399bhp Defender will go on sale to mark the the 70th anniversary of Land Rover in 2018. Prices start from £150,000…
Land Rover has revived the Defender for the company’s 70th anniversary, with a new 399bhp-engined version, called the Defender Works. Production will be limited to 150 examples – both in 90 and seven-seat 110 form – with prices starting from £150,000.
Power comes from a naturally aspirated version of the company’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8, used in various Range Rovers and Jaguars, which is connected to an eight-speed automatic ZF gearbox. A combination that gives the Works mighty performance, with a 0-62mph time of 5.6sec. Top speed has been limited to 106mph.
Production of the Defender officially stopped in 2016, and although the new Works model will go on sale this year, no new cars will be produced. Instead, all 150 cars will be modified from pre-existing donor vehicles in Land Rover Classic’s Solihull workshop.
To harness the extra power, Land Rover have fitted the Works with a handling kit – consisting on springs, dampers and anti-roll bars – as well as uprated brakes and 18-inch wheels with 265/65 R18 all-terrain tyres. These handling upgrades will also be made available for existing Defender owners to purchase at a later date.
A total of eight colours will be available (two with a satin finish), with a Santorini Black roof for contrast. As you would expect, the dashboard, door panels, headlining and Recaro seats are all leather trimmed.
While the majority of Defenders were powered by diesel, and some smaller four-cylinder petrol engines, there have been a small number of well-remembered V8 models in the past. The 1992 North American Specification models were built with an 3.9-litre Rover V8, and a small run of 50th Anniversary Defender 90s got a 4.0-litre Rover V8 in 1998. The Land Rover that started it all was of course the Series III Stage 1 V8 of 1979, which first saw the muscular V8 Range Rover’s 3.5-litre V8 inserted into the classic Land Rover package.
Tim Hannig, Jaguar Land Rover Classic Director, said: ‘It’s fitting that we’ve been able to release the full potential of the iconic Defender, whose much-loved shape remains synonymous with Land Rover, 70 years since it was seen in public for the first time.
‘The idea of reintroducing a V8 Defender was something we were discussing as far back as 2014, when we were still building the Defender in Solihull. We knew the demand was there for a powerful and fast Defender; the Land Rover authenticity is the ultimate finishing touch for discerning clients purchasing these collector’s edition Defenders.’