We knew it was coming, but it’s a good feeling to know it’s (almost) here.
The Land Rover Defender 90 and 110 already get a fairly potent powertrain option by way of its new 3.0-liter inline-6. But why just have “fairly”, when you could lean full-on Land Rover and get the supercharged 5.0-liter V8? It wasn’t an option at launch, but it was only a matter of time, and now it’s coming to the 2022 Land Rover Defender. Specially-tuned suspension, quad exhaust tips, 22-inch wheels and chrome paddle shifters — Land Rover’s giving both the 90 and 110 models a proper top-dog off-roader treatment.
Frankly, we’d expect no less, given the competition these days. The Jeep Wrangler 392, Ram 1500 TRX, and even a Ford F-150 Raptor R in the pipeline means that Jaguar Land Rover has to keep up with horsepower fanatics. Fortunately, it already had just the engine for the job.
We’re not quite talking the 575 horsepower you’d see in, say, a Range Rover SVR. But you do still get 518 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque, which is the same level of power you see in the full-fat Range Rover models. Funneling all that power through an 8-speed automatic transmission means a decent 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds for the two-door model. It will also hit 149 mph — not that you’d necessarily want to do that in a boxy SUV with a short wheelbase very often. Six-cylinder Defenders like the 110 eke out 60 mph in a shade over 6 seconds, by comparison.
Inside, the 2022 Land Rover Defender V8 gets black leather-and-suede seating, an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and a larger, curved 11.4-inch touchscreen as optional equipment. Should you forego that option, you do still get a 10.0-inch screen and wireless charging.
Making the Defender V8-ready
Mind you, Land Rover did take the Defender’s high-riding profile into account with the bigger engine. This model gets larger sway bars as well as suspension tweaks to handle the extra bulk and the extra power. Land Rover’s electronic active rear differential is standard fare here, while you also get a “Dynamic” mode in the Terrain Response 2 drive system.
For all the Land Rover faithful out there, there are some subtle signs (and, of course, some not-so-subtle cues) that you’re driving the fast Defender. V8 badging adorns the tailgate and front fenders. The massive 22-inch wheels hide blue brake calipers with 15-inch rotors, although it’s worth noting for off-roaders that you can get 20-inch wheels instead. As for the rest of the off-road kit, you can get most of what’s available (like the Country and Urban packs) throughout the Defender lineup.
On top of the standard V8 Defender, the “Carpathian Edition” complete with a gray-on-black two-tone effect and special badging. Land Rover has not announced U.S. pricing yet, but the 2022 Land Rover Defender 90 and Defender 110 range, including the V8 models, will hit dealers this spring. We expect the V8 models to push nearer the $90,000 mark, with options possibly pushing the Defender 110 V8 right up against $100,000 (and possibly right past it).