Land Rover launched the new Defender in September, but unlike Mercedes with the latest G-Wagen, the company chose to convert the Defender from body-on-frame construction to a more modern unibody architecture. While the new British SUV won’t compete with its German counterpart for boxiness, a range-topping version may soon rival it for raw power.
AutoExpress in the U.K. is reporting that Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations is working on a Defender SVR. That Defender, as part of BMW’s ongoing technical partnership with Jaguar Land Rover, would get the BMW turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine (used in the X6 M), which, in that spec, would produce more than 500 horsepower. The hot SUV, per the report, could arrive at dealers in the next 18 months.
The BMW V8 would be a significant power upgrade over the Defender’s current biggest engine, the 395-horsepower inline-six used in the Range Rover Sport. The SVR Range Rover Sport starts at $114,500, more than $30,000 above the inline-six version. If that figure is anything to judge by, a Defender SVR will rival the notably expensive G-Class on six-figure price tag as well.
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