Almost a year ago, Land Rover announced that the Defender would be making a comeback in North America. Sales are already underway but dealers are still awaiting the arrival of the V8 model. It hasn’t even made its debut yet, but a new batch of spy photos shows development moving forward.
A test prototype of the Defender V8 was recently captured by our spy photographers performing high speed tests on the Nurburgring. It’s a little strange to see such an off-road-focused SUV on the track, but the engineers at the British company probably want to make sure it performs as well on the pavement as it does off the road.
This time, Land Rover uses a different test car from the previous spy photos. It’s an all-black Defender with four tailpipes at the rear and massive brakes with red calipers. Aside from the exhaust, this Defender is pretty much identical to the model currently available in showrooms.
Reports from 2019 suggested the Defender V8 could use a version of BMW’s 4.4-liter V8 under the hood. This is not confirmed at this point, but it’s now somewhat of an industry secret after the two companies signed a powertrain deal some time ago.
In its premium form, the eight-cylinder unit delivers 617 horsepower (460 kilowatts) and 553 pound-feet (750 Newton-meters), but don’t expect that kind of horsepower to be offered for all- Coventry ground. Instead, it is said on the street that we could consider a 500 hp (373 kW) engine, which will make the Defender V8 a credible rival to the Mercedes-AMG G63.
Although this prototype appears to be practically ready to hit production lines, we don’t expect the model to go on sale until the second half of 2021. We have no information regarding the automaker’s plans to offer the V8 in both four-door Defenders. 110 and the two-door Defender 90.