And the Defender 90 V8 sounds intoxicating while doing it.
Despite a hefty curb weight of 5,445 lbs, the Land Rover Defender 90 V8 is one rapid SUV. Powered by a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine with 518 horsepower, the automaker claims a 0 to 60 mph sprint of 4.9 seconds. But how does it fare in the real world? Well, the guys at AutoTopNL took it to the autobahn to test its straight-line capabilities.
Even though it has the aerodynamic properties of a brick, the retro Land Rover takes to the German highway like an athlete to the track. In Sport mode, the Defender V8 charges to the red line with authority, swopping cogs with immense speed. A delightful V8 growl accompanies the strong acceleration; the SUV sets off quickly and hits 62 mph in five seconds flat.
The Land Rover shows no signs of slowing down and passes the quarter-mile mark in 12.93 seconds, which is seriously impressive. Zero to 124 mph is dispatched in 18.11 seconds.
It's impressive to see how accurate the speedometer is when compared to the satellite-guided performance recorder. Usually, the true vehicle speed is a couple of km/h or mph slower than the indicated figure, but the Defender's digital readout gets rather close to the actual speed.
The driver gets the Defender V8 ready for another run but pulls over to let a Porsche 911 by. While the heavy SUV is no match for Zuffenhausen's finest, it's amazing to see how it manages to keep up with the purpose-built sportscar on the derestricted autobahn. Soon after, the Defender is flying down the passing lane at an indicated 244 km/h (151.6 mph).
In the grand scheme of things, that's not particularly fast. But when you consider that the Defender is an offroader at heart, the on road performance is rather incredible. Then again, you pay a premium for this array of talents.
Aside from the Mercedes-AMG G63, few SUVs can combine mind-bending performance and luxury with proper off-roading capabilities. The German may be faster to 60 mph (claimed 4.5 seconds) but it also costs considerably more. But Land Rover is plotting an even more hardcore variant of the Defender V8.
Spy shots show test drivers hustling the rumored SVR model around the Nurburgring at break-neck speeds, leading us to believe a more performance-oriented model is on the way. It's unclear as to whether it will be road-biased or a hardcore desert destroyer (think upmarket Bronco Raptor), but one thing is for sure - it looks incredibly quick.
JLR's supercharged V8 can't live on forever, so vehicles like the truly special Defender 90 V8 will probably be the last to utilize the famed engine. Perhaps the yet-to-be-confirmed Defender SVR will use the new BMW V8, already employed by the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models.