RE: JLR Classic Defender V8: Driven

RE: JLR Classic Defender V8: Driven

Wednesday 7th March

JLR Classic Defender V8: Driven

Have 70 years and £150,000 been enough to perfect the venerable off-roader? We found out...



I knew my brief drive in JLR Classic's "new" V8 Defender -- one of a batch of around 150 being re-engineered to take a 5.0-litre 400hp V8 -- was going to be something pretty special when I heard our editor had told Land Rover's people he'd "literally drive over his mother" to be first into Solihull's £150,000-plus sod-hopper, intended to commemorate the marque's 70th anniversary this year.

Luckily for Mrs Cackett senior I happened to be the bloke on the ground, not Nic, and managed to grab a five-mile punt through Geneva's back-blocks in the new toy. It was a bit of a surprise. A Defender will always be a Defender - what with the cramped driving position and all - but the Recaro seats, an eight-speed ZF auto and enough velvety grunt for a 5.6 second 0-60mph time - plus an unimpressive 106mph top speed, which shows how bad those aerodynamics really are - make this a really engaging vehicle, at least for those of a filthy rich persuasion.


That grunt is one thing, but what really gets your attention is the effect of the re-engineered springs, dampers and anti-roll bars, massive new brakes and a superb set of saw-tooth, 18-inch alloys running 265/65 tyres. Suddenly the car rides. It swallows bumps instead of amplifying them. You can have a proper conversation as you drive along a rutted street, instead of concentrating on driving around the craters. All that bucking about is just, well, gone. This Defender's never going to be a Lexus, but it's really quite comfortable. Better yet, the steering is re-engineered with zero slop at the straight-ahead (usually a Defender given) and zero drive-line backlash.

Somebody called this "the Defender as it always should have been" which is stretching the friendship somewhat because you've got to spend silly money to have a Landie as good as this. You can do lots of creative things with £150k. But there is a feeling, once you've driven that Classic, that JLR's engineers have zeroed in on the the weakest spots of the Defender, and discovered how to fix them, all in time for the 70th anniversary. Better late than never...

Land Rover Defender V8 - Specifications
Engine 4,999cc, V8
Transmission 8-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp) 405@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft) 380@5,000rpm
0-60mph 5.6 sec
Top speed 106 mph
Weight TBC
MPG TBC
CO2 TBC
Price from £150,000

Steve Cropley

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

sidesauce

Original Poster:

701 posts

148 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
A case of too little, too late perhaps...?

josh00mac

133 posts

38 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
I have been quietly muttering for years that LR should have invested in it to make it their G-Wagen which has become huge for MB. I know it’s an old, restrictive design but where there’s a will there’s a way.

LooneyTunes

3,673 posts

88 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
sidesauce said:
A case of too little, too late perhaps...?
Most definitely, in my view.

Had my name (and deposit) down with a dealer when there were rumours of a V8 last hurrah back in 2014/2015... zero interest in paying £150k for one of these re-manufactured ones.

The standard TDCi is slow and deeply flawed, but it makes no attempt to hide what it is and has tremendous character as a result. Have the cash and want a V8 or travel in greater comfort? There's the FFRR... or a 50th. I know where my money would go.

cmvtec

238 posts

11 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
I wish this car as a whole would go away.

I work in the QA department of one of the suppliers and the particular part we make is absolutely disastrous to buy off on every time we make it.

Interesting take on a Defender, though. Not my cup of tea.

easytiger123

1,325 posts

139 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
cmvtec said:
I work in the QA department of one of the suppliers and the particular part we make is absolutely disastrous to buy off on every time we make it.
Genuine question, what does the above mean? It is unclear to me. Thanks

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cmvtec

238 posts

11 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
easytiger123 said:
Genuine question, what does the above mean? It is unclear to me. Thanks
Sorry, sometimes one becomes immersed in jargon when one is surrounded by it all day long.

When the parts are set to be manufactured, the tooling is brought in and set up and parts start being made. This usually requires a degree of tinkering and perfecting; in the case of the Defender, a great deal. Once an acceptable part is produced, quality will sign it off as acceptable and a batch of parts will be manufactured.

I've lost hours of my life attempting to sign off Defender components, only to find various different issues, preventing sign off. Rubbish tooling is usually to blame.

Edited by cmvtec on Wednesday 7th March 06:58

easytiger123

1,325 posts

139 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
cmvtec said:
Sorry, sometimes one becomes immersed in jargon when one is surrounded by it all day long.

When the parts are set to be manufactured, the tooling is brought in and set up and parts start being made. This usually requires a degree of tinkering and perfecting; in the case of the Defender, a great deal. Once an acceptable part is produced, quality will sign it off as acceptable and a batch of parts will be manufactured.

I've lost hours of my life attempting to sign off Defender components, only to find various different issues, preventing sign off. Rubbish tooling is usually to blame.

Edited by cmvtec on Wednesday 7th March 06:58
Thank you. So for 150k buyers can expect some trouble ahead!

seapod

110 posts

129 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
LooneyTunes said:
Had my name (and deposit) down with a dealer when there were rumours of a V8 last hurrah back in 2014/2015... zero interest in paying £150k for one of these re-manufactured ones.

The standard TDCi is slow and deeply flawed, but it makes no attempt to hide what it is and has tremendous character as a result.
I have a TDCi and after a great deal of research and spending time on Defender2.net, I have applied a Bell Auto Services remap. Bell are the outfit that provide Bowler Motorsport with their tuning packages for the Fast Road Spec Defenders, ie they know what they are doing. Well worth doing, its a proper tune rather than simply a chip that tries to turn everything up to 11. Very smooth, oodles of torque and mid-range grunt (I can overtake things on a B road!) Claimed 170bhp (up from 122) although I haven't tested this. From a reliability perspective the engine is now running to a level similar to its tune in the Ford Ranger, so you aren't pushing its mechanical limits.

Makes the Defender the vehicle it should have been, at least from a power perspective!

sgtBerbatov

689 posts

11 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
How can it be the Defender it should've always been? All you've done is throw it round tarmac. The Defender was intended to be thrown about a muddy field, and it does that job fairly well.

If the driver wants a car that can do silly speeds and quick acceleration, then they can always go for a Jaguar. But a Defender is meant to be thrown off road, not on road.

Turbobanana

990 posts

131 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
sgtBerbatov said:
How can it be the Defender it should've always been? All you've done is throw it round tarmac. The Defender was intended to be thrown about a muddy field, and it does that job fairly well.

If the driver wants a car that can do silly speeds and quick acceleration, then they can always go for a Jaguar. But a Defender is meant to be thrown off road, not on road.
This, exactly.

While I love this, there is no way you can reasonably claim it's the Defender it should always have been. Silly piece of journalism.

akirk

2,249 posts

44 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
sidesauce said:
A case of too little, too late perhaps...?
too little
too late
too much

how can any company justify charging £150k for that?!
so it pushes power up to 400bhp and sorts out some sloppy steering, adds new brakes / gearbox and tweaks the suspension - finishes it with some leather inside... If you add up those costs you might just get to half the selling price... I am having a new engine built for my RRC - c. £3-4k cost we are aiming at 300bhp with good torque, but it wouldn't have been that challenging to get it to 400 / 500 bhp etc.

A Chevy LS7 7.0litre / 500+bhp is here for £13k: http://www.partsworldperformance.com/ls7-v8-crate-...

how exactly do they get to £150k?!

bizarre what people will pay!

Pintofbest

455 posts

40 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
easytiger123 said:
Thank you. So for 150k buyers can expect some trouble ahead!
I read it more that the supplier cannot deliver to quality hence the issue is solely theirs until they make a part that is acceptable, the parts that do make the grade get accepted therefore there should be no issue to the customers.

Interesting thing to muse over though, JLR design, engineer and bolt together in the main, suppliers make the parts. When parts fail due to quality then JLR get the blame not the supplier which is not correct.

bakerstreet

3,681 posts

95 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
LooneyTunes said:
Most definitely, in my view.

Had my name (and deposit) down with a dealer when there were rumours of a V8 last hurrah back in 2014/2015... zero interest in paying £150k for one of these re-manufactured ones.

The standard TDCi is slow and deeply flawed, but it makes no attempt to hide what it is and has tremendous character as a result. Have the cash and want a V8 or travel in greater comfort? There's the FFRR... or a 50th. I know where my money would go.
All Defenders are slow and deeply flawed. Been that way since about 1948 biggrin

People have been slotting V8s into Defenders for years. There are also companies who have installed the 6Sp box from the D3 along with the 2.7TDV6 too. The LS1 engined Defenders are pretty awesome and they are £90k.

If you wanted a V8 Defedner, I recon you could have found a company to build you one for £50k using a TDCI as a base or maybe a late TD5. Nicer interior on the TDCI though.

As a long term LR fan and an owner of two (Always need one spare), I don't have a lot of love for this £150k collectors piece (Which is what it is) LR will keep two or three and I'd imagine the rest have already been sold to collectors all over the world. Several top china and the UAE probably.

LR should have done this build years ago years ago. There was a rumour going round that an un-named dealer bought a load of the Defender 90s in the last months of production. I'm wandering if this is what they were for.


DanG355

29 posts

131 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
The dealer that bought a load of late 90's was Kahn http://www.kahndesign.com/


Edited by DanG355 on Wednesday 7th March 09:24

TWPC

523 posts

91 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
The engine and the price are relatively uninteresting: the big news from this report is that after 7 decades they've made a Landie ride properly!

How much did those suspension changes cost to develop and engineer?
Have they compromised its off road performance?

LewisR

664 posts

145 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
"all-wheel drive" ??
What's wrong with stating 4WD ?

Brynjaminjones

100 posts

53 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
LewisR said:
"all-wheel drive" ??
What's wrong with stating 4WD ?
I would guess that it's to highlight that it's in permanent 4wd with a centre differential.

TooMany2cvs

25,364 posts

56 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
LewisR said:
"all-wheel drive" ??
What's wrong with stating 4WD ?
<walks round car, counting>
There's a difference here...?

Newsflash: It's 4x4, too.

easytiger123 said:
Thank you. So for 150k buyers can expect some trouble ahead!
Don't forget these aren't new-built Defenders. They're used ones, bought back in and re-worked.

As for the ride improving - do we think that might be something to do with the suspension now being uselessly st off-road? Those wheels certainly will be.

rtz62

1,422 posts

85 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
Being a Range Rover owner (and believing they are called an ‘off-road’ Vehicle not because they can go off road but because they spend a considerable amount of time off of the road, broken in some way) why would you pay £150k for this when you can buy a 6.2l Defender from Twisted for £95k on PHs own sales page...?
Just asking

J4CKO

24,355 posts

130 months

Wednesday 7th March
quotequote all
Why are they messing about warming over leftovers ?

150 grand for a second hand Land Rover with a big engine, there must be a market so fair play to them but I can think of a million better things to spend 150 large on, even if I was remotely bothered about farm machinery, cant you get your own and do something similar for a lot less money, cant see where 150 grand has gone ?

FFS get on with making a new one, though everyone knows it will be a bit too "lifestyle", it really wont be for farmers, the military and those that lift on the side of hills, they buy Japanese these days I guess, so the market is now for expensive playthings for those who other high end SUV's are a bit passe, no thanks on the X5M, Cayenne Turbo or similar, I will have a really fast version of the old utility one, sort of like the idea but its like mobile phones, run out of the normal expensive options, get a Vertu, not cutting edge as a phone, generally worse than something cheaper but the plebs cant afford them and you can ring a man to get you an Irish Coffee at 3 am and get it delivered to their bedroom.