Future Cars: 2023 Land Rover Defender SVR Brings the Heat With a 600+HP V-8

The SVR V-8 is likely to be available in the short-wheelbase 90, too.

WHAT IT IS: The most muscular version of the rough-and-ready Defender, one of the hottest SUVs on the planet right now—in fact, Land Rover is still scrambling to meet demand. As hot as the off-roader is, though, our 2021 SUV of the Year is really just getting started, especially if you’re a fan of hugely powerful SUVs. The lineup already includes four-cylinder, V-6, and V-8 models, but the forthcoming SVR will build on the Defender V8 (seen below and in gallery) with more horsepower, sportier design elements, and unique suspension tuning to deliver the ultimate street version. Both the 110 and 90 versions will still kick ass off-road, of course, but think of the SVR as the Mercedes-AMG G63 to the regular Defender V-8’s Mercedes-Benz G550.

WHY IT MATTERS: This will be the first sporty Defender in history, and maintaining interest in its excellent 4×4 by pumping out more—and more profitable—variants will ensure cash flow as Jaguar Land Rover transitions to an all-electric future sometime in the next decade or two. Additionally, its engine should preview the upcoming top-spec Range Rover powertrain.

PLATFORM AND POWERTRAIN: The Defender SVR will naturally use the same Modular Longitudinal Architecture as its lesser kin, but we hear it’ll pack a different engine than the non-SVR V8. That model uses Land Rover’s long-serving 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 to stump up 518 hp, but the SVR just may raid the BMW bin and leverage the Bavarians’ 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 for 600-plus horses (it makes 617 hp in the BMW M5 Competition), a meaningful bump up from the regular V-8. Both BMW and JLR use ZF’s eight-speed automatic transmission, which should make overall powertrain calibration easier, and BMW’s more modern engine will help JLR pass ever-stricter global emissions regulations. This isn’t unprecedented; the third-generation Range Rover initially came with a BMW V-8.

ESTIMATED PRICE: It’s likely you’ll need to cough up $125,000 to get into the basic Defender 90 SVR. Think $130K for the 110, and options and accessories will push the stickers up from there. (Land Rover also plans an even longer Defender 130, but it’s not clear if that will get the SVR treatment.) Think the SVR is expensive? It will still represent a roughly $30,000 discount on a G63.


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Article Credit: Jonny Lieberman
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