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2022 Land Rover Defender V8 starts at $98,550, packs 518 horsepower

There's an optional infotainment tech upgrade, as well.

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Finally, our V8 Defender dreams are a reality.

Land Rover

The Land Rover Defender only launched last year, but it's already seeing sizable upgrades. In addition to a number of other 2021 model-year changes, Land Rover confirmed Wednesday that both the Defender 90 and Defender 110 will be available with JLR's absolutely awesome 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine.

Don't get us wrong, the Defender's turbocharged mild-hybrid inline-six is a honey of an engine, but we Americans can't resist a good V8. Land Rover's tried-and-true eight-pot is a good one indeed, and under the hood of the Defender, it's good for 518 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque and is mated to an eight-speed automatic. Land Rover says the V8-powered 90 will hit 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds (the 110 is slightly slower) and go on to a top speed of 149 mph.

To visually differentiate the V8 Defenders, Land Rover gives them darkened Shadow Atlas exterior trim, standard 22-inch wheels, quad exhaust tips, Xenon Blue brake calipers and special badging. Only three paint colors are available -- Santorini Black, Carpathian Grey and Yulong White -- with the last two getting a contrasting Narvik Black roof. On the inside, the V8 models get black leather seats with suede accents, a Satin Black dashboard bar and door trim, a suede-trimmed steering wheel and chrome paddle shifters.

The V8-powered Defender will get an additional drive mode in its Terrain Response system that's focused on tarmac and loose surfaces like gravel. Think of it as a kind of rallycross mode that will allow the Defender to better avail itself of all its newfound power. It sounds like a ton of fun. Land Rover also added some beefier sway bars to the V8 Defender to better cope with the added forces, as well as a yaw controller for the electronic rear differential and larger front brakes. 

Land Rover

In addition to the new engine, there are a whole host of new trim levels being added, including the XS Edition which is a replacement for the First Edition. There's a new halo trim level known as the Carpathian Edition, which we can only assume is a tribute to the great Viggo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters 2 -- or maybe not. Based on the V8 model, it's meant to be the most luxurious trim level for the Defender and gets its own exclusive Carpathian Grey paint, black exterior accents and a matte paint protection film.

The 2022 Defender also gets some infotainment upgrades in the form of an optional upsized screen for its Pivi Pro system. The new screen measures 11.4 inches, where the standard screen is a still-robust 10 inches. A new wireless charging tray is onboard as well and includes a signal booster. Land Rover also introduced a Bright Pack that adds chrome trim to the skid plates and grille, an Extended Bright Pack that adds silver trim to the wheel arches and body cladding, and an Extended Black Pack that adds tons of gloss black trim everywhere.

When the Defender V8 hits dealers in the US this summer, the two-door 90 will start at $98,550 while the four-door 110 will cost $101,750, including destination. The special Carpathian Edition costs $6,800 extra for both body styles, while the new XS Edition of the 110 is $73,250. For 2022 the Defender 90's base price jumps $1,600 to a starting price of $47,450, but the 110's base price remains the same at $51,850.

First published on Feb. 24, 2021 at 5:24 p.m. PT.

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