There’s a V8 Land Rover Defender Coming, And It Might Be BMW-Powered: Report

If the new Defender's four-banger and hybrid engines have got you down, here's a development that might perk you back up.

Nick Dimbleby—Copyright 2019

Land Rover's new Defender will do it all—scramble over rocks, ford streams and even fly through the air. But there is one thing the Defender can't do, that being make a noise capable of scaring off big game like the Jeep Wrangler 392 can. That may be about to change, though, as reports indicate Land Rover could be bringing BMW V8s to multiple products, the Defender included.

Launched in the United States last month, the Defender's powertrains so far consist only of a twin-turbo, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a 3.0-liter inline-six, whose 48-volt mild-hybrid supercharger system boosts it to 395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Joining them soon according to Britain's Car Magazine will be a plug-in hybrid version of the former motor, plus a V8 option, a prototype for which was recently spotted at a Nürburgring industry pool test day.

Said prototype Defender 110 featured enlarged mufflers and quad exhaust tips, which are not yet available on any variety of the redesigned Defender. Pumping hot air through that exhaust is said to be a V8, though one of unknown origin; Car Magazine reports it to be either Jaguar Land Rover's in-house 5.0-liter or an outsourced BMW plant.

Land Rover

Production version of 2020 Land Rover Defender. Note only two exhaust tips.

JLR's 5.0-liter AJ133 V8 first entered service in 2009, and though it has powered several models over the years, it can today be found only under the hood of the Jaguar F-Type, Range Rover, and Range Rover Sport. Whether V8s at all have a future in the era of electrification is uncertain, and if they do, they'll likely have to downsize and adopt forced induction—like the 4.4-liter, BMW-sourced alternative said to also be a candidate for the Defender. Per an Autocar story from last August, this engine has already been fitted to prototypes of the next-gen Range Rover, so it looks to be the most likely choice for the alleged V8 Defender.

This all assumes JLR doesn't go through with its rumored scrappage scheme for V8 engines, which are said to be making way for the "Ingenium" family of forced-induction, hybridized straight-sixes. Already powering the new Defender with the considerable figures listed above, these shouldn't be functionally inferior to V8s, though some will insist forevermore that there's no replacement for extra cylinders. Perhaps they're right—though we as a species have bigger things to worry about, do we not?

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