2021 Land Rover Defender 110 V8 Launch

Article Written By: Mike Duff Content & Images From: Car Advice

Pretty much nobody needs a Land Rover Defender V8, but lots of people are going to want it.

The previous range top dog, the X-Dynamic P400, has a turbocharged, 48-volt boosted 3.0-litre straight-six that makes 294kW and gives the long-wheelbase 110 a 6.1-second 0-100km/h time. That’s plentiful performance for something so big and boxy.

But the V8 blows that out of the water. Power comes from a 386kW version of JLR’s long-serving 5.0-litre supercharged V8, this being the engine the company brought in-house when Ford stopped making it last year.

The V8 takes nearly a second out of the 0-100km/h time – dropping to just 5.4-seconds for the Defender 110 on Land Rover’s figures, and 5.2 seconds for the shorter, lighter Defender 90.

2021 Land Rover Defender 110 V8
Engine configuration 5.0-litre supercharged petrol V8
Power and torque 386kW at 6000rpm, 625Nm at 2000rpm
Transmission Eight-speed automatic
Drive type Four-wheel drive
Kerb weight 2678kg
Fuel consumption (combined-cycle claim) 14.7 l/100km (WLTP, combined)
0-100km/h claim 5.4-seconds (110)
Key competitors Mercedes-AMG G63

Performance is predictably impressive, but the Defender V8 is about much more than just straight-line pace. The supercharged engine is showing its age in several ways.

Accelerator response can feel a little mushy at lower engine speeds, and the Defender’s new Dynamic mode sharpens responses at the top of the throttle pedal too much – also making the eight-speed auto overly keen to shed ratios. But there’s no arguing with the engine’s character or effectiveness.

While quiet at cruising speeds, the V8 makes a muscular rumble when pushed, this turning into a proper snarl at higher revs. It pulls all the way to a 6750rpm limiter and seems to enjoy doing so.

The Defender V8’s character is more grown-up than the SVO models that use a more aggressive version of the same engine.

The Defender doesn’t make a fusillade of pops and bangs when the throttle is lifted. Nor is there much discernible supercharger whine in the cabin. In part, this is down to both outstanding sound insulation and altered European emissions standards that have brought a gasoline particulate filter. But Land Rover also says it wanted the Defender to feel more mature than its shoutier cousins.

The V8 is the undoubted party piece, but some of the other changes are almost equally impressive. Like lesser Defenders, the V8 comes with a wide range of terrain response modes to deal with differing off-road environments. But unlike them it has gained a second setting for tarmac use, Dynamic joining the regular Comfort.

This tightens the V8’s standard adaptive dampers and gives a more aggressive response to the new electronically controlled limited-slip differential, making the big car feel more lashed down and keener to turn, resisting understeer far better than something with such a big, heavy engine mounted high in the front has any right to.

Ride quality is still impressively plaint in Dynamic, too.

Article Written By: Mike Duff Content & Images From: Car Advice

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