Land Rover reveals potent new V8-powered Defender, and it’s coming to SA

By Jason Woosey Time of article published Feb 25, 2021

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WHITLEY, ENGLAND - V8 engines might be on a path to extinction, but not all carmakers are giving up on the eight-cylinder format just yet. Jaguar Land Rover recently bought the tooling for the Ford-built V8 engine that it was using in top Jaguar and Range Rover models and now the sonorous sounding motor has found a new home in the Defender.

Due to launch in South Africa later in 2021, along with a new XS derivative, the new V8 model is the most potent series production Defender ever. While the 5-litre supercharged engine is not in its highest state of tune, producing 386kW and 625Nm (versus 423kW and 700Nm in the SVR models) it is still perfectly appropriate for the vehicle in question, which will get you from 0-100km/h in just 5.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 240km/h.

It will be thirsty though, as you’d expect with this engine format, and to that end Land Rover claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 14.9 litres per 100km.

Land Rover has done more than just drop in a more powerful engine. For starters, the vehicle has unique suspension tuning, with bespoke spring and damper rates that aim to make it more agile. Larger-diameter and solid anti-roll bars help reduce body roll in extreme cornering, while the unique Electronic Active Rear Differential introduces a Yaw Controller that allows fine control of its cornering attitude at the upper limits of adhesion.

Furthermore, careful calibration of the new Dynamic mode in the Terrain Response 2 system is said to give the new model a “more agile, playful and responsive character”.

You’ll be able to tell the V8 Defender apart by its unique 22-inch alloy wheels, quad exhaust pipes, Xenon Blue brake calipers and, of course, the badging.

The cabin is finished in bespoke Ebony Windsor Leather with Dinamica suede cloth and Robustec accents, while the steering wheel is decorated with Alcantara trim.

“The introduction of our V8 powertrain adds a new dimension of driving engagement and off-road capability to Defender,” said JLR chief product engineer David Hemming.

“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. We’ve also broadened the appeal of the entire Defender line-up with new derivatives, option packs and enhanced connectivity, so there really is a Defender for everyone.”

Defender XS Edition.

To that end, Land Rover has introduced a new XS Edition, which replaces the original Launch Edition, and which features a number of unique design features inside and out, including 20-inch Satin Grey alloy wheels and optional Khaki Grained Leather.

Furthermore, the company has upgraded the Defender models to the latest, and more user-friendly, Pivi Pro infotainment system, while also offering a larger 29cm screen option.

Finally, customers can choose from three new exterior design packs: Bright Pack, Extended Bright Pack and Extended Black Pack.

South African prices and specifications will be released closer to launch.

IOL Motoring

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