Powerhouse New Defender Wows Goodwood Crowds
Petrolheads enjoying one of their first tastes of proper adrenaline-fuelled entertainment in a good while at the weekend got an early look at the high-performance version of the new Land Rover Defender.
The Coventry-built V8 model was centre-stage at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, which took place over four days from 8 to 11 July.
This top-end version of the new Defender packs a five-litre V8 engine under the bonnet, which pumps out an impressive 525hp.
All that power was expected to make a distinctive noise as it thrust up the hill at the annual tribute to all forms of motoring old and new over the South Downs in Surrey.
And it provided a big contrast to the procession of supercar power which was also lined up to parade around the circuit.
But as far as the Festival of Speed organisers were concerned, there was a lot about this high-end Defender to get excited about, saying that it “promises to be capable off road, despite its overt sporting emphasis.”
As well as the new Dynamic mode, the Defender V8 is equipped with larger-diameter anti-roll bars, stiffer bushes and a new yaw control system within the electronic rear diff for what its makers say is finer control of cornering attitude at and beyond the limit of grip.
The result, they claim, is a Defender with a “more playful and responsive character”. So according to Festival of Speed organisers, the model they were showcasing “is the Defender to chuck around on a loose surface”. Some might argue that’s what ALL Defenders are about, but there you go...
The Goodwood event team enthused: “We’re not sure what is more astonishing: a Defender that can hit almost 150mph and accelerate as quickly as a Caterham Super Seven, or a Defender that costs over £100,000.”
Jaguar Land Rover itself also showed off the opposite side of its current model range, the brute power of the Defender being sharply contrasted by the ultimate luxury as offered by the newest product from JLR’s Special Vehicles bespoke arm.
The Range Rover SV Autobiography Ultimate showed off “the precision craftsmanship and near-limitless personalisation available in the SV Bespoke division”, said the pre-show blurb.
“We cannot wait to finally meet customers, enthusiasts and fans in person again this year,” JLR boss Rawdon Glover told Goodwood organisers ahead of the event.
The full official lowdown of the new Defender is here.
A pre-release image of a couple of Land Rover Defender V8s, showing what was displayed to visitors to this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, and is available to order now.
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