Land Rover redesigned the Defender and announced the reintroduction of the model in North America last September. The new off-road’s supply was met by rapid demand in the United States now that it is on sale, and that was before the coveted V8 model was released. However, we know it’s coming. A new batch of spy photos shows Land Rover continuing to develop the V8-powered Defender, although the shots aren’t that different from others we’ve seen before.
The new photos show the Land Rover without camouflage, although Land Rover has little reason to hide the SUV’s design when the sheet metal does all the work. The manufacturer is testing the V8-powered Defender which will join the four and six-cylinder engines already offered in the new vehicle. The tell is the Defender’s tailpipes – four square tailpipes with a huge muffler between them.
While we know there’s a V8 under the hood, we don’t know its size or origin. Reports from last year suggested that Land Rover’s 5.0-liter V8 would be on the way out, replaced by a BMW-sourced 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. It is capable of producing up to 617 horsepower (460 kilowatts) and 553 pound-feet (750 Newton-meters) of torque; however, don’t expect that kind of power to find its way into the Defender. Land Rover will likely detune the plant to reduce production.
We don’t know if Land Rover will offer the V8 in both the four-door Defender 110 and the two-door Defender 90. So far, every spy shot of the V8-powered Defender has been of the larger 110 model. The Defender V8 is expected to arrive next year, so everyone’s guessing when there will be a reveal. While waiting for that to happen, expect more spy photos on the unmanned Defenders in the months to come, as we try to determine which engine it uses.