The Land Rover Defender 2022 has arrived with an updated range of powertrains (including a 518 hp supercharged V18) and new equipment offerings, including an improved (and improved, according to Land Rover) infotainment system.
Let’s start with this V8. It’s the only engine offered in the Defender without cylinders in a straight line. The supercharged 5.0-liter engine delivers 518 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque and can get the SUV to 60 mph a full second faster than the fastest Defender currently on sale. Do you need another 100 horsepower in a Defender? Do you need V8 noise? Do you need to get 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds? Do you need a top speed of 149 mph?
We can’t answer these questions for you, but if you read our review of the 2020 Defender, you’ll find that we haven’t cited a lack of performance among the defects of the SUV. The V8 also has at least one disadvantage of its own: its weight. Land Rover hasn’t released full specs for US models yet, but a spokesman told us the EU model will gain between £ 600 and £ 700 to make the leap from the I-6 to the V8. Much of this is likely due to improvements in drivetrain and chassis components. Land Rover, for example, advertises the larger, solid stabilizers of the V8 model.
The V8 will anchor the top end of the Defender 2022’s engine range, which includes 2.0 and 3.0 liter engines that deliver 296 and 395 horsepower, respectively. Overseas, the 2022 Defender will get both a diesel engine and a PHEV variant. Neither of them will cross the Atlantic this year, and we suspect the only one that has a chance of being sold here is the PHEV. Certification of diesel engines in the US has proven difficult over the past five years, to say the least.
The inclusion of the V8 brought changes to the chassis and drive train of the Defender. The rear trick differential, the additional chassis components and the selectable driving modes (Land Rover calls it “Terrain Response”) have been recalibrated, as has the torque vectoring programming. A new “dynamic” mode allows drivers to take advantage of the Defender V8’s full potential, or just hang the rear end if you’re interested in a 4×4. The “V8” badges and blue accents in the exterior shots are some of the clothes that accompany the larger engine, and the brakes aren’t just painted differently. They’re bigger too.
2022 also marks the launch of an updated Pivi Pro infotainment suite, which now has a larger optional 11.4-inch touchscreen, wireless device charging, and a stronger Wi-Fi signal. According to Land Rover, the new system also launches much faster and has a great response to the outbound unit. Both are welcome improvements.
* We put the asterisk above on “arrived” because if last year has shown us anything, Land Rover is struggling to get the Defenders into circulation, especially here in the US where the short wheelbase model has been 90 since launch AWOL is and 110 models are available, but largely rare. Land Rover doesn’t have pricing information for the 2022 model yet. That will get closer to launch whenever that ends.