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New Land Rover Defender gets welcome V8 power upgrade

Let’s be honest - the new Land Rover Defender has been polarising, to say the least, with many long-time Defender fans having plenty to say about the modernisation of a 4x4 classic, and many other petrolheads welcoming the Rover revolution.

Well, thanks to the addition of Land Rover’s potent 5.0-litre V8 to the mix, those nay-sayers might start warming up to Land Rover’s most important product in years. Until now, the new Defender has been offered with a selection of milder petrol and diesel engines, but the release of the V8 in both the Defender 90 and Defender 110 variants is a sign that Land Rover is not here to mess around.

In terms of pure power, the V8 produces an almighty 386kW, dwarfing the figures mustered up by other engine options. That kind of power - coupled with an unmistakable V8 grumble - will surely appeal to the most die-hard off-roaders among us, as well as the plethora of city-slicking Defender owners that has emerged over recent years.

The power upgrade turns the Defender into something of a speed demon, too, with the Defender 90 V8 capable of rocketing from 0-100km/h in just 5.2 seconds, topping out at 240km/h. That’s seriously quick for a vehicle of this size, especially considering its primary purpose is to be found off the tarmac.

The power has been kept in check by bespoke chassis alterations, bolstered by Land Rover’s advanced torque vectoring and traction control systems.

In addition to the introduction of the V8, Land Rover has unveiled two new trim lines. The XS Edition replaces the limited First Edition, while the range-topping Carpathian Edition adds several unique design elements to the already stylish Defender. Among them is a unique Carpathian Grey paint job, a contrasting black roof, bonnet, and tailgate, as well as striking Xenon Blue brake calipers.

The Defender’s Pivi Pro infotainment system has also received a welcome upgrade, also adding the option of a bigger 11.4-inch display. All V8 models also have Miko Suedecloth-finished seats, illuminated tread plates, and a sexy Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel.

Local pricing will be revealed closer to launch later this year.

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