The Defender lives on! New Works V8 special edition will be built at Land Rover's Classic HQ – and will achieve 0-60mph in just 5.6 seconds

Land Rover has today announced a limited edition, high-performance version of the iconic Defender, with a maximum of 150 V8-powered examples to be re-engineered to celebrate Land Rover’s landmark anniversary for 2018.

Paying homage to early high-powered Series vehicles, including the likes of the Series III Stage 1 V8 and the Series IIA Buick-V8 Range Rover test bed, and subsequent Defenders – including the 50th Anniversary Edition and NAS – the Defender Works V8 promises to be the ultimate Defender incarnation. Highly sought after by collectors, these heritage specials now have a new stablemate.

Land Rover to build 150 classic Defender V8s

Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) Defender Works V8 will be the fastest and most powerful Defender that Land Rover has ever created. The 5.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol V8 powertrain churns out more than 399bhp and 515 Nm of torque. To put that into perspective, the standard diesel Defender produced until 2016 offered a maximum 120bhp and 360 Nm – capable of breaching 60mph from a standstill in 15.8 seconds, and continue onto a maximum speed of 90mph.

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The Defender Works V8 will accelerate from 0-60mph in an incredible 5.6 seconds, with a top speed of 106mph.

‘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,’ explained Tim Hannig, director of Jaguar Land Rover.

Land Rover to build 150 classic Defender V8s

‘The idea of reintroducing a V8 Defender was something we were discussing as far back as 2014, when he 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.’

Land Rover to build 150 classic Defender V8s

The V8 powertrain will be fitted to 150 Defenders specially-selected for the 70th Edition, paired with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. The gearbox features a sport mode, whereas the brakes are uprated and a handling kit – upgraded springs, dampers and anti-roll bars – has been installed.

Land Rover to build 150 classic Defender V8s

The mechanicals are complimented by exclusive 18-inch diamond-turned Sawtooth wheels and 265/65R18 all-terrain tyres. All the usual off-road prowess remains, with the standard all-wheel drive, two-speed transfer box and heavy-duty front, centre and rear differentials present.

There are eight standard body colours, including two satin finishes – contrasting with a Santorini Black roof, wheelarches and front grille – and finished with machined aluminium door handles, fuel filler cap and the trademark Defender bonnet lettering. A comprehensive lighting upgrade includes bi-LED headlamps.

Within the cabin, the dashboard, door panels, headlining and Recaro sports seats are covered in full Windsor Leather. Land Rover Classic’s own infotainment system is also fitted.

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


A select number of high-performance upgrades inspired by Defender Works V8 will also be available to purchase soon from Land Rover Classic, including power upgrades for the TDCi diesel engine, braking kits and fast-road suspension.

If you are after one outside of the UK, the Defender Works V8 is available on an individual import basis, subject to rules on importation of vehicle conversions.

There's still time to order a Works V8. Visit Land Rover Classic, email or call +44 (0) 203 601 1255

Land Rover to build 150 classic Defender V8s

70th Anniversary Land Rover Defender V8 Specifications

Engine Capacity: 4999cc
Cylinders: V8
Power: 399.45bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 515 Nm @ 5000rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with pistol shifter

Land Rover to build 150 classic Defender V8s
Land Rover to build 150 classic Defender V8s
Land Rover to build 150 classic Defender V8s

Land Rover and the V8 engine

There's a long and honourable history of Rover V8-powered Land Rovers, as this AutoClassics feature explains.

Gallery: Land Rover to build 150 classic Defender V8s