Defender lives on as Land Rover launches Works V8 special edition

Land Rover’s iconic Defender takes a final bow as a high-performance limited-edition Works V8, as the 70th anniversary celebrations continue for the British brand.

Land Rover has announced a special limited-edition high-performance version of its iconic Defender, with up to 150 V8-powered examples re-engineered to celebrate the Land Rover marque’s 70th anniversary in 2018.

The Defender Works V8 pays homage to the early high-powered engines in both the Series III Stage 1 V8 from 1979 and subsequent Defenders including the 50th Anniversary Edition, which are highly sought after by enthusiasts and collectors today. 

The limited-edition Defender Works V8 is the most powerful and fastest version that Land Rover has ever created. The 5.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol V8 powertrain produces 297kW and 515Nm of torque (the standard Defender delivered 90kW and 360Nm). The Defender Works V8 will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds, while top speed is increased to 170km/h. 

The V8 powertrain will be complemented with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission with sport mode, uprated brakes and handling kit (springs, dampers and anti-roll bars), plus exclusive 18-inch diamond-turned Sawtooth alloy wheels and 265/65 R18 all-terrain tyres. 

The limited-edition model will be available in eight standard body colours, including two satin finishes. Each colour option will be offered with a contrasting Santorini Black roof, wheel arches and front grille. The Works V8 models are finished with machined aluminium door handles, fuel filler cap and Defender bonnet lettering. A comprehensive lighting upgrade includes bi-LED headlamps. 

Inside, full Windsor Leather interior trim covers the dashboard, door panels, headlining and Recaro sports seats. Land Rover Classic’s own Classic Infotainment System is front and centre in the dashboard. 

“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,” said Tim Hannig, Director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works. 

“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.” 

Furthering the opportunity for Defender owners to get hold of Works V8 upgrades for their existing vehicles, a select number of upgraded components inspired by the Defender Works V8 will also be available to purchase soon from Land Rover Classic in the UK. These will include power upgrades for the TDCi diesel engine, high-performance suspension and brake kits. 

Both 90 and 110 wheelbase Defender Works V8 derivatives will be available to purchase direct from Land Rover Classic, with prices starting from £150,000 (NZD285,000) for a 90 in the UK.

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