Most powerful Defender ever: new Land Rover Defender Octa revealed in full with 626bhp twin-turbo V8

For diamond geezers everywhere

You’re looking at the 626bhp Land Rover Defender Octa, an output which unsurprisingly bestows upon it the title of “most powerful production Defender” yet to see the light of day.

Taking its name from the octagonal structure of diamond – because that precious gemstone is a “rare combination of extreme toughness and luxury” – the Octa is almost as expensive: this new performance flagship will cost from around £145,300 in its regular form, and a colossal £160,900 as the limited-run, fully loaded Edition One.

The Octa is based on the Defender 110 and under the bonnet is a 4.4-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine which is augmented by mild-hybrid fuel-saving technology.

Defender Octa

Dynamic debut due at Goodwood

With the 626bhp assisted by up to 590lb ft of torque (twisting force), the Octa can go from 0-62mph in just four seconds and is limited to a top speed of 155mph.

That’ll depend on tyres, though. Fit the 22in wheels and road tyres, and yes, your Octa will max out at 155mph. But there are two stages of off-road tyre on 20in wheels, which have varied ratings of mud-plugging capabilities, though they lower the V-max to either 130- or 100mph accordingly.

Defender Octa

Land Rover will give the Defender Octa its dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, with order books for this ultra-powerful model opening soon.

Visually, the Octa is at once both familiar, and yet easily distinguishable from the rest of the range.

On the latter score, this is chiefly because it has 68mm wider, more aggressively styled wheel arches, covering a broader track for the wheels, while it also stands 28mm taller than the regular Defender.

It’s a good swimmer

That means it can wade through deeper water than any production Defender which has gone before it, and probably any other mainstream production SUV or 4×4 either, as the Octa can ford through fully one metre of water without any difficulties.

Other styling touches include bespoke paint finishes for this model, the option of chopped carbon-fibre trim detailing and revised bumpers front and rear, with the one at the back incorporating quad exhaust pipes which are angled.

This allows the Octa to preserve the best possible approach and departure angles of the Defender, so that it’s as good off-road as it is on it.

Defender Octa

Finishing the lot off are a mainly black tailgate area, as well as simple Octa encircled-diamond logos at various strategic points on the exterior.

The black diamond will appear on a titanium badge that has been machined and sandblasted, with titanium chosen for its robustness and resistance to the elements. The new Octa logo will mark out future range-topping models.

Defender Octa teaser

The Octa button

Inside, it’s much as the Defender 110, although there are specific trim and material finishes for the car which mark it out.

There’s also an Octa button on the steering wheel, which can be clicked briefly for Dynamic mode when owners are on tarmac, or which – if pressed for a long hold – switches the car into its most aggressive off-road setting and turns much of the light-up interior bits red.

Defender Octa

There are also fancy “Body and Soul” seats, debuting for the first time in a Land Rover and linked to the sound system. They can pulse in time with the music, allowing owners to feel as well as hear their favourite tunes.

As fast off-road as it is on it

Like any other Defender, the Octa has an eight-speed automatic transmission with high- and low-range gears, but it also employs “6D Dynamics” suspension technology, as well as 400mm front brake discs clamped by Brembo callipers and the fastest steering ratio of any Defender to date.

That suspension includes hydraulically interlinked, continuously variable, semi-active dampers that, Land Rover claims, can work pre-emptively to virtually eliminate any pitch and body roll in the Octa.

Defender Octa

It also allows this potent Defender to have greater wheel articulation off-road, so much so that Land Rover claims it is actually more capable away from the road network than the regular cars are.

To that end, the company put the Octa through more than 13,960 additional tests during its bespoke development programme, including high-speed off- and on-road durability.

“We’re incredibly excited for the way in which Octa will broaden the appeal of Defender for UK clients,” said Jaguar Land Rover UK’s managing director, Patrick McGillycuddy.

“This highly exclusive new model takes the brand to new heights, exploring the ultimate in tough luxury, and blending performance and off-road capability in one enthralling vehicle.”

Rather like a Ford Ranger Raptor, then, the Defender Octa has been designed not just to crawl about on green lanes at super-slow speeds, but to be able to travel across rougher ground almost as quickly as it can go on tarmac. Should be useful come the apocalypse.

Related articles

Latest articles