Land Rover Defenders get heavy-duty V8 upgrades touted as fastest of their kind

The latest additions to the 4x4 range are the most powerful ever to bear the name

Land Rover has upped the ante in its bid to make the Defender a byword for all things off-road by releasing a series of powerful V8 versions of the tough tyke.

The new models are being touted as the fastest and most gutsy vehicles to ever bear the name. And, if the performance figures that have been revealed are accurate, this is no idle boast – Land Rover says the zippiest of its latest offerings will do 0-100 kilometres per hour in 4.9 seconds, with that particular version also having a top speed of 240kph.

The engines – supercharged 5-litre V8s – have been paired with improved suspension and transmissions, making what the company says is the “most dynamically rewarding Defender yet”.

It’s not just about the power, though, as Land Rover has upgraded the inside as well. Wireless charging is now available, as is a larger infotainment touchscreen. The seats are leather trimmed and bear an Ebony Windsor tag. The four-spoke steering wheel is enhanced by an Alcantara rim and satin-chrome gearshift paddles, which are unique to V8 models. Leather covers the airbag housing and gear lever, while illuminated treadplates are finished off with a V8 script.

The new models build on decades of heritage, Land Rover says, taking cues from the original Stage One V8 of the 1970s, the US specification models of the 1990s, and the Defender Works V8. Like the launch version of the Defender, these new 90 and 110 models are available with petrol, diesel and hybrid engines.

There are also a pair of special editions in the pipeline, the Carpathian and the XS. The first of these is the “pinnacle of the Defender range”, featuring various cosmetic upgrades. The XS will be replacing the First Edition model.

Customers have a choice of three colours for the new V8s – Carpathian Grey, Yulong White and Santorini Black. That’s not a lot, but there is also a trio of exterior design packs available to make the vehicles a little more individual.

Prices start from £98,505 ($137,000) for the short-wheelbase Defender 90 and £101,150 ($141,000) for the larger 110.