The West Midlands company, which has produced reimagined versions of the Defender such as the V8-powered Zulu2, first revealed to Autocar that it was working on an Ecoboost conversion in June last year. The firm has now completed a shakedown with a development car and is taking orders from customers.
Ford’s 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit, which is used in various performance cars such as the Focus RS and Mustang, produces up to 305bhp and 319lb ft of torque in the Defender. JE has altered the motor so it runs in a way more suited to the iconic SUV.
The Ecoboost engine is significantly more potent than the Ford Transit-sourced 2.2 diesel used in the discontinued Defender (it came with 122bhp and 266lb ft). It is also claimed to be much cleaner — although no emissions figures have yet been released. The engine produces as little as 175g/km of CO2 in other cars, significantly undercutting the 266g/km output in the final Defender.
JE boss Jonathan Douglas told Autocar last year that “increasing rules and regulations restricting the use of diesel-engined vehicles in certain environments, particularly in cities” had spurred his company on to produce a more eco-friendly option. He expected “many Defender owners [to] see a modern, direct-injection petrol engine as a good, more environment-friendly solution”.