Production of the Land Rover Defender officially came to an end in January, 2016, but Land Rover has announced a return – of sorts – for the classic off-roader in the form of the ‘Defender Works V8’.
The Defender Works V8 is not a new model, rather a programme of recommissioning and re-engineering existing Defenders with a number of new features. The programme will be available on 90 and 110 wheelbase Defender models, but production will be limited to 150 units for Land Rover’s 70th Anniversary this year.
The re-engineering process involves transplanting a 5.0-litre, naturally-aspirated V8 engine, along with a modern ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Depending on the base model, this package produces a claimed 297kW and 515Nm (the standard Defender delivered 90kW and 360Nm), with a sub-6-second 0-100km/h time and 170km/h top speed.
Suspension and brakes are also upgraded, bi-LED headlights are added and there’ll be unique 18-inch ‘Sawtooth’ alloys on 265/65 R18 all-terrain tyres, while the interior gets full Windsor Leather trim, Recaro sports seats and Jaguar Land Rover’s Classic Infotainment System.
JLR Classic says that some of the components used in the Defender Works V8 will be offered separately for Defender owners to upgrade and enhance their vehicles.
“The idea of reintroducing a V8 Defender was something we were discussing as far back as 2014, when we were still building the Defender,” said Tim Hannig, Director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic.
“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.”
At present, the Defender Works V8 will only be offered in the UK and Middle East/North African markets, priced from £150,000 (AU$213,000 approx., direct conversion). There are no plans to make the model available in Australia or other world markets.