With Lexus’ surprise IS 500 announcement on Monday, it’s already been a pretty good week for V8 fans. It’s about to get even better, though, because for the 4×4’s 2022 model year, Land Rover is offering the Defender with eight glorious cylinders. Don’t you just love it when rumors and spy shots actually end up meaning something? Up until now, the reborn Defender has only been available with either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a 3.0-liter straight-six.
Available in both two-door 90 and four-door 110 body styles, the 2022 Land Rover Defender V8 uses a 5.0-liter supercharged engine good for 518 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. Fed through an eight-speed automatic transmission, that’s enough to get the boxy, British off-roader to 60 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 149 mph, officially making it the fastest and most powerful production Defender ever.
Don’t think LR engineers have swapped in a V8 and called it a day, though, because in order to cope with the increased performance, the hot-rod Defender receives its own, bespoke chassis settings, different gearbox tuning, its own spring and damper rates, thicker anti-roll bars, and a new Electronic Active Rear Differential with Yaw Controller. There’s even a new, V8-exclusive Dynamic drive mode integrated into the existing terrain select system which sharpens the throttle response, firms up the Continuous Variable Dampers, and “enhances” the V8’s sound, likely through speakers.
In addition to being the fastest and most powerful Defender of them all, Land Rover also says the V8 is the most “capable and dynamic” Defender you can get. Quad exhausts cheekily slanted downward (like an upside-down Jaguar F-Type R), 22-inch wheels, and blue brake calipers clamping onto a set of 15-inch front discs do their part in letting the neighbors know this. An Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel with satin chrome shift paddles serves to remind the driver they’re in something special in case the “enhanced” and supercharged V8 noises don’t.
Hopefully interested parties are fans of shades because, for whatever reason, the 2022 Land Rover Defender V8 is only available in white, gray, or black. Those wanting a neon purple example will just have to get it wrapped. Although this being a new, V8-powered Defender, it could come with an unremovable anime waifu livery (don’t Google that at work) and it’d still be cool. Speaking of things that don’t matter in the presence of a V8, the 2022 Defender also receives a bigger 11.4-inch infotainment touchscreen option, standard wireless charging, and a handful of new trims, one of which is called the Carpathian, for some reason.
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