New Land Rover Defender V8 spotted at the NurburgringJuly 30, 2020
The debut of the new SUV is scheduled for 2021.
Land Rover is working on an improved V8 version of the new Defender, and the latest spy shots show it is being tested at the Nürburgring. While this is not a natural habitat for a rugged 4×4, it suggests that extensive chassis rebuilds are required to ensure the Defender can handle the extra power.
Previous spy shots have shown the Defender on roads outside Land Rover R&D Center in Haydon, Warwickshire, with ‘prototype car’ stickers. This was the first official discovery of a V8 version that had been rumored for some time.
Although no changes were visible from the front, the rear view of the test vehicle showed the new exhaust system used by Jaguar Land Rover for V8 variants only. On the prototype, which was tested at the Nurburgring, we now see red brake calipers, again indicating additional performance potential.
Sources close to the firm have confirmed the existence of the project, but the official response from JLR is: “We cannot comment on the specific nature of these [technology development] programs.”
The prototype is reportedly powered by a 4999cc gasoline engine, suggesting that it is the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 used in the Range Rover Sport SVR and Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography. However, production of this unit will end before the end of this year, as the Bridgend Ford plant, where it is produced, will be closed.
For future high-performance models, JLR is set to use the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 that BMW makes for its larger M cars, as part of an agreement between the two firms. The alliance began with the intention to develop electrified powertrains, but sources close to the German manufacturer said last year that it was expanded to include supply of JLRs with a range of internal combustion engines.
While the use of a 4.4-liter V8 has not yet been officially confirmed by JLR, you can be sure it is just a formality. It is likely that the 5.0-liter engine is used primarily to test the Defender’s dynamic responses with increasing weight and power.
It is likely that the engine will not offer the same power as full-fledged SVO vehicles such as the 567-horsepower Range Rover Sport SVR. Indeed, we expect it to be tuned to around or below 500 HP. from. Probably paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission supplied by ZF, it will still be powerful enough to compete with the Mercedes-AMG G63.
Either way, chassis tweaks will be required to ensure the V8 Defender can handle that kind of power. Air suspension can be fitted as standard, offering a wide range of driving modes.
The Defender’s aluminum body structure, considered the stiffest ever built by Land Rover, provides a solid base for engineers. Expect the novelty to also feature a four-tailpipe exhaust system, larger wheels, lower ground clearance and a number of parts needed to make the V8 stand out.
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