Although Land Rover has now firmly established their revived Defender lineup to include the Defender 90, 110, and 130 models, the company isn’t one to rest on their laurels. Recent spy shots have been unearthed of a new Defender that will serve as the high-performance variant. This is currently, tentatively, referred to as the Defender SVX or Defender SR, and here’s what we know about this new Defender so far from these photos.
As the performance version of the Defender, it’s believed that this new SVX will be powered by a BMW V8 motor, likely the 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged motor found in BMW’s X5 and X6 M Competition SUVs. In this trim, the motor put out 617 horsepower and 553 lb-ft. of torque for BMW, which should provide a good ballpark estimate of the output of this upcoming SVX. A frequent comment when the new Defenders were rolled out was that they were just a little under-powered for the size of the vehicle, so these new V8s should prove to be the fix for anyone who was bothered by the original engine choices. With this much power on tap, the SVX is sure to deliver an exhilarating driving experience both on and off the road.
Cosmetically, the SVX mule keeps most of the current “Defender” styling, including the headlights, safari-style windows, and full-size spare tire mounted to the tailgate of the four-door body. The test mule here is based on a Defender 110 size platform. While this mule sports camo, we can see some mild changes to the body panels intended to give this SUV a sportier look to complement its performance. Most notably, we can see a larger grille opening for a more aggressive look, as well as a skid plate which pairs well with the All Terrain tires; the increased airflow up front is likely intended to facilitate airflow over the intercoolers for the turbochargers and improve cooling. Also, a sporty dual exhaust system exits on the passenger side and provides another visual cue to the high-performance V8 that will be lurking under the hood when it hits dealer lots. Through the camouflage, you can also make out some wider, sportier fender flares than those on the standard 90, 110, and 130 models.
With all of that said, this test mule looks close to production, and it seems reasonable to expect an official announcement of the SVX (or whatever name Land Rover finally lands on for this car) later on in 2023. This performance variant of the Defender will likely see a sticker price of over $100,000, and it seems like Land Rover isn’t going to stop here. Also rumored to be in development is a pickup version of the Defender (sure to give the Jeep Gladiator a run for its money), as well as what appears to be a more street-focused SVX based on the smaller Defender 90 chassis, complete with a wide body kit. As the Defender lineup grows in size, we’re also sure to see an increase in OEM or dealership options for each model to truly make this a one-size-fits-all adventure SUV, and this new V8-powered Defender SVX is looking to be just the ticket for those who feel the need for speed both off the pavement and on it.