Ares Designs is known for creations like its Wami Lalique Spyder – a wild retro-looking machine. However, the company can take a subtler approach when it wants. That’s precisely what it did with its Land Rover Defender Spec 1.2. The company upgraded the classic off-road icon with modern touches, a few design updates, and, of course, more power. Extra oomph is a prerequisite for any Defender build.

Ares added some visual upgrades, removing any visible body bolts and widening the fenders. The Defender also features a carbon fiber good, LED headlights, and new circular LED taillights. The headlights are housed in a new one-piece carbon-fiber front end, though upgrades go beyond a new face. Ares added a panoramic roof, larger rear windows, and Ares-designed 18-inch wheels. Inside sees new leather and carbon-fiber trim, a new infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, upgraded air continuing, and electric windows.

Gallery: Ares Design Land Rover Defender

Drivers who get behind the wheel won’t need a key – it features a start-stop button. It doesn’t start a four-cylinder turbo diesel. Ares replaced that with a naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V8 that provides 282 horsepower (210 kilowatts) and 324 pound-feet (440 Newton-meters) of torque. The mill pairs with a strengthened six-speed automatic. Ares also strengthened the axle shafts and CV joints while installing an electronically adjustable suspension. Stopping power comes from AP Racing six-piston calipers.

The Defender features some creature comforts like heated side mirrors, which also integrate the turn signal markers. The SUV also gets a 1.4-inch (35-millimeter) suspension lift. Ares says delivery should take an estimated three months. Customers can fully customize the interior, which also includes aluminum trim. The Ares Defender is a subtle build that adds styling and modern features without drastically changing the iconic boxy design.

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