Currently reading: 2023 Land Rover Defender SVX adds rugged styling and V8 power
British firm is readying a new range-topping Defender with a snarling V8 and rugged styling

Land Rover is readying a radical new range-topping version of the Defender to take on the Mercedes-AMG G500 4x42 – and it’s been spotted up close during its latest phase of testing in extreme winter conditions. 

Expected to be the long-awaited spearhead for the dormant SVX sub-brand, the Land Rover Defender prototype was pictured in a 110-sized specification sporting a black and white camouflage livery with bronze exterior paint. 

Our closest look yet of the upcoming car, the prototype was also equipped with specialised parts to protect the front bumper from damage. 

Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division (SVO) planned to launch the SVX brand for the most extreme reworkings of series-production models and to sell them alongside SVR and SVAutobiography cars.

The first model in this family was to be the 518bhp V8-powered Land Rover Discovery SVX, but that was cancelled in 2019. 

Land Rover told Autocar the badge would live on for other, unspecified models, and JLR design boss Gerry McGovern had earlier suggested it would “arguably” be appropriate for future Defender models.

Previously, a heavily modified Land Rover Defender prototype took to the Nürburgring Nordschleife, appearing to confirm the SVX plan could be back on.

SVO boss Michael van der Sande told Autocar last year that the division’s modus operandi is to “dial up the content of the car to nine, 10 or even 11 sometimes, depending on how crazy we want to go” – and the indications are that this new variant is the most ‘crazy’ Defender.

The quad exhausts point to the mule taking its power from the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 used by the existing Defender V8 (indeed, Van der Sande said it would be “a bit of time” before this engine is discontinued), which in that application produces 518bhp and 461lb ft for a 0-62mph time of 4.9sec and a 145mph top speed.

There are no clues to any mechanical alterations, but what is clear is just how extensively it is differentiated from the standard car.

The wheel arches, for example, are heavily flared, the suspension is raised, the wheels and tyres look to be bespoke all-terrain items and there’s a set of large mudflaps to round off the look.

It’s a similar treatment to that applied to the heavily modified previous-generation Defender in the 2015 James Bond film Spectre. Other defining features of that highly exclusive creation were its external roll-cage, front winch and protective body elements.

While the standard Defender V8 competes with AMG’s big- selling G63 SUV, this variant would more closely rival the more extreme G500 4x42, which is expected to enter its second generation this year.


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It promises unrivalled off-road performance with on-road niceties. But does it deliver?

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Expect a dual focus on off- road capability and on-road pace, with a price that puts it well clear of the approximately £100,000 Defender V8.

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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wmb 24 February 2023

While we see spy shots of other brands developing some type of EV, we have very little evidence that JLR (Land Rover especially), is doing anything to prepare for their all electric lineup as they claimed by 2030! They just seem to keep cranking out more and more ICEs at every chance they get. I get it that 2030 is 7 years, an entire product cycle away, so JLR may reason that they want to maximize this time and put out as many ICE vehicles as possible, before that time comes. Yet, what are they doing in preparation for the BEV future?

ianp55 24 February 2023

Is this the dumbest SUV yet from Lanf Rover, over £100k for what should be the company's entry level model, I honestly wish that they'd pay attention to the marque's poor reputation for reliability than peddling product like this

xxxx 24 February 2023
ianp55 wrote:

Is this the dumbest SUV yet from Lanf Rover, over £100k for what should be the company's entry level model, 

So a snaring V8 should be the entry level model, really?

gavsmit 12 May 2022

I don't want to pick on JLR specifically, but in these troubled times of climate change and the cost of living crisis, not to mention those who take illegal actions to protest about anything that takes their fancy, I think people who drive cars like this are going to face a lot of hostility going forward.

Such an obvious display of wealth and disregard for the environment is sure to summon not only the wrath of the usual mob of protestors, but also those brainwashed by the agenda-driven media mafia (who probably also drive cars like this anyway).

It's such a shame that the fashion of pushing cars 'more upmarket' has led to Land Rover forgetting its roots with the Defender - I'd happily buy a stripped-out modern take on the Defender, even an EV version if the price was right. Let those who like huge horse-powered luxury SUVs have the Range Rover instead.



Just Saying 12 May 2022
Well said gavsmit. Nothing for me to add.
jason_recliner 25 February 2023
We should have these cars? Or we shouldn't have these cars?