Well, what do you know, Land Rover is making fans around the world happy by presenting a new version of the iconic Defender… and it’s not the new generation, but a series of 150 examples part of the line that ceased production two years ago, in January 2016.
This is the power of having a major heritage – Land Rover is able to propose, through its Jaguar Land Rover Classic unit from Coventry, a new limited edition of no less than 150 examples of a model that actually ceased production no less than two years ago. It’s actually a logical step – this year both the Jeep Wrangler and the Mercedes-Benz G Class have been thoroughly revised with new generations and Land Rover is still diligently working on its next Defender, which most likely will end up as a reimagination of the classic, not a continuation generation. And on top of that, Land Rover is celebrating 70 years of existence – with the Series I being a direct predecessor of the out of production Defender. Sum all that and Land Rover would have had a major conundrum on its hands – which has been swiftly resolved with this Defender Works V8.
It’s a stroke of genius – the brand is giving a tribute to the classic Defender by presenting a… classic Defender. This is a limited edition run of 150 old-style Defenders that have gone through the expert hands of the craftspeople working at the Jaguar Land Rover Classic division. Naturally, it will command huge premiums among fans and be used by the company throughout the year during the various celebrations of its 70th anniversary. The old/new Defender Works V8 packs a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 churning a massive 405 PS and 515 Newton-meters (380 pound-feet) of torque, which coincidentally means it’s the most powerful official Defender ever produced. By the way, brace for the pricing – 90 and 110 wheelbase Defender Works V8 are available, with the most affordable of them being at least £150,000 at home in the UK.
“It’s fitting that we’ve been able to release the full potential of the iconic Defender, whose much-loved shape remains synonymous with Land Rover, 70 years since it was seen in public for the first time,” said Jaguar Land Rover Classic director Tim Hannig. “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. 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.”
It’s no doubt terrifying that an old-school off-roader with a serious lack of on-street skills will be able to pack such a punch and reach 62 mph (100 kph) in just 5.6 seconds while on its way towards a bonkers 106 mph (170 kph) limited top speed. Naturally, the engineers made sure it will at least survive such velocities – the Defender Works V8 for example has a new eight-speed ZF automatic transmission with sport mode, upgraded brakes and a modified handling kit (springs, dampers and anti-roll bars). Visuals are being topped out by the series-exclusive 18-inch diamond-turned Sawtooth alloy wheels and 265/65 R18 all-terrain tires. There are also eight body colors, two of them of the satin variety, contrasted by a Santorini Black roof, wheel arches and front grille – while finishers include machined aluminum door handles, fuel filler cap and Defender hood lettering. Standard perks also include bi-LED headlamps, a full Windsor leather trim treatment inside, Recaro sports seats and Land Rover Classic’s very Classic Infotainment System.