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Well done Land Rover for bringing the rumble to the new Defender with the introduction of the very powerful 525bhp V8 and Carpathian Edition versions. Both provide a unique combination of performance and capability, with bespoke chassis settings which can deliver new levels of driver engagement and agility both on and off road. Exactly which markets will avail of the new V8s I am not sure, but they will be available in Northern Ireland.

The new additions to the range build on decades of the company’s heritage spanning the original Stage 1 V8 of the 1970s, US spec models of the 1990s and they join the latest range of igenium petrol, diesel and advanced plug-in-hybrid powertrains. The V8 petrol engine is not the only introduction; there is also a new XS Edition with a fresh exterior design packs that provide greater personalisation potential and an optional larger 11.4 inch Pivi Pro infotainment touchscreen.

The new V8 builds on the rugged class leading capability delivering new levels of performance by combining the 525bhp engine with expertly developed suspension and transmission tuning to create the fastest and most dynamic Defender to date. The engine with 625Nm of torque drives through an eight speed automatic transmission and looking at performance, the Defender V8 can reach from rest to 100kph (62mph) in a mere five seconds with a top speed of 240kph (149mph) with CO2 emissions from 327g/km.

The Carpathian is very exclusive and it does represent the ultimate expression of Defender design, performance and all round capability. The new XS Edition replaces the popular First Edition and combines bespoke design and a number of enhancements both inside and out. Heightened connectivity, which is so important to so many, is also part of the updates and the infotainment system is now available with a range of very desirable new features, including the option of the larger touchscreen display. There is wireless device charging with integrated signal booster which is part of the Comfort and Convenience Pack for convenience and, of course, call quality.

A key element of any Land Rover product is the ability to go anywhere and the new Defender V8 is no exception. It features a new Dynamic mode with the Terrain Response system, which is only available on the V8 models. This system helps drivers to exploit the more dynamic character and handling balance of the 525bhp model on tarmac and loose surfaces. Engineered to be the fastest and most engaging production Defender ever and with its unrivalled agility comes with bags of driver appeal.

Taking a closer look at the Carpathian and XS editions and first to the Carpathian which is truly the pinnacle of the Defender family. It is finished in an exclusive Carpathian Grey and is easily distinguished by a Narvik Black contrast roof, bonnet and for the first time, tail door. Additional visual highlights include Satin Black towing eyes and distinctive Xenon Blue front brake callipers. The exterior is finished with Land Rover’s protective satin film and the PU-based wrap is applied to external bodywork giving a semi-matte finish that also protects against everything from car park scratches to off road bramble rash. Inside are the same upgrades as the V8 with seats finished in Ebony Windsor leather with Dinamica suede cloth and Robustec accents and an Alcantara wrapped steering wheel and illuminated tread plates. The XS Edition is positioned SE models and features a unique exterior and interior treatment and is available in both 90 and 110 body designs. Externally the XS is identified by bespoke body coloured lower cladding and lower wheel arches and distinctive twenty inch contrast Satin Grey with diamond tuned wheels. There is a choice of four exterior colours and moving to the inside there are twelve way heated memory seats which are finished in optional Khaki grained leather while the cross car beam has a Light Grey power coat brushed finish. Standard equipment includes, electronic air suspension, adaptive dynamics Terrain Response. There are matrix LED headlights with signature DRL, Clearsight interior rear view camera and of course the Pivi Pro infotainment system with an eleven speaker Meridian sound system. Powetrains available include P400 MHEV petrol, plug-in-hybrid and D250 mild hybrid electric diesel.

Ian Lynas

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