Land Rover reveals Defender Works V8

We suspect that during the course of this story, you might experience strange, perhaps even supernatural forces befuddling your senses. Rest assured: this proves that you are still human.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Land Rover Defender has returned. Sort of. This is the Defender Works V8, built as a limited-run special edition that both pays homage to those early V8 performance Defenders, and to the Land Rover marque’s 70th anniversary.

And it is simply excellent. Of this, there can be no disagreement.

The idea emerged only a few years back, when in 2014 – while the old Defender was still busy trundling off LR’s production line and into your hearts (and workshops, no doubt) – the company recognised the sheer need for something packing a haymaker.

Thus, we come to the Defender Works V8’s powerplant: a 5.0-litre naturally aspirated unit with 298kW and 515Nm of torque; an ethereal cry from the regular Defender’s 90kW. As such, this Works V8 will go from 0-100kph in 5.8s, and top out at 170kph. Trust us, you really don’t want to be going any faster in something like this.

It’ll be attached to an eight-speed ZF auto ‘box with a ‘sport’ mode (sport mode, in a Defender!), bigger brakes, better springs, dampers and anti-roll bars, and 18in alloys and all-terrain tyres. In turn, this lot will be sandwiched into 150 ‘specially selected’ re-engineered Defender chassis’, available in either 90 or 110 variants.

You choose from eight body colours that contrast with a black roof, and get machined aluminium handles, fuel cap and Defender lettering on the bonnet. Bi-LED headlights complement the external make-up, while inside you get a swathe of Windsor leather, Recaro sports seats and LR Classic’s infotainment system.

Admittedly, some sections among you might raise a Roger Moore-esque eyebrow at the thought of a 70-year old chassis being sportified and shined up with a massively powerful V8. Well, Merc hasn’t done too bad with the G Wagen AMGs, and anyway, it just works.

Prices however, might not work for you: they start at a whopping R2.5m for the 90 chassis. A high price for a high-performance block of nostalgia, or a fitting tribute to a British icon?


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