Report: Land Rover Considering More Oomph for Defender

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
report land rover considering more oomph for defender

The rumor mill is always, always churning. Some stuff turns out to be true, some not, but some reports catch my eye more than others.

Dropping eight cylinders of fury into the two-door version of the Land Rover Defender 90 is something that gets me to perk up. Even if it’s an unconfirmed rumor as of now.

Right now, American Defender buyers get either an inline-six, or soon enough, a turbo-four. Motor Trend is reporting that a V8 could be on the way, possibly available in both the 90 and possibly in a larger Defender 130 that seats eight. An SVR version of the 90 could be available.

MT seems to think the company’s 5.0-liter V8 is too old and that a partnership with BMW might provide the engine.

Dare we dream? V8-power in a short, boxy off-roader? Including in the two-door 90? Could be some fun to be had.

Also, with Jeep having a Wrangler concept with V8 power, could this news further push Ford to plop a V8 in a version of the upcoming Bronco? Maybe the Coyote V8 with a manual?

I have the vapors.

[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]

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  • Tstag Tstag on Nov 05, 2020

    A V8 Defender 90 would be my guilty pleasure. JLR need a HEMI equivalent because I might do pee pee in my pants at that thought

  • Cwallace Cwallace on Nov 05, 2020

    If you want a Land Rover with a BMW V8 in it, then the 2005-2009 LR3 is what you're after. You'll get all the counterintuitive engineering and indifferent build quality of the newer model, long-since depreciated.

    • Kyree Kyree on Nov 05, 2020

      That is incorrect. The Land Rover that had a BMW V8 was the early run of the L322 (third-generation) Range Rover, which was 2002/2003-2005. This is because BMW owned Land Rover and the rest of Rover Group when the L322 was developed. In keeping with BMW naming schemes, it was even codenamed L30. They sold Lan Rover to Ford in the middle of the L322's development, but early models are basically BMWs with British coachwork, containing the BMW M62 (4.4-liter) V8, the same ZF 5AT that BMW used and a mix of E38 and E39 electronics. There was also a BMW M56 (2.9-liter) diesel I6 on offer in other markets. In 2006, Ford gave the exterior of the L322 its facelift, nixed most of the BMW computers, and replaced the BMW engine with the Jaguar AJ41 (4.4-liter N/A) and AJ33S (4.2-liter supercharged) V8 engines. It also got a ZF 6AT that year. In 2007, the interior of the L322 was facelifted. In 2010, the L322 received a second facelift, moving to the Jaguar AJ133 (5.0-liter N/A and supercharged) engines. Meanwhile, the L319 Discovery 3/LR3 (2005-2009) was developed entirely under Ford's ownership of Land Rover, and did not use any BMW components. In the U.S., the base engine was the Ford Cologne (4.0-liter) V6 also used in the Explorer. You could upgrade to the same aforementioned Jaguar 4.4-liter N/A V8. Despite the LR3 sharing a base engine with the Explorer, it was not otherwise related to the Explorer. It did, however, share a platform and ladder frame with the first-generation (2006-2013) Range Rover Sport. In 2010, the Discovery 3/LR3 became the LR4, received a major facelift and thorough interior redesign, and gained the 5.0-liter N/A V8 as the sole engine in this market. In 2014, it moved to the Jaguar AJ126 (3.0-liter supercharged) V6. The funny thing about the AJ126 is that it quite literally uses the same block as the Jaguar V8s, only two of the cylinder holes are blanked, the bores are smaller, and there are some balancing shafts, since 90-degree V8s are not ideal.

  • Kyree Kyree on Nov 06, 2020

    I think everyone is half-right, here. Jaguar and Land Rover may have been *considering* the use of BMW V8s to introduce as early as this year. As I pointed out elsewhere, they briefly used a BMW V8 in the earliest run of the third-generation Range Rover, as that generation was developed when BMW owned Land Rover and used BMW engineering. Since 2005/2006, Land Rover has been using the Jaguar AJV8 series, introduced sometime around 1998 and developed while Jaguar was under Ford. The latest iteration of the AJV8 is a supercharged 5.0-liter, most recognizable in the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport Supercharged/Autobiography/SVR variants. There was also a naturally-aspirated version of the 5.0-liter, but it didn't survive past MY2013. Despite the fact that Jaguar and Land Rover haven't been under Ford in over ten years, Ford has been building the AJV8 under contract at its Bridgend, UK engine plant. However, Ford shut the plant shut down a couple of months ago. Jaguar/Land Rover had ample notice that this would occur, and so ordered a surplus of the engines, while the company figured out what to do. This is when they must have considered discontinuing it altogether, and simply using BMW engines. However, the decision was made that Jaguar/Land Rover will manufacture the engine itself from now on, in its Wolverhampton facility. The tooling for that will be transferred from the shuttered Ford facility. There was also an AJV6, which was a V6 done on the cheap. It used the same block as the V8, but with two cylinders blanked, smaller bores, and balancing shafts, since 90-degree V6s are inherently unbalanced. You may know this engine as the 3.0-liter supercharged V6, and it was more or less Jaguar/Land Rover's volume engine between about 2013 and 2019. It is unclear whether Ford had been manufacturing that engine as well--since it was a derivative of the AJV8--but I would guess that they had. Nevertheless, it's a moot point, because that engine was discontinued in favor of the 3.0-liter Ingenium MHEV I6 that is now the premium engine on the Defender. When the EU7 emissions roll out in five years or so, they may finally phase out the Jaguar AJV8. Which will be sad, because I think it's the very last British V8, now that the 6.75-liter Bentley/Rolls-Royce V8 has ended production with the discontinuation of the Mulsanne.

  • Tstag Tstag on Nov 06, 2020

    JLR don’t sell enough V8’s to justify developing their own engine. They would most likely use the Ford AJV8 they’ve just bought the tooling for. They plan to keep that going for 3 to 5 years at which point I understand they might move to a BMW engine. I suspect BMW will give them a good deal as the market for even their V8 is becoming limited. It’s a real problem for European car makers now.