Cars > Peek

The Land Rover Defender turns into a speed machine with a V8 engine

With over 500 horses, this is the fastest production Defender ever

A wrap protects the Carpathian Edition's paint job. PHOTO FROM LAND ROVER

While the Land Rover Defender is designed to practically munch through all types of terrain, one thing it isn’t built for is speed. Sure, it will surely go faster than Usain Bolt at full pelt, but it’s not the ideal weapon of choice for showing up at a drag strip. But someone at Land Rover’s product planning department thought that giving the Defender a little more power for the quarter-mile run was a good excuse to shove something quite potent under the off-roader’s boxy hood.

The V8 is meant to make the Defender more enjoyable on twisty roads and loose gravel. PHOTOS FROM LAND ROVER

The British automaker didn’t have to look far for a suitable powerplant. With V8 engines doing duty in a variety of JLR models, the engine of choice for the Defender was quite obvious. The 5.0-liter heart pumps out 518hp and 625Nm with the help of a supercharger. In line with this engine’s street-oriented purpose, a new Dynamic mode in the Defender V8’s Terrain Response selector switch optimizes the powertrain for better handling on tarmac or dirt roads.

A supercharger gives the 5.0-liter engine muscles to the tune of 518hp. PHOTO FROM LAND ROVER

The V8 engine is available for both 90 and 110 body styles. The former, in particular, has a 0-to-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds, making it the fastest and most powerful Defender ever made. Showing off the car’s alpha-male status is a unique interior and exterior styling package that includes an Ebony Windsor leather interior, an Alcantara steering wheel, 22-inch alloy wheels, and 20-inch brakes with Xenon Blue calipers.

The components of this vehicle are badass. PHOTOS FROM LAND ROVER

If simply having the fire-breathing engine isn’t enough, the Defender V8 has a special version called the Carpathian Edition—named after the car’s exclusive Carpathian Gray paint job. This unique (and possibly expensive) livery is protected by a recyclable thin film that gives it a semi-matte look and protects it from flying debris. Contrasting this color is Narvik Black that wraps the hood, the roof and the tailgate.

For the first time ever, the Terrain Response system gets a Dynamic mode. PHOTO FROM LAND ROVER

Land Rover enthusiasts still continue to be divided over the new Defender’s purity as an off-roader. With the nameplate featuring high-tech hybrid powertrains for the first time, a V8 motor will probably spark new arguments about the vehicle’s intended role and market. But Land Rover is all about making the Defender experience more accessible to a wider clientele, and the more powerful engine will certainly broaden its appeal.

Miggi Solidum

Professionally speaking, Miggi is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He pens the column ‘G-Force’.