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New Land Rover Defender V8 tests at the Nürburgring

Land Rover is working on a range-topping V8 version of the new Defender, and the latest spyshots reveal it being put through its paces at the Nürburgring.

Although not the natural habitat for the rugged 4x4, it suggests that extensive chassis retuning is required to ensure the Defender can handle the additional power. 

Previous shots showed an undisguised Defender driving on the roads outside Land Rover’s research and development facility in Gaydon, Warwickshire, sporting the ‘Prototype Vehicle’ stickers reserved for testing mules. They marked the first official sighting of a V8 variant, which was rumoured for some time and hinted at by bosses. 

While no changes were visible at the front, a rear view revealed a quad exhaust system – used by Jaguar Land Rover only in V8-powered variants. On the Nürburgring prototype we can now see red brake callipers, again an indication of the performance potential.

Sources close to the firm have confirmed the project’s existence, but the official JLR response is: “We are unable to comment on the specific nature of these [technology development] programmes.”

Autocar obtained registration data for the car pictured that shows it has a 4999cc petrol engine, suggesting it’s powered by the ‘AJ’ 5.0-litre supercharged V8 used in the Range Rover Sport SVR and Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography.