These are happy tears: Land Rover stuffs a V8 into the Defender

The new Land Rover Defender is a great machine. It’s priced well, can go anywhere, and manages to blend its heritage appeal with modern styling and interior tech. I truly enjoy the time I’ve spend driving one and have honestly played the money game in my head to figure out how to own one. Before today, the choice of which to get was easy for me personally; I’d like a Defender 110 P400 with the 395 horsepower inline-6. That has now changed. Land Rover is adding a V8 version to the Defender lineup, and it’s available on both the 90 and 110 body styles.

Defender V8

The 2022 Land Rover Defender V8 is fitted with a 5.0-liter supercharged eight-cylinder mill cranking out 518 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. That’s good for a 4.9 second 0-60 dash in the Defender 90 V8. These trucks also get larger anti-roll bars, an active rear differential with a yaw controller feature, and revised tuning to the Terrain Response 2 system. These V8 models wear large 15″ front brakes with blue calipers, feature quad exhaust outlets, and also utilize 22″ wheels. That last bit is a shame because the last time I took a Land Rover product off-road and it was wearing 22″ wheels, it did not end well. I know you need to clear those brakes, but I’d find the smallest diameter wheel capable of doing so and then adding chunky rubber around it. These Defender V8s have a beefy engine, let’s give them beefy wheels to boot.

Oddly, Land Rover is locking in the color choices on these trucks as well. If you want the V8 you can only choose to have it painted in Grey, White, or Black. That’s insanely boring on their part. Especially when the four and six-cylinder models have some wonderful paint options.

There’s no word yet on the price point for these, but an I6 Defender tops out around $80k before adding in options. It can easily jump to right about $100k if you check every box. That said, I wouldn’t be shocked if the D90 V8 starts around $90k and the D110 V8 is just about $100k to start. Either way, these things will likely be a roaring, ripping good time… tire-ripping too until you upgrade the rubber bits.

Defender V8 Defender V8 Defender V8

11 Comments

  1. I was happy with the powertrain options– I just don’t like the design. It’s difficult for me to look at the current 110 next to a 2016 model and not prefer the old one.

    A V8 option is never a bad idea, though.

    1. IDK what a 2016 model looks like, but I was just looking at the rear 3/4 view of this thing and happily seeing a lot of my old 109 in it. The front view is also very… British.

  2. <5 seconds to 60 mph in a Defender…We live in insane times. When I explained to my son recently that I grew up thinking <10s cars were fast, he looked at me as if I was some kind of fossil.

    1. Truth. I think the best I could do in my 390 V8 Mercury as a teenager was just under 7 seconds, and that felt wicked fast. But that car was more about torque– it was great for putting you deep into the seat backs at launch, but ran out of breath early in the revs. Today’s cars have much more usable power bands.

      1. I think my Tbird and it’s 352 is somewhere around 9 seconds to 60 (Depending on who you read, it’s either around 7 or more than 10. Seat of the pants says closer to the latter.), if you got your Mercury under 7 that’s impressive.

        My Mazda3 was around 7.5 and my 325Ci is closer to 7 flat. My RSX Type S was theoretically a 6.0 car, but I think you had to abuse it to get there. Probably closer to 6.5-7 in typical driving.

        Here’s the crazy thing. My wife’s new Accord Hybrid is good for 6.7 seconds to 60.

  3. But the steelies and the non-greyscale colours are how the Defender looks best! I assume though, wait a couple years and send enough money their way, and they’ll make the required changes. V8 D90 is pretty great though.

  4. Having a sub-5 sec version that is also useless offroad further illustrates what is wrong with the new Defender. Not a vehicle you would want to be relying on away from civilisation and phone service.

    I saw a suggestion that they might be doing a pickup version, but I’m not holding my breath.

    1. Well at least you can drive yourself out of gravel traps or maybe pulling the armco straight after spinning off at the Nurburgring, like we all need to do on a regular basis :o)

  5. I like the dark black/gray color restriction for the V8. The other defenders look so happy and cheerful, it’s fitting for the powerful bruiser to look imposing. The outgoing defender had a sinister presence this one hasn’t yet achieved.

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