A hotter version of the Land Rover Defender V8 has been spotted testing on the Nurburgring. We've seen the hardcore off-roader around the 'Ring before through spy photographs, but this is first one captured on video, courtesy of YouTube's Motor.TV. Even better, the would-be top-spec Defender was being pushed hard on a flying lap.
Despite wearing little camouflage, the hotter Defender V8 prototype was seen with more aggressive design elements that hint at a more potent engine. It's based on the Defender 110 V8, so it has quad exhaust tips peeking at the back.
Gallery: Land Rover Defender V8 hot version spy photos
However, it seems like the prototype was riding higher than usual, plus it has larger wheels and wider wheel arches with extensions. It's expected to have a wider track, too.
All of these things point to a more capable off-roader beyond chartered roads, as well as a scorching performance on the pavement, which was the goal with the hotter Defender V8 project. JLR hasn't named the model yet, but it's said to not carry the SV or SVX suffices. However, it's expected to go head-to-head against the Mercedes-AMG G63 once launched.
Weeks after the Land Rover Defender V8's reveal in 2021, an executive from JLR's Special Vehicle Operations division already hinted at a hardcore version of the supercharged eight-pot SUV. Michael van der Sande said JLR was "slightly underrepresented in performance off-roading," which meant that the more hardcore Defender will have upgrades beyond just added power.
All of these point to Land Rover's purchase of Bowler in 2019. As van der Sande put it before: "Our purchase of Bowler last year was very intentional."
At this point, nothing concrete is known about the hardcore Defender V8, especially with its oily bits. We expect Land Rover to shed some light on the hot SUV in the months to come, so we'll keep our ears on the ground.