By on January 17, 2018

The Brits get a bunch of good stuff to which Americans have no access. Yorkshire puddings. Grand Tour tapings. Walkers-branded potato chips from the makers of Lay’s. Okay, maybe the last one makes no difference.

Chalk up another win for the old country, though, as they’ll soon be able to hand over 150,000 of the finest British pounds in exchange for the most-powerful Land Rover Defender ever to roll out of the factory gates.

The 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8 produces 400 horsepower and about 380 lb-ft of torque. These numbers are well north of the standard Defender, which delivered 120 horses and 265 units of twist. The company says it’ll scamper from 0-60 mph in about five and a half seconds. Just don’t try that trick while fox hunting in the North. Hooked to the V8 is an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.

The Defender Works V8 pays homage to the early high-powered engines in both the 1979 Series III Stage 1 V8 models and subsequent Defenders including the 50th Anniversary Edition. These two machines are highly sought after by enthusiasts and there’s no reason to think this newest ‘roided-out Defender will do anything but appreciate in value, either.

“The idea of reintroducing a V8 Defender was something we were discussing as far back as 2014, when we were still building the Defender in Solihull,” said Tim Hannig, Classic Director at JLR. “We knew the demand was there for a powerful and fast Defender; the Land Rover authenticity is the ultimate finishing touch for discerning clients purchasing these collector’s edition Defenders.”

Eight standard body colors include two satin finishes that will contrasting with a Santorini Black roof, wheel arches, and front grille. Land Rover will sprinkle machined aluminium on the door handles, fuel filler cap, and Defender bonnet hood lettering. A lighting upgrade includes LED peepers.

Snazzy ‘Windsor Leather’ interior trim covers the dashboard, door panels, and headliner. Recaro sports seats keep the driver and passenger in place while bouncing over the Cotswolds. Land Rover Classic’s own Classic Infotainment System is also fitted, keeping things looking appropriately retro while not forcing customers the indignity of doing without modern electronic conveniences.

Both the stumpy 90 and long-of-leg 110 wheelbase Defender Works V8 derivatives will be available to purchase direct from Land Rover Classic. In the UK, prices will start from £150,000 for a 90-spec, which converts to just over $200,000 at today’s exchange rates. The V8 powertrain will be fitted to just 150 specially selected and re-engineered Defenders.

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22 Comments on “Want It? Can’t Have It: Land Rover to Build 400HP Defenders...”


  • avatar

    The interior accommodations are so comical here. Just an assemblage of long-disused LR bits from other models.

    And no airbag! I can’t believe the Euro NCAP board or what have you health and safety office didn’t shut production down years ago.

    And is that a Ford 5.0? Or a Jaguar one from the XFR.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      Jaguar AJ-8.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      The last time I saw such a silly inside door handle was on a $6500 base model GLC! But to this vehicle’s credit, the extra £145,000 does get you arm rests.

    • 0 avatar
      OliverTwist78

      “And no airbag! I can’t believe the Euro NCAP board or what have you health and safety office didn’t shut production down years ago.”

      Land Rover Defender was already grandfathered in when the rigorous safety regulations were enacted in the 1990s and 2000s. In fact, Defender was the LAST production vehicle to be sold in Europe without airbags when the production ended a few years ago.

      What killed the Defender was the difficulties in meeting increasingly rigorous emission control regulations. Meeting the regulations meant the new engines, which would nullify the ‘grandfather cause’.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s generous of them to allow such grandfathering. I can’t imagine that would happen in the US – which of course is why they had to stop shifting the Defender here, with the side impact regulations in the late ’90s.

        Good info though, didn’t know most of that stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      That steering wheel looks like it came off my John Deere lawn tractor. I like Defenders as much as the next guy but for that kinda money, there are a plethora of other 4WD rigs I’d rather have, with enough change left over for a new Ducati Superleggera.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        There are defender people, there are jeep people, there are f150 people etc. etc.

        I like this kind of stupidity.

        I dont look at it as ‘alternatives’ – is there an alternative to a Wrangler?

        I do think you are wasting your time with a JLR V8. Just use an LSX like god intended.

  • avatar
    phxmotor

    All well and good… but somebody put the steering wheel on the wrong side.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Smashing! Lovely whip, it is. Pip-pip.

  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    IF you want a powerful engine and elegant interior, why not just get a better handling, more comfortable riding Range Rover? Land Rovers are just that, land roving farm trucks. This is like me taking my old ’59 Chevy Apache and slapping an LS under the hood and sticking some nice leather inside the cab. The frame and suspension still has 1959 written all over it. The Defender actually has 1940’s design works in it. Great for fields, not high speeds.

    These are,… were (since they aren’t being made new since 2016) very capable, purpose built off road vehicles. If yo ureally want to impress us, remove the interior and the 400 hp engine and replace it with a more capable 200hp, 310 ft lb torque diesel engine that is actually reliable and dependable.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I’m sure it will come out on top in any comparison test done by the British car rags, which will also go into painful detail about its links to the British car industry.

  • avatar
    TonyP

    If I wanted a powerful, bare-bones, off-roader in the US, I would want a 70 series Land Cruiser. Preferably a Troopy since I hate my spine.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    a) Britain has nothing on America for processed chips.

    b) Sounds fun enough. All these types of vehicles (big engine where it doesn’t belong) are horribly stupid and really fun.

    Every year cars keep moving toward the averages and I’m glad that companies still let some low volume, but interesting cars through the grinder.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      Agreed, and there needs to be a LOT more stupid, fun vehicles. Mpgs, emissions, and crash stars be damned…life is WAAAAYYYY to short to shclepp along in boring ass mobility pods like cammacords and cuvs.

  • avatar
    St.George

    Much want, only a lottery win away!!

  • avatar
    redapple

    Silly car.
    Lease a new Range Rover Diesel instead.
    Huge step up in refinement and comfort.
    (My first Rule of car ownership. Avoid like hell, European cars. But if the bug does bite; LEASE!)

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Hey Jeep, ARE YOU LISTENING?!?! If LR can put V8’s into refurbished Defenders, why can’t we have Hemi Wranglers? A freshened ‘03-‘06 TJ-L with a 345 Hemi, 6spd manual and a half cab conversion is the truck I would beg borrow or steal for!

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    How about a “milspec” version with that 5.0?

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Can’t wait for the next Defender I genuinely think people will be blown away by its capability though I think some purest will be very angry…

  • avatar
    markf

    Those 400 HP are not gonna help much when it’s broken down on the side of the highway.

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