Several new special edition Defenders also join the 2022 model year lineup.
Since launching for the 2020 model year, the new Land Rover Defender been available with two powertrain options: a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four producing 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft or a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six mild-hybrid rated at 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. This changes for the 2022 model year with the introduction of the new long-rumored Defender V8.
Available in either 90 or 110 body styles, the new Defender V8 packs a 5.0-liter V8 supercharged producing 518 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful version of the new Defender by a huge margin. With power sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, the Defender 90 V8 will accelerate in 0-62 mph in just 4.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 149 mph.
Don't think the Defender V8's increased performance means the outstanding off-road capability has been compromised, however. Far from it, because the Defender V8 features an exclusive Dynamic program within the Terrain Response that enables drivers to "exploit the more dynamic character and handling balance of the 518-hp model on tarmac and loose surfaces" to make it more engaging to drive while offering "unrivaled agility and driver appeal."
With Dynamic mode engaged, the Defender V8 has a sharper throttle response, a more aggressive exhaust note, and stiffer suspension resulting in more responsive steering. Land Rover has also fitted larger anti-roll bars to reduce body roll during cornering along with a new yaw controller for the electronic active rear differential that controls the cornering altitude.
On the outside, the Defender V8 is distinguished by its unique exterior badging, dark Shadow Atlas accents, quad exhaust tailpipes, unique 22-inch alloy wheels, 15-inch brake discs, and blue front brake calipers. Three exterior colors are available: Carpathian Grey, Yulong White, and Santorini Black, with the first two options also including a contrasting black roof.
Inside, the seats are trimmed in a unique Ebony Windsor Leather with Miko Suedecloth and Robustec accents, while the four-spoke steering wheel features Alcantara trim and unique satin chrome paddles. Illuminated treadplates round off the interior embellishments. A limited Carpathian Edition of the Defender V8 will also be available with Carpathian Grey premium metallic paint, a contrasting black roof and tailgate, special badging, front and rear skid pans finished in Carpathian Gloss, and a unique front grille bar. A satin protective film protects the paintwork from scratches.
Replacing the Defender First Edition is the XS Edition, which gets bespoke body-colored lower cladding and lower wheel arches, and Satin Grey 20-inch wheels. This variant can be finished in Silicon Silver, Hakuba Silver, Gondwana Stone and Santorini Black, while the interior's heated and cooled seats are finished in Ebony Grained leather and Robust Woven Textile.
Additional upgrades have been applied to the standard Defender, too. Wireless device charging now comes as standard in the 2022 Land Rover Defender, and the Pivi Pro infotainment system can be upgraded with a larger 11.4-inch touchscreen, which is 60 percent larger than the standard screen.
For the 2022 model year, Land Rover is also offering new exterior design packs offering greater customization for all Defender models. The Bright Pack applies a chrome finish to the front and rear skid plans and also includes a chrome front grille bar and badging. Opting for the Extended Bright Pack adds silver trim to the lower body cladding and wheel arches. Available for the Defender X, Defender X-Dynamic, and Defender V8, the Extended Black Pack gives the off-roader a stealthier look with gloss black front and rear skid pans, hood trim, front grille bar, badging, lower body cladding, and wheel arches.
Pricing and US availability for the 2022 Land Rover Defender 90 and 110 model range will be announced at a later date. Expect the new V8 variant to cost more than the inline-six-powered 2021 Defender 90 X-Dynamic, which starts at $57,800.