Land Rover Defender 130 goes after G63 with 493bhp V8 option

4 months, 3 weeks ago - 1 May 2023, autocar
Land Rover Defender 130 2023
Land Rover Defender 130 2023
Extra-long 4x4 gets V8 range-topper for £116,845; arrives alongside rugged new Outbound edition

The new, range-topping Land Rover Defender 130 is going after the Mercedes-AMG G63 with the addition of a snarling supercharged V8 option.

Available to order now, the new Defender 130 V8 uses the same 5.0-litre supercharged unit as the most potent variants of the Land Rover Defender 90 and 110 – albeit detuned slightly to give 493bhp and 450lb ft – and can crack the 0-62mph sprint in just 5.4sec.

It's marked out from the six-cylinder petrol and diesel 130 variants by its bespoke grey and black paint options, a quad-exit exhaust, bespoke badging and 22in dark grey wheels. It ticks most of the interior option boxes, too, with 14-way heated and cooled front seats, four-zone climate control, a Meridian sound system and a head-up display fitted as standard. 

It's on sale now for £116,845, just edging the 110 V8 as the most expensive version of the Defender. Customer deliveries are expected to get under way in the coming months.

JLR would not confirm whether the Defender 130 V8 is the last production car to use the venerable 'AJ' V8, which was first introduced in 4.0-litre form for the Jaguar XJ8 and XK8 in 1997. Today, the 5.0-litre lump is used only by the range-topping Defender models and the Jaguar F-Type, which is in its final year of production, while the V8 Range Rover cars have swapped to a BMW-derived 4.4-litre item. 

Also added to the order books for 2023 is the new Defender 130 'Outbound' edition, which drops the rearmost row of seats to allow "those with active and adventurous lifestyles to pack everything they need to get out and explore" - opening up a whopping 1329-litre boot, which rises to 2516 litres with the middle row folded.

The Outbound gets a purposeful, rugged makeover in line with its go-anywhere billing and is on sale now for £80,390, exclusively with the 296bhp D300 diesel engine.

The Defender 130 brings 340mm of extra length added behind the rear axle, rather than between the wheels as was the case for its predecessor. As a result, it is identical to the mid-sized 110 ahead of the C-pillar. Measuring 5358mm long overall, it is primed to take on the largest luxury SUVs on sale and is actually slightly longer than the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

It accommodates a new two-three-three seating layout as an option, which makes the Defender the only mainstream SUV in Europe capable of carrying more than seven occupants. In the UK, eight-seat layouts are currently the preserve of van-derived MPVs and people carriers.

The three rows in the eight-seat car are arranged in a ‘stadium’ format – whereby the middle and rearmost are slightly elevated – to enhance forward visibility. Land Rover says access to the rear seats is “effortless”, courtesy of a sliding and folding middle row, and three adults can travel in comfort back there with “generous head room”, heated seats, padded armrests, storage cubbies and USB-C ports. There is a second panoramic sunroof at the back of the car, too, so the interior is “light and airy for everyone”, and four-zone air conditioning can be equipped as an option

Land Rover points out that because it has crafted a “subtle boat-tail uplift” of the lower body behind the rear wheels to make room for the extra space, the 130 has a departure angle of 28.5deg – lower than the 110’s 40deg but still competitive against its luxury off-roading rivals.

As with the range-topping V8 versions of the 90 and 110, the 130 comes as standard with the largest, 11.4in curved touchscreen in Land Rover’s portfolio, running the latest generation of the firm’s Pivi Pro software. The 130 can be had with a choice of new interior trim options, including chrome air vents and seat switches, oak veneer and tan leather seats.

Aside from the new V8 and Outbound editions, it is available in SE, HSE, X-Dynamic, X and limited-run First Edition guises – the last of which is offered in three “carefully curated” bespoke colour combinations and comes with the bulk of the option boxes ticked. All variants are equipped with adaptive air suspension, giving up to 430mm of articulation and, in its highest setting, a wading depth of 900mm.

Buyers also get a choice of three mild-hybridised powertrains, familiar from the shorter Defender models and each paired with an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. The P300 petrol straight six opens the line-up with 296bhp and 347lb ft, while the P400 brings hikes of 99bhp and 59lb ft and cuts the 0-62mph sprint from 8.0sec to 6.6sec. Diesel power comes in the form of the 296bhp, 479lb ft D300 straight six, which covers the 0-62mph sprint in 7.5sec.

There is no word yet on whether the Defender 130 is in line to follow its 90 and 110 range-mates in gaining a plug-in hybrid option. 

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