emissions that will most likely do the damage to these sorts of environments

Not green: Images show the new V8 Defender tackling tough woodland terrain, but it’s the eight-cylinder engine’s emissions that will most likely do the damage to these sorts of environments

If you want the full dark look, buyers can opt for gunmetal allow wheels, black paint and tinted rear windows

If you want the full dark look, buyers can opt for gunmetal allow wheels, black paint and tinted rear windows

It also gets larger-diameter and solid anti-roll bars help reduce body roll in extreme cornering and a series of electronic tweaks to enhance ride and handling and throttle response.

Exterior enhancements for the V8 include; bespoke exterior badging, quad exhausts with distinctive tailpipes, and 22-inch alloy wheels with a Satin Dark Grey finish, and Xenon Blue front brake calipers. 

The new Defender XS Edition trim level is available with a choice of powertrains, including the P400 MHEV petrol, P400e Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) and D250 Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) diesel.

The interior is a like-for-like with Defender models without a V8 engine up front, though there is a larger choice of new materials

The interior is a like-for-like with Defender models without a V8 engine up front, though there is a larger choice of new materials

Drivers can go for the all-black look inside as well as out, though it might feel like a pretty glum place to be for long journeys

Drivers can go for the all-black look inside as well as out, though it might feel like a pretty glum place to be for long journeys

Rear passengers in the 110 model get far more leg-room than if the driver turned up with the three-door Defender 90 variant

Rear passengers in the 110 model get far more leg-room than if the driver turned up with the three-door Defender 90 variant

David Hemming, chief product engineer at Jaguar Land Rover, said: ‘The introduction of our V8 powertrain adds a new dimension of driving engagement and off-road capability to Defender. ‘Fast and fun to drive, it represents the pinnacle of the Defender family and is as rewarding on the road as it is capable off it. ‘

Iain Gray, senior manager for powertrain advanced engineering at Jaguar Land Rover said: ‘The 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine further enhances the unique character of the Defender. It sounds fantastic and delivers incredible performance – providing new levels of driver appeal.’

‘It delivers both responsive on-road performance and fine control off-road – all without compromising Defender’s unstoppable all-terrain capability and wading ability.’ 

Second new V8 Defender announced in weeks…

 

Earlier this month Land Rover announced it is building 25 ‘adventure-ready’ re-engineered versions of its original expedition off-roader – the reborn Defender Works V8 Trophy.

Fully re-engineered by Land Rover Classic from specially sourced donor 4X4s of the era and with 405PS 5.0-litre petrol V8 powertrains, prices started at £195,000 for a compact 90 and £205,000 for the larger 110.

They sold out within a fortnight.

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