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Land Rover Defender OCTA: twin-turbo V8 and McLaren-style suspension tech for hot off-roader

The OCTA promises to be the fastest, toughest and most capable Defender yet when it launches later this year

McLaren-style chassis technology in a Land Rover Defender? Not what we were expecting, but with the forthcoming Defender OCTA, that’s exactly what Land Rover will offer. 

Due to be unveiled later this year, the OCTA will be the most powerful Defender yet thanks to the installation of a twin-turbocharged V8. Specifics haven’t been announced yet, but expect this to be related to the BMW-derived 4.4-litre unit in the Range Rover Sport SV, where it generates 626bhp and 590lb ft. 

If the OCTA uses the same state of tune, that would put it 108bhp and 129lb ft ahead of the current most powerful Defender V8, which uses JLR’s ubiquitous 5-litre supercharged unit. 

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To harness the extra power, the OCTA will utilise Land Rover’s 6D Dynamics suspension that first appeared on the Sport SV. With hydraulically-interlinked dampers (similar to what you’ll find in a McLaren 750S), the system can precisely control pitch and roll at all corners and does away with traditional anti-roll bars. 

The interlinked dampers bring benefits in performance and ride quality, and could also give the Defender OCTA even more off-road capability than the standard car. Land Rover claims that 6D Dynamics enables maximum independent wheel travel and articulation, allowing the Defender to find extra traction over rough terrain. 

Cosmetically, the OCTA will feature diamond-style graphics on the exterior and interior, with the Defender’s side-window panel gaining a machined titanium trim piece. Expect the new model to debut later this year, following an extensive development programme that includes snow and ice driving in Sweden, warm-weather testing in Dubai and laps of the Nürburgring.

While we believed this model would receive the Defender SVR title, this moniker is no more (for now). SVR is now the name for JLR's high performance product development division, with OCTA the new title for high performance Land Rover products – SV is now exclusive to Range Rover.

As for how much it will cost, the current most expensive Defender is the £117,750 Carpathian edition in 110 guise. Expect the OCTA to command a significantly higher asking price, especially given that the technically related Range Rover Sport SV comes in at £185,360.

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