Land Rover Defender review – performance and 0-60 time

Performance is typically blunted by mass, but all engines have enough shove. At its quickest, it’ll take 5.6sec to reach 62mph

Evo rating
  • Versatility; intelligent design; impressive new in-line six powertrains; character
  • Heavy; expensive; petrols are thirsty

Compare the new Defender to its predecessor and its on-road performance will quite simply blow you away. Even at its least powerful, the 110 D200 will reach 62mph in 9.8sec, with the D250 taking nearly two seconds off that time at 8.0sec dead, and the D300 doing the sprint in just 6.7sec.

What the numbers don’t portray is how much more easily they are reached with the new six-cylinder diesel in place of the old four-pot. Gone is the grumbly workhorse, and in its place a far more grown-up powertrain that, although lacking a bit of charm, really makes for an ideal match to the Defender’s personality.

The only weak link in the range is the P300 petrol’s 7.1sec 0-62 time, which sounds impressive, but on the road the effect is dimmed by the need to really work the four-cylinder to make progress. The P400 straight-six will do the same sprint a second quicker at 6.1sec, and goes about it with more ease, even if it’s still not as well suited as the diesels. Yet for all the P400’s performance gusto, the fastest Defender for the moment is actually the plug-in hybrid, which uses its instantaneous torque to reach 62mph in just 5.4sec. What that feels like in a car approaching 2.7 tons, however, we’re yet to experience.

What’s important to reiterate in the new Defender though is not the importance of on-paper acceleration times, but rather that it now rarely feels underpowered. Its performance is ample, and no more is really needed in this sort of vehicle. Of course, Land Rover will soon release a further petrol V8 variant to appeal to those with a G63 AMG also on their shopping list, but for everyone else the current engine range has more than enough choice.

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