Looks like rumors of a new V8-powered Land Rover Defender were right.
Right now, the new 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 is only available with two engine options: a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft or a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 mild-hybrid rated at 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque.
However, reports have claimed a new V8-powered Land Rover Defender is joining the lineup, and now we finally have proof. Our spy photographers have caught Land Rover testing a mysterious Defender prototype that appears to be the new Defender 110 V8. While it looks like a regular Defender 110, a closer look reveals that this prototype is sporting a quad exhaust system with squared tips and a large muffler.
Why is this significant? Because only Jaguar Land Rovers with V8 engines are fitted with quad exhaust systems, seemingly confirming that Land Rover is working on a new Defender V8.
Which powerplant will this new V8-powered Defender 110 use? One possibility is the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 that Land Rover uses in the Range Rover Sport SVR that generates 575 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. However, this unit is expected to be phased out at the end of this year. Alternatively, Land Rover could use BMW's twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that powers the X5 M and M8 as part of a recent deal between the two automakers.
As we've seen in the BMW M8 Competition, this powerplant can produce over 600 hp. It's also a more modern powerplant with lower emissions and less fuel consumption, so this would be a better choice. Either way, the new Defender V8 should be more powerful than the limited-edition 400-hp Land Rover Defender V8 Works built to celebrate the iconic off-roader's 70th anniversary. So far, the new V8 Defender has only been spied in four-door 110 guise, so we'll have to wait and see if Land Rover also offers a V8-powered Defender 90.