2022 Land Rover Defender V8 revealed – £100k supercharged off-roader gets 518bhp

The Land Rover Defender range continues to expand with its most powerful iteration yet

Land Rover has revealed its first model-year update for the Defender, replacing the First Edition, introducing some tech updates, oh, and stuffing the engine bay full of supercharged V8. The new Defender V8 will be available in two high specifications starting at £98,505 for the 90 and £101,150 for the 110. 

The supercharged 5-litre V8 engine itself isn’t JLR’s most potent variant – this one is rated at 518bhp, with 461lb ft of torque – but it still makes the Defender V8 90 the quickest version yet, reaching 62mph in 5.2sec. Top speed is rated at 149mph, although we’re not sure how much faster we’d really want to go in something like a Defender. 

The V8 engine is connected to the usual eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, which can be operated by paddles behind the wheel for the first time in a Defender. Power is sent to all four wheels via the Defender’s usual highly configurable all-wheel-drive system and adaptive air suspension package, plus it still has all its off-road gubbins such as locking differentials and Terrain Response system.

Both V8 models receive unique suspension and a distinct transmission calibration, including beefed-up anti-roll bars and a new active rear differential. The chassis also incorporates torque vectoring by braking to improve on-road response without compromising off-road ability too much, while a Dynamic mode has been added to the Terrain Response system for the first time in a Defender.

The Defender V8’s visual changes are relatively subtle, with the only changes being the quad exhaust outlets and blue brake calipers. Given these V8s are specific models, rather than just a new powertrain option, they’re only available in a limited range of colours and trims. Standard V8s come exclusively in white, black or grey, which are then contrasted with black elements on the roof and standard 22-inch wheels. 

There is also the range-topping Defender V8 Carpathian Edition, which adds more bespoke styling elements such as a black bonnet and tailgate, satin protective film on the paintwork, an Alcantara-wrapped wheel and black leather/suede trim. 

The wider MY22 update is otherwise subtle, with First Edition models replaced by a new XS Edition trim line, an optional 11.4-inch infotainment screen upgrade as seen in other JLR models and a few new exterior design packs giving buyers yet more personalisation options.

While the new Defender V8 will invariably bring more performance and on-road capability to the range than any other model, it’s still overshadowed by the 603bhp Mercedes-AMG G63 in terms of price and performance. Whether Land Rover plans to close this gap with a yet more powerful model – possibly with input from JLR’s SVO department – remains to be seen, but given the fiscal success AMG has gained from its most powerful G-wagen, we’d suggest it’s not completely out of the question. 

Recommended

2023 BMW X5 M spied – update incoming for the lairy Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT rival
BMW X5 M Comp LCI – front
Spy shots

2023 BMW X5 M spied – update incoming for the lairy Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT rival

An updated version of the wild BMW X5 M Competition is nearly ready to join BMW M’s impressive fleet
12 Aug 2022
New high performance Lamborghini Urus derivative breaks Pikes Peak SUV record
Lamborghini Urus Performante pikes – cover
News

New high performance Lamborghini Urus derivative breaks Pikes Peak SUV record

Lamborghini’s incoming top-spec Urus has demolished the Bentley Bentayga’s old Pikes Peak record
10 Aug 2022
Range Rover 2022 review – new generation icon sits in a class of its own
Range Rover 2022 review – front tracking
Reviews

Range Rover 2022 review – new generation icon sits in a class of its own

Doubling down on a Range Rover’s best bits, while polishing some of its worst – the all-new model is everything you expected, and hoped, it would be
22 Jul 2022
Bowler Defender Challenge 2022 review – the ultimate off-road toy?
Bowler Defender Challenge
Land Rover Defender

Bowler Defender Challenge 2022 review – the ultimate off-road toy?

Off-road rallying is motorsport at its most extreme, and the Bowler Defender is one way to travel absurdly quickly across the toughest terrain. We str…
10 Jun 2022

Most Popular

2022 Porsche 911 GT3 RS revealed with motorsport-inspired aero and 517bhp
New 992 911 GT3 RS
News

2022 Porsche 911 GT3 RS revealed with motorsport-inspired aero and 517bhp

Porsche launches the most extreme 911 GT3 RS to date, with a focus on track days that’s been inspired through its motorsport success
17 Aug 2022
Aston Martin DBR22 revealed – an open-top V12 rival to the Ferrari Monza SP2
Aston Martin DBR22 - front quarter
News

Aston Martin DBR22 revealed – an open-top V12 rival to the Ferrari Monza SP2

It’s another screen-less low-volume supercar, but the new DBR22 could pinpoint the future of Aston Martin design
15 Aug 2022
Polestar 6 roadster confirmed for 2026 launch – production version of the O2 concept
Polestar O2
News

Polestar 6 roadster confirmed for 2026 launch – production version of the O2 concept

Polestar is putting its stunning O2 concept into production, transforming into the Polestar 6
16 Aug 2022