Motor Trend reported Wednesday that there will actually be two models with a V-8, one a regular model and the other a high-performance model wearing Jaguar Land Rover's SVR badge. If you need reminding, the SVR badge has so far been applied to the Jaguar F-Pace and Land Rover Range Rover Sport which deliver up 550 and 575 horsepower in SVR guise, respectively.
A Defender SVR would be relatively new territory for Land Rover, as the Defender has never been developed as a high-performance vehicle in the past, at least by Land Rover. Nevertheless, Mercedes-AMG has shown with its various takes on the G-Class that there are buyers looking for a combination of performance, luxury and off-road capability.
2022 Land Rover Defender V-8 test mule spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
Land Rover is currently testing Defender prototypes equipped with a V-8 engine, specifically the 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 Jaguar Land Rover sources from Ford. While it's been rumored that Jaguar Land Rover plans to replace the engine with a more advanced 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 sourced from BMW, as Ford will cease to manufacture the 5.0-liter at the end of this year, recent news Jaguar Land Rover will move production of the engine in-house suggests the BMW deal is on hold, at least for the time being.
Motor Trend didn't say when we'll see the Defender with a V-8, though we've previously heard that the regular model will arrive in 2021 and the SVR a year or more down the line.
Interestingly, we've also heard that Land Rover is planning to expand the use of the Defender name to a new compact off-roader that can compete with the Jeep Renegade and Ford Bronco Sport. This baby Defender is reportedly coming in 2022.