Rumors suggest Land Rover's 5.0-liter is on the way out.
Land Rover redesigned the Defender and announced the model's reintroduction to North America last September. Supply of the new off-roader has been met with swift demand in the US now that it's on sale, and this is before the coveted V8 model is available. However, we know it's coming. A new batch of spy photos shows Land Rover continuing development of the V8-powered Defender, though the shots aren't that different from the others we've seen before.
The new photos show the Land Rover without a lick of camouflage, though there's little reason for Land Rover to hide the SUV's design when the sheet metal does all the work. The automaker is testing the V8-powered Defender that'll join the four- and six-cylinder engines already offered in the new vehicle. The tell is Defender’s tailpipes – four, squared-off outlets with a massive muffler between them.
Gallery: Land Rover Defender V8 Spy Photos
While we know there's a V8 under the hood, we don't know its size or origin. Reports from last year suggested Land Rover's 5.0-liter V8 could be on the way out, replaced by a BMW-sourced twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8. It's capable of producing as much as 617 horsepower (460 kilowatts) and 553 pound-feet (750 Newton-meters) of torque; however, don't expect that kind of power to find its way into the Defender. Land Rover will likely detune the mill to reduce its output.
We don't know if Land Rover will offer the V8 in both the four-door Defender 110 and the two-door Defender 90. So far, every spy photo of the V8-powered Defender has been of the larger 110 model. The Defender V8 is expected to arrive sometime next year, so it's anyone's guess when there'll be a reveal. Until that happens, expect more spy photos on non-camouflaged Defenders in the coming months as we try to figure out which engine it uses.