Limited-run 4x4 model was conceived by ex-Lotus and Formula 1 manager Dany Bahar’s design company

Deliveries of bespoke Land Rover Defenders created by a Modena-based Ares Design have commenced, leading the company's CEO Dany Bahar to declare that the "ultimate Defender" is now here.

“The Defender is a motoring icon,” said Bahar, a former Formula 1 senior manager and Lotus boss. “Icons can be reimagined, though, and our Defender is the ultimate incarnation of the bespoke 4x4, delivering incredible performance, captivating looks and opulent touches more akin to a luxury SUV."

Bahar claims Ares "hasn't forgotten that owning a Defender is about the drive: off or on-road", so his company's new model, of which just 53 examples are due to be made, enhances the traits that made Land Rover's model famous in the first place.

Inside Ares Design

Developed in collaboration with famed Land Rover tuner JE Motorworks, the reimagined Defender uses a 282bhp, 325lb ft Rover V8 with a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox, upgraded driveshafts, differentials and a bespoke exhaust system.

Buyers can upgrade to a supercharged version that offers 478bhp and 479lb ft.

It also gets a suspension lift (75mm for the naturally aspirated version and 50mm for the supercharged car), bespoke 18in wheels and an off-roading kit, as well as sidesteps, roofbars and winches to boost its ruggedness.

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The interior and exterior work, which renders the car almost unrecognisable on the inside from the Defender’s standard look, is carried out at Ares' facility in Modena.

The inside is far more luxurious than the utilitarian original of the Defender, with the use of aluminium, carbonfibre, hand-crafted wood and the finest Italian leather throughout.

“Every aspect of the modification is critical to us," said Bahar. "Mechanical engineering capability of this high standard is extremely hard to find, but perhaps we could have guessed such a capability would be located close to the original home of the Defender."

Jonathan Douglas, JE’s chief engineer, said: "The brief was effectively what would a Jaguar Land Rover SVO (Special Vehicles Operations) version of the Defender look like - and then improve on it".

Buyers provide their own Defender and the conversion work takes around eight weeks. Prices start at €215,000 (about £192,230).

2016 JE Motorworks Zulu2 110 review

Read more: 

New Land Rover Defender will be brand's most high-tech car yet

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Join the debate


10 April 2017
Also known as a Range Rover.

10 April 2017
Remember Lotus Dany?




10 April 2017
I love Defenders (had three) but I fail to see the point. I assume that roof bar is some sort of rollover bar - a necessity in any Defender, lest you be killed in ANY rollover. There's also the cramped driving position, the location of the handbrake, the knocking of your elbow on the pillar, the rather harsh ride and poor handling. So as long as all these points are addressed then...wait a minute, there's a new Defender coming out in two years with all these points (and more) taken care of, so I really fail to see the point. Unless, of course, the rumours that JLR intend to drop production of the new Defender, are true.

17 July 2018

Why has it got two snorkels? I am trying not to laugh 


10 April 2017
Kitch for gits

10 April 2017
For so long as they can shift G Class for £150k there is scope to tweak the Defender to infinity and up the price accordingly. Same, in theory, with the Jeep Wrangler. They don't need very many obscenely vulgar and rich yobs to succeed.

10 April 2017
'Ex Formula 1 Manager'. Really? I seem to recall he was a brand manager at Ferrari SPA. And then of course, Jim, he controversially ran Lotus. How can you possibly write about the man and not mention this? Bizarrely evasive.

10 April 2017
Perhaps there's a legal restriction (inserted by Lotus) that the name Dany Bahar and Lotus can't be used in the same article.

10 April 2017
"Ex Formula 1 Manager", more sloppy poorly researched journalism ! What is it about this man that Autocar seem to want to protect ? Remember Cropely's breathtakingly sycophantic articles about him when he was "running" Lotus ( further into the ground ), Cringeworthy.

10 April 2017
This has winner written all over it. Everything he touches turns into gold.


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