Land Rover brought the Defender into the modern era when it released the second-generation model for 2020, and the updates will allow it to launch a factory-built high-performance variant for the first time. The short- and long-wheelbase versions of the popular off-roader will reportedly receive a 600-plus-horsepower V8 in the near future.
Aimed at the Mercedes-AMG G63, the hot-rodded Defender will eschew the supercharged, 5.0-liter V8 that powers the current flagship (pictured) and instead receive a BMW heart, according to Motor Trend. Power will allegedly come from a 4.4-liter V8 that will be twin-turbocharged to develop over 600 horsepower. What’s unclear is which version of the eight-cylinder the Defender will use. BMW offers it in two flavors: the N63 powers members of its core portfolio, like the 750i and the X7 xDrive50i, while the S63 is found in M-tuned models, such as the M5 and the M8.
Regardless, the V8 will spin the four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Land Rover’s SVR division will tune the chassis, and a number of design changes inside and out will set the SUV apart from its tamer siblings.
Motor Trend believes the Defender 90 SVR will carry a base price of about $125,000. Selecting the four-door 110 will set buyers back by about $130,000. It won’t be a bargain, but these figures aren’t unusual for the segment.
Land Rover hasn’t commented on the report. If it’s accurate, the SVR-tuned Defender will arrive in showrooms in spring 2022, meaning it will likely be branded a 2023 model. Other versions are in the pipeline as well. While a pickup has seemingly been ruled out, recent spy shots confirm a longer, 130-badged model with three rows of seats is undergoing shakedown testing, and a hydrogen-electric prototype will begin logging miles later in 2021.