Want It? Can't Have It: Land Rover to Build 400HP Defenders

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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3 of 22 comments
  • Tstag Tstag on Jan 17, 2018

    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...

  • Markf Markf on Jan 17, 2018

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

    • Spreadsheet monkey Spreadsheet monkey on Jan 18, 2018

      There are plenty of sticks to beat British cars with, but the 5.0 AJ-V8 engine is not one of them. It's a well-proven engine.

  • ToolGuy Torque to Pork Ratio™ (torquelages/curb weight) ain't looking amazing.
  • FreedMike I had no idea the 500X was even being sold here anymore.
  • FreedMike The company logo needs to be bigger on the tailgate - it can't be deciphered easily from Pluto.
  • ToolGuy On a not-long drive last night to the next county over, my spouse grilled me about Rivian and Rivian products. So congratulations, Rivian, you are officially on the Non-Enthusiast Radar.
  • Cprescott My 2016 Hyundai that I bought in January 2019 cost $13k and takes less than 10 minutes to fuel and gets over 500 miles to a tank - lifetime average MPG of 45. Golf carts make no sense at all.