Too bad for LR, the secret is now out.
The crazy expensive $100,000 2022 Land Rover Defender V8 debuted late last month and it's everything we could have asked for. Power comes from the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 with 518 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque. Buyers will have their choice between the two-door Defender 90 or four-door Defender 110 body styles. Because it weighs a bit less, the two-door will be a little faster with a projected 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds. Top speed will be 149 mph. But, it's always possible to go even faster.
Australia's Carsales now claims Land Rover is quietly working on a Defender SV aimed directly at the Mercedes-AMG G63.
Jaguar Lander Rover SVO boss Michael van der Sande recently hinted such a project was in the works by referring to the company's purchase of Bowler last year. For now, JLR has not officially confirmed the project. Bowler has been involved in modifying and racing Land Rovers for 35 years, having participated in major international off-road motorsport events such as the grueling Dakar Rally.
"Our purchase of Bowler was very intentional," van der Sande acknowledged. "We felt we were slightly underrepresented in performance off-roading." The new V8 variants simply do not have the "amount of technical changes you would expect on an SV product."
It should go without saying that a future Defender SV or SVX will be more expensive than the regular V8 version. A fully-loaded four-door, for example, could come close to the $200k mark. But before a hardcore high-performance model arrives, Land Rover will launch a three-row Defender 130 first, which should arrive sometime within the next 18 months. A plug-in hybrid version is also supposedly in the works, as is a pickup truck body style.
Unlike sister brand Jaguar, Land Rover will not become an all-electric brand by 2025. It will eventually but will focus on launching PHEV variants of all existing and new models first. Bowler's new Defender assignment could very well be the last high horsepower pure ICE Land Rover.