Ares Builds The Ultimate Old-School V8 Defender

But you’ll pay dearly for the privilege of ownership.

Are you not a fan of the all-new Land Rover Defender V8? Do you still believe a proper off-roader needs a ladder frame chassis and the kind of design DNA you get when the artist is only provided with a pencil and a ruler?

You’re in luck because there’s no shortage of tuning houses that will happily build you an old-school Defender with a V8 under the hood. Bowler arguably started the trend and did such a good job that Jaguar Land Rover eventually bought the company.

Ares is the latest outfit to get into the game. This well-known Italian coachbuilder usually specializes in creating magnificent supercars and epic restomods, but now it has turned its focus to the old Defender. Not for the first time, however.

The Ares Defender V8 Hardtop follows in the footsteps of the 2018 Defender Ultra V8. The new model was designed by the company’s Centro Stile in Modena and assembled in the ARES smart factory. It’s not just some hatchet job. Ares used its CAD systems, carbon fiber ovens, electrical system engineering specialists, drivetrain assembly, paint shop, artisan leather works, and metal coachbuilding facilities to create what it calls the “ultimate Defender.”

The Defender’s design is so iconic that you might not notice the differences right away. But look closer, and you’ll see a lack of visible body bolts and the inclusion of tinted rear windows and a premium-grade panoramic sunroof.

Ares says the 5,328cc V8 is all-new, and it replaces the four-cylinder turbocharged four-pot diesel that was standard on all Defenders in the later years. It produces 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission sends the power to a permanent 4WD system. All of the major mechanical components were upgraded to ensure the Defender could cope with the massive power increase.

Power is nothing without control, however. To ensure this Defender stays the right side up, Ares upgraded the brakes to larger performance discs with six-piston calipers. It also comes standard with an electronically adjustable ORAM suspension system offering sport and comfort modes.

In terms of style, the Ares Defender V8 Hardtop sits 1.4 inches higher off the ground on a set of 18-inch ARES Design alloy wheels wrapped in Cooper Discoverer off-road tires. The wheel arches are extended to accommodate the larger wheels, and the hood is made of carbon fiber. The new front end is also a single piece of carbon fiber housing LED headlights, while the rear has updated circular LED lights.

The interior boasts the finest leather, carbon fiber, wood, and aluminum trim, and Ares includes the latest infotainment with built-in navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Ares adds a bespoke instrument panel and a beautiful hand-stitched leather steering wheel to round it all off.

The order books are now open, and the Ares Defender V8 Hardtop can be yours for €235,000, which is roughly $250.000.

Article Credit: Gerhard Horn
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