By Malusi Msomi
The new Land Rover Defender is one of the most sought-after SUVs to grace our roads. They are practical and do exceptionally well on and off-road. I guess that wasn’t enough for the engineers at Land Rover, as they decided to shoehorn a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 into it. This should be fascinating.
Our Land Rover Defender V8 is rocking the optional Extended Black Pack. This adds a Gloss Black finish for the front and rear skid plates, grille bar, bonnet chequer finisher, badging, and lower body cladding. We just call it the Darth Vader Spec. A little heads up – prepare to be going to the carwash a lot as it attracts a lot of dust.
All black interior
The all-black exterior theme is carried into the car. The Defender V8 comes with an all-black interior with Dinamica suede seats and a steering wheel. What we love about it the most is the absence of piano black. This means no ugly looking scratches on surfaces and it makes the cabin look sportier. Like all the other Defenders, it’s practical and high tech. It comes standard with a panoramic sunroof, 11.4-inch touchscreen with Pivi Pro1, head-up display, satin chrome gearshift paddles and a banging Meridian surround sound system. There’s plenty of storage spaces, plenty of leg and headroom for all passengers, and many power outlets to charge devices, which is perfect for long-distance trips.
The only gripe I have with the interior of the Defender V8 is the boot floor mat. Somehow Land Rover has decided to make it plastic instead of rubber. This means some of your items are going to move around a lot when turning into tight comers.
The heart of the beast
The Defender V8 packs a loud 5.0-litre supercharged engine that produces 386kW and 625Nm. Power is sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed torque converter automatic transmission. This big SUV is naturally capable off-road and immensely fun to drive in the city. It’s extremely comfortable thanks to its air suspension. The 2.6-ton SUV will clock a 0-100 km/h sprint in 5.4 seconds and top out at 240 km/h. The fun does come at a price as you’ll be visiting the pumps quite often. On the highway, you’ll get as low as 10.5 l/100km but in the city, you’re looking at between 15 and 20l/100km.
With an option of a 90 version of the Land Rover Defender V8, the 110 model seems to make more sense, but then again the fuel bill it comes with begs to differ from the “sense” bit of my statement. You honestly have to have deep pockets to run this as a daily. With that said, the V8 Defender is a magnificent SUV that has a ton of safety features (Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, and Wade Sensing), rides beautifully and is practical but maybe just for the weekend. Pricing for the Land Rover Defender V8 starts from R2,474,400.
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