Carbon fiber, eight cylinders, and a whole lot of luxury.
The all-new Land Rover Defender is off to a strong start, having already outsold its predecessor in America. While the current Defender is only offered with either a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four good for 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft or a mild hybrid 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six producing 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, a new V8 variant is coming to fight the Ford Bronco and in particular, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392.
If you can't wait for it to arrive, however, Ares Design is building a new batch of bespoke V8 off-roaders based on the old Defender. Dubbed the Land Rover Defender Spec. 1.2, the limited-edition off-roader is a successor to the coachbuilder's Defender Ultra V8, sporting a carbon fiber bonnet, wider wings, and no visible body bolts, giving it a cleaner, more modern appearance. At the front, Ares Design has added new LED headlights housed in carbon fiber, while the rear features new circular LED taillights also trimmed in carbon fiber.
Larger tinted windows, a panoramic roof, and custom 18-inch wheels round off the exterior upgrades. Inside, the cabin is lavished with high quality leather and carbon fiber trim applied to the instrument panel and rear seats, making the Defender Spec. 1.2 more luxurious and comfortable inside. The interior tech has also been upgraded with a new infotainment system, air conditioning unit, and four electric windows. Other luxuries include a start/stop button and adjustable and heated side mirrors with an incorporated turn signal.
Under the hood, the old Defender's original four-cylinder turbo diesel engine is replaced with a 4,750cc V8 engine delivering 280 hp and 324 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
To cope with all that extra muscle, the transmission, axle shafts, and CVs have been strengthened and the brakes have been upgraded with larger performance discs and six-piston calipers. Electronically adjustable suspension with a soft and sport setting provides a smoother, more comfortable ride.
"We created our first Defender Ultra V8 in 2018 so we have a great knowledge of the vehicle and that has led us to create a second edition with an even more distinctive style and refined finish. Powered by the same V8 engine, the ARES for Land Rover Defender Spec. 1.2 retains the characteristics of the new Defender design but beautifully reimagined to express modernity and luxury," said Dany Bahar, CEO of ARES Design. Pricing and availability hasn't been confirmed, but the last model was limited to 53 units, each priced at £190,000 ($251,800).