V8 Land Rover Defender spotted at the Nurburgring
The unusual testing for the all-new Defender suggests that it may be more fun than expected
With the new Defender in all its wonderful 90, 110 and Hard Top variants being released earlier this year to widespread critical acclaim, many people were left wondering if there would be a 'racy' version, ideally with a thumping great V8 in the front of it?
Well wonder no more, as it seems our prayers have been answered. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) have now been spotted testing a V8 version of the latest defender at the ever-infamous Nurburgring - an odd choice for such a vehicle perhaps, but we'll come to that later.
Powered by JLRs 5.0l V8 'AJ' Supercharged engine, it is also expected that the new V8 Defender will be the last of JLRs cars to run this well-loved engine before the plant shift towards using a BMW-sourced 4.4 litre turbo V8 akin to those seen in the bigger 'M' cars, therefore we expect the V8 Defender will be somewhat of a limited-run, low-numbers model.
Visual changes are limited to some red brake calipers (as we all know, red calipers are an instant +10hp boost) and a quad-exit exhaust system, which JLR reserve only for use on V8 cars. Allegedly JLRs specialist SVO tuning outfit aren't involved with this project, meaning the V8 defender will likely be more paired-back than its Range Rover SVR stablemate, with a rumoured horsepower figure of around 500hp - still more than enough for a vehicle such as this.
The choice to test at the Nurburgring is an interesting one however, as this isn't where you'd typically expect to see such a car being put through its paces, though it does suggest that the V8 Defenders' on-road capabilities will hold a candle to its incredible off-road prowess, meaning it will be an overall more balanced performance car than the standard 90 or 110 models.
Hopefully we'll see a V8 offered in the 90 spec three-door Defender, though as with any project such as this JLR are very tight-lipped about the whole thing, quite understandably. We'd expect to see the V8 defender in the spotlight towards the end of 2020 if not the start of 2021, being rolled out as an MY21 vehicle.