SUVs

Land Rover Defender Works V8 packs 400 hp for 70th anniversary

That's one hell of a birthday party, even if you can't get 'em in the US.

Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover's classic departments love a unique project, whether it's bringing the XKSS back from the dead or, in this case, turning a Defender into a freakin' sports car.

As part of Land Rover's 70th anniversary, the company's classic division has created the Land Rover Defender Works V8. As the name suggests, the automaker takes one of its classic Defender SUVs -- in either 90 or 110 wheelbase layouts -- and shoves a V8 under the hood.

I thought there wouldn't be any interesting news from outside of Detroit this week. I was very clearly wrong.

Land Rover

It's not just any V8. It's a 5.0-liter, naturally aspirated V8 that puts out about 400 horsepower and 387 pound-feet of torque. In addition to the engine, Land Rover also shoehorns in a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission (with a sport mode!), as well as new brakes, new suspension parts and special 18-inch alloy wheels.

With a 0-to-60 time of 5.6 seconds, it's not only the most powerful Defender that Land Rover's ever built, it's also the fastest.

The interior is covered in Windsor leather, including the car's Recaro sport seats. You'll also get Land Rover Classic's own infotainment system, which is much better than being stuck with AM radio forever, even if the nav screen is for ants.

All this good news needs to be countered out by something, so here's the bad news -- you probably can't get one. Only 150 examples of the Defender Works V8 will be built, and none will be made available in the US. If you're a British citizen and feel like raiding your child's college fund, though, pricing for the short-wheelbase 90 model starts at a low, low £150,000 ($208,000, directly converted).