Land Rover Is Giving the New Defender a Supercharged V8

The Land Rover Defender was already cool. Now, it boasts a 518-hp V8 — and performance upgrades to go with it.

land rover defender
Nick Dimbleby

The all-new Land Rover Defender may have stoked up some controversy with its new looks (not that its designer really cares what the haters think). But regardless of what you think of its skin, it's one hell of an SUV — one that's slotting in nicely for people who want an off-roader more luxurious than a Wrangler or 4Runner but don't quite want to level up to a G-Wagen.

And now, it's getting even better. Land Rover just announced it's giving the new Defender a significant upgrade for 2022 — and the headline attraction is a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine making more than 500 horsepower.

Here's what you need to know.

defender v8 badge
Nick Dimbleby
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The V8 brings waaaay more power to the Defender

The Defender's new 5.0-liter supercharged 5.0-liter V8 puts out 518 horsepower (more than the Wrangler Rubicon 392) and 461 lb-ft of torque. The Defender 90 version will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 149 mph, according to Land Rover.

land rover defender screen
Nick Dimbleby
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The V8 is not just a power upgrade

The Defender V8 also comes with extra goodies that go beyond raw power. It boasts a unique suspension and transmission tuning. better-suited for the speedy driving that's a byproduct of more than 500 horses under the hood, including a new Dynamic mode in the Terrain Response System.

It also gets a larger anti-roll bar, a unique electronic active rear differential and a yaw controller to allow "fine control of the cornering attitude." In other words, this Land Rover should drift.

land rover defender 90
Nick Dimbleby
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You can get the V8 on the Defender 90 or 110

Jeep seldom bothers putting its best stuff in the two-door Wrangler, because only about 10 percent of customers buy it. But purists (if those exist yet for this car) will likely appreciate that Land Rover will let you go hog-wild with a V8-powered Defender 90.

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land rover defender
Nick Dimbleby
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There's also a Carpathian Edition

The Defender V8 will be available as a regular model and as a new top-of-the-line Carpathian edition. (No word yet on whether the engine can use Vigo's slime as an alternative fuel source.) The latter comes finished in Carpathian Grey with a contrasting Narvik Black roof, hood and tailgate, and is covered with a Land Rover Satin Protective Film that gives a semi-matte finish and protects against doing...y'know, Defender stuff.

land rover defender
Nick Dimbleby
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You'll be able to buy a V8 Defender this summer

The 2022 Defender models, including the new V8, arrive in the U.S. this summer...amusingly, before the new Bond film that was supposed to preview the 2020 model. Pricing for the new models is TBA, but expect a bit of a premium for those added cylinders.

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