Scientology and Tom Cruise. Ross and Rachel. Adolescent girls and vodka cruisers.

Some things are just meant to go together.

For years, Land Rover’s Defender has been crying out for a V8. Now it has one.

Get the order books ready.

Sign. Me. Up.

Every once in a while a car comes along that is just intrinsically right. The V8 Defender is one of those cars.

What’s the performance like?


0-100km/h takes about 5 seconds and a (terrifying) 240km/h top speed is possible thanks to the bellowing 386kW, 625Nm 5.0 litre, supercharged V8 under the hood (Defender 90).

Only 5 seconds?


What do you mean by “only”?

It’s just that Tesla’s Model X–

–I’m going to stop you right there.

This is a Defender. A Cheshire-spec shed on wheels built for traversing forest and scaling cliffs.

Five seconds is plenty quick.

Must be a serious piece of kit.

You’d be right.

Larger-diameter solid anti-roll bars reduce body roll during enthusiastic cornering. A unique “Electronic Active Rear Differential” brings with it a revised yaw controller that aims to imbue the driver with greater control up to – and beyond – the limits of adhesion. They have also given the suspension bushes a shot of viagra and refined the spring and damper rates.

The end result is the most capable and engaging Defender ever produced.

Spartan inside?

Not at all.

The last Defender was almost universally loved. The truth, however, is that it was a proletarian sh*t box.

For all it’s size, the last-gen Defender was incredibly cramped. Anyone over five feet tall would have been more comfortable wedged in a sandwich press.

The new Defender could not be more different, and it is all the better for it.

Not only is there more space, but the new Defender (available in both 3- and 5-door configurations) is clearly a product of the 21st century. There is an 11.4-inch touchscreen available, wireless device charging, Apple CarPlay® and Android AutoTM, a 3D surround camera…

Sounds about perfect.

It’s close.

Downsides? Well, the tailpipes look like an afterthought and the noise could be a little more aggressive.

I bet she’s a thirsty girl.

She is. 14.5L/100km is the official (and undoubtedly conservative) consumption figure.

Didn’t Jaguar Land Rover just commit to going greener?

Erm, yes.

On the 15th of February (2021), JLR announced ‘Reimagine’, their new global strategy, a” sustainability-rich reimagination of modern luxury, unique customer experiences, and positive societal impact”. ‘Reimagine’ marks the start of JLR’s journey “to become a net-zero carbon business by 2039.”

How the heck does a 5.0 litre V8 fit in that strategy?

It doesn’t. That’s the irony.

SVR-surprise variant aside, there will never be a more exuberant Defender than this. That alone warrants the price tag.

Which is?

Around AUD$200,000 (plus-on roads).


It’s actually a bargain.

You’ve lost touch with the common man.

Shut up.

What else can rival the Defender for $200,000?


Merc’s G63 seems the obvious combatant, though it costs the best part of $50,000 more.

Jeep’s Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee Trackhawk also comes to mind, though that’s about as genteel as a tiger that’s been shoehorned into a birdcage.

The Defender is the sweet-spot. More polished than the Jeep and cheaper (and less ostentatious) than the G-Wagen. It is just right.

I want one.

Get in line.

To me, a V8 Defender is infinitely more appealing than any of the 1000bhp hypercars presently on sale. More than just another SUV, a V8 Defender is the stuff of my dreams.

It may be premature, but I may have found my car of the year.

The dream garage just got a little bit bigger.

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