The Land Rover Defender made its modern comeback in 2019. Since then, the market for reincarnations of high-performance trucks has only become more crowded: The beloved Ford Bronco has returned, and GMC is resurrecting the burly Hummer as an “all-electric supertruck.” But Land Rover refuses to be outdone. The automaker revealed its 2022 Defender V8, which boasts a new 518-horsepower engine for a hefty boost in performance.
While Defenders have long held a reputation as excellent off-road workhorses, they aren’t exactly known for eye-watering speed on the pavement. The Defender V8 might just change that. According to Land Rover, the power plant is rated to churn out 461 lb-ft of torque, propelling the Defender 90 from zero to 60 mph in a neck-snapping 4.9 seconds. Not bad for a vehicle that, historically at least, has been more at home churning through mud than tearing up a racetrack. The V8 will be available in both the two-door (Defender 90) and four-door (Defender 110), and it comes paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Aside from the beastly new engine, the Defender V8 will see a few other notable upgrades as well. To handle all the extra power, V8-equipped models will receive larger roll bars and a new yaw control system for better cornering. They’ll be tuned for a sharper throttle response and have stiffer suspension. Land Rover is, of course, dressing them up with some slick aesthetic touches as well: blue front brake calipers, satin chrome gearshift paddles on the steering wheel, and special exterior badging.
Want to really amp up the luxury factor? The automaker also introduced the Defender V8 Carpathian Edition, which it bills as “the very pinnacle of the Defender range.” Not surprisingly, it’s loaded with exclusive features, including grey paint with a contrasting black roof hood, and tailgate; seats that combine suede and leather accents; and a special polyurethane-based film that protects external surfaces from trail debris and brush (or wayward shopping carts in the grocery store parking lot).
Land Rover didn’t neglect the rest of the 2022 Defender model line, and the non-V8 trucks will see some upgrades too, most notably in the entertainment system. Wireless device charging will come standard on all models, and you can opt for a 11.4-inch, curved-glass touchscreen on the dash—a substantial size bump from the standard 10-inch screen. The extra real estate will definitely come in handy when you’re trying to read a map or adjust your music while bouncing around in the backcountry.
If you’re in the market for a capable, luxurious SUV, it looks like you’ll have some tough decisions to make. The 2022 Defender models will go on sale this summer, with pricing info to come.
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