Two-Door V8 Land Rover Defender 90 Spotted Testing in Public

Which V8 is it, though?

byPeter Holderith|
Land Rover News photo

The new Land Rover Defender has already landed in the United States, seemingly selling well in a market already flush with SUVs. We love our off-roaders, after all. Unlike other SUVs, however, the Defender is missing one thing Americans love, and indeed it's an option that's available on other Land Rovers—a V8 engine. 

Now, however, an unusual prototype has been spotted, and we believe it's got a V8 under the hood. These spy photos really create more questions than they answer, though. One can tell that this Defender is powered by something special judging by the squared-off quad tips sprouting from the back of the vehicle, but that raises the question: What V8 might actually be in this car?


The short answer is that there are two possible candidates we know of. One is Jaguar Land Rover's in-house 5.0-liter V8, which already powers some other Land Rovers and Jaguars. The other is BMW's 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8, which is found in the German automaker's fast sedans and SUVs. The latter is considered a possibility because JLR is reportedly having issues producing its in-house V8. It was being made by Ford under contract at a plant in Wales, but Ford recently closed that facility. JLR decided to keep all of the tooling for the engine, though, relocating production to a different location. 

That might seem like the end of the story, but it has become clear that Land Rover is testing its new Range Rover with a BMW V8 engine.

But ignoring all of that V8 speculation, the good news is that what's likely to be the Defender's most powerful engine will be available in the two-door 90 model, not just the bigger four-door. That means your future Defender—if you're not more interested in the Bronco Warthog—will look the part while feeling and sounding just right. Also, with a ban on the sale of new gasoline-powered cars arriving in the United Kingdom as soon as 2030, this may just be the last V8-powered Land Rover Defender. Let's hope they pick the right motor.

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