Currently reading: Extreme Land Rover Defender Octa due in July with snarling V8
New brand for flagship Defenders kicks off with a hardcore super-4x4 that’s tipped to nudge £200,000

As JLR prepares the first electric Range Rover for launch, it is also gearing up to reveal the most extreme V8-powered 4x4 it has yet produced.

The Defender Octa will be revealed on 3 July as a highly exclusive and extremely capable super-off-roader, which is set to use the twin-turbocharged, mild-hybrid 4.4-litre V8 from BMW, as deployed in the X5 and X6 M super-SUVs.

Just 1070 examples of this hardcore special edition will come to the UK in its first year of production, featuring "tough luxury material choices, striking exterior and interior design enhancements, and the options available to make every adventure epic", according to JLR.

The latest round of preview images show the Octa being subjected to "the most extreme" test programme of any Defender variant yet, with engineers conducting a claimed 13,960 additional tests on top of the standard Defender test programme.

So far, it has conducted countless laps of the Nordschleife, tackled Michelin's wet-weather handling circuit in France, had its traction control put to the test on Swedish ice and taken on some of the world's most challenging off-road trails in Dubai and Utah.

It has also, JLR says, "conquered every extreme trail" at the company's 4x4 test track in Eastnor, Herefordshire.

Interested customers are being invited to sign up for one of seven 'Defender Elements' preview events being hosted worldwide in the coming weeks, but the firm has given no indication of pricing yet. It's safe to assume the Octa's limited, extreme billing will take it well clear of the £114k asked for today's most expensive Defender.

Previously thought to carry the long-dormant SVX branding, the radical new off-roader has been spotted testing several times, but only now – a few months before its debut – has the firm given the first official details of the new model.

It will be the first car to wear the new Octa badge, which JLR says will be used for all future range-topping Defender models. The name is said to come from the octahedron shape of a diamond, the hardest naturally occurring mineral on Earth - a reflection, no doubt, of both the car’s durability and price. 


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Technical details remain largely under wraps, but JLR has confirmed the new variant will use a twin-turbocharged V8 rather than the supercharged 'AJ' unit in the existing eight-cylinder Defender models. 

The predicted 4.4-litre BMW-sourced unit is already used in various Range Rover models, including the Sport SV. In that car, it puts out 626bhp and 590lb ft, and propels the 2.5-tonne SUV to 62mph in just 3.8sec.

Using the BMW engine would suggest that the long-running 'AJ' V8 is not long for this world. Autocar previously reported that AJ production ended last year, and that JLR retained a stockpile of supercharged 5.0-litre units, of indeterminate quantity. 

JLR has also revealed that the Octa will use the same ‘6D Dynamic’ suspension system as the Range Rover Sport SV. This system hydraulically links the dampers front to rear as well as side to side, providing active control over the car’s pitch and roll without a physical anti-roll bar. 

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That should help to provide the level of wheel articulation required by a hardcore off-roader like the Octa, without compromising on-road drivability or comfort.

To that end, Defender said it is testing the car in the “most exhaustive” range of conditions of any of its cars to date; “from the snow and ice of Sweden to Dubai desert, Nürburgring Tarmac and Moab rock crawls”.

Images published by the firm reveal that the Octa also receives a bespoke set of Brembo brakes, suggesting on-track performance is a priority. These are marked with the special Octa diamond logo, which also features on the steering wheel and side-pannier mounts.

The Defender Octa will be revealed in full later this year. Pricing has yet to be detailed, but the similarly conceived Range Rover Sport SV costs nearly £85,000 more than the luxurious Autobiography model, hinting at the kind of mark-up that could be applied to the Octa. For reference, the current top-of-the-line Defender 90 – the V8 Carpathian Edition – is priced from £114,975.

Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin Autocar
Title: Editorial Assistant, Autocar

As a reporter, Charlie plays a key role in setting the news agenda for the automotive industry. He joined Autocar in July 2022 after a nine-month stint as an apprentice with sister publication, What Car?. He's previously contributed to The Intercooler, and placed second in Hagerty’s 2019 Young Writer competition with a feature on the MG Metro 6R4

He is the proud owner of a Fiat Panda 100HP, and hopes to one day add a lightweight sports car like an Alpine A110 or a Lotus Elise S1 to his collection.

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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HiPo 289 26 April 2024

Madness.  JLR is fiddling while Rome burns.  What they should be doing is competing with Rivian for the future, instead of competing with Toyota for the past.

Rastus 26 March 2024

Great another obnoxiously large and powerful SUV to take over the street with when dropping the little dears off at school.

broxib19 27 March 2024

I see alot of people across the country drop their 'little dears' off at school in their £200k Ferrari's or £500k Lambo's.I hope you have posted a similar comment on any Autocar posts about high end sports cars and Hypercars??

jason_recliner 25 April 2024
broxib19 wrote:

I see alot of people across the country drop their 'little dears' off at school in their £200k Ferrari's or £500k Lambo's.I hope you have posted a similar comment on any Autocar posts about high end sports cars and Hypercars??

Define "a lot".

Sulphur Man 26 March 2024

Remember the EV revolution? Good times

Andrew1 26 March 2024

Mercedes will launch an electric version for the G Classe.

xxxx 26 March 2024

Yea because this really is going to affect to ICE vehicle to BEV split.