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Land Rover Defender – 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
Price
from £63,585
  • Performance is typically blunted by mass, but all engines have enough shove. The V8 version can hit 60mph in less than 5sec
  • Heavy; expensive; petrols are thirsty

The Defender isn't a light car. Drive an early model with the old four-cylinder diesel and you'll be left in no doubt of that. Having said that, the current six-cylinders fare much better – the D250 completes the 0-62mph sprint in a respectable 8sec, with the D300 cutting 1.3sec from that.

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What the numbers don’t portray is that the straight-six diesels feel far more grown up and effortless than the four-pot – this is a powertrain that, although lacking a bit of charm, makes for an ideal match to the Defender’s personality.

The only weak link in the range is the P300. Its 7.1sec 0-62 time 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 non-V8 Defender 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.

Then there's the V8. We're not entirely sure the built-for-purpose Defender suits a shouty, big-chested engine, but there's no denying that this is the most characterful and potent of the bunch. The 5-litre supercharged unit is familiar from hot JLR models of the past, and it generates 518bhp in this application – good for a 4.9sec 0-62mph time in the 90 model. 

The V8 130 is detuned slightly to 493bhp, but it still makes a wonderful (if muted) roar and carries the eight-seater along at decent pace. Rapid it is not, but the V8's 450lb ft makes light work of all that mass.

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