Land Rover has announced a limited-edition high-performance version of the iconic Defender, with up to 150 V8-powered examples re-engineered to celebrate the marque’s 70th anniversary this year.
The Defender Works V8 pays homage to the early high-powered engines in both the Series III Stage 1 V8 from 1979 and subsequent Defenders including the 50th Anniversary Edition, which are highly sought after by enthusiasts and collectors today.
Defender Works V8 is the most powerful and fastest version that Land Rover has ever created. The 5.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol V8 powertrain produces 405PS and 515 Nm of torque (the standard Defender delivered 122PS and 360 Nm). The Defender Works V8 will accelerate from 0-60mph in 5.6sec, while top speed is increased to 106mph.
Tim Hannig, Jaguar Land Rover Classic Director, said: “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.
“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.”
The V8 powertrain will be fitted to 150 specially-selected and re-engineered Defenders for the 70th Edition, complemented by an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission with sport mode, uprated brakes and handling kit (springs, dampers and anti-roll bars), plus exclusive 18-inch diamond-turned Sawtooth alloy wheels and 265/65 R18 all-terrain tyres.
Eight standard body colours include two satin finishes – contrasting with a Santorini Black roof, wheel arches and front grille – finished with machined aluminium door handles, fuel filler cap and Defender bonnet lettering. A comprehensive lighting upgrade includes bi-LED headlamps.
Full Windsor Leather interior trim covers the dashboard, door panels, headlining and Recaro sports seats. Land Rover Classic’s own Classic Infotainment System is also fitted.
Both 90 and 110 wheelbase Defender Works V8 derivatives will be available to purchase direct from Land Rover Classic, with prices starting from £150,000 for a 90 in the UK.
A select number of high-performance upgrades inspired by Defender Works V8 will also be available soon from Land Rover Classic, including power upgrades for the TDCi diesel engine, fast-road suspension and braking kits.
The Defender Works V8 is available in the United Kingdom, and MENA markets on a personal import basis. European market availability is also on an individual import basis, subject to rules on importation of vehicle conversions.
V8 powertrains in the Land Rover Defender and its production predecessors started with the Series III Stage 1 V8 of 1979. The carburetted 3.5-litre Rover V8 produced 90bhp.
The Land Rover One Ten from 1983, and Ninety from 1984, used the same 3.5-litre Rover V8 engine as the Series III Stage 1 V8, but in 113bhp form, uprated to 135bhp from 1987.
In 1998, the fuel-injected 190bhp 4.0-litre V8 from the second-generation Range Rover was fitted to a limited run of 50th Anniversary Defender 90s, with a four-speed automatic transmission.
The 5-litre naturally-aspirated 2018 Defender Works V8 is the first official V8-powered Land Rover Defender to be introduced since 1998.
TECHNICAL DATA LAND ROVER DEFENDER WORKS V8 – 70TH EDITION:
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
Engine capacity (cc) 4,999
Cylinders V8 naturally-aspirated petrol (EU5)
Power PS 405 @ 6,000rpm
Torque Nm 515 @ 5,000rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic with Pistol Shifter, All-Wheel Drive, two-speed transfer box, heavy-duty front and rear differentials, torque-biasing centre differential
Front and rear suspension Front: live beam axle, coil springs, telescopic dampers. Panhard rod and Radius arms. Anti-roll bar
Rear: live beam axle, coil springs, telescopic dampers. ‘A’ frame and Trailing Links. Anti-roll bar.
Front brakes Servo-assisted 335mm discs, four-piston calipers
Rear brakes Servo-assisted 300mm discs, four-piston calipers
Wheels and tyres 18in diamond-turned Sawtooth alloy wheels, 265/65 R18 all-terrain tyres
Steering Recirculating ball, power-assisted
PERFORMANCE & ECONOMY
0-60mph (sec) 5.6 (*90 Station Wagon)
Top speed (mph) 106 (limited)