The Defender offers a number of internally combusted drivetrains, with a plug-in hybrid to follow next year. For now, though, there are D200 (197bhp) and D240 (236bhp) 2.0-litre turbo diesels, a 2.0-litre P300 (296bhp) turbo petrol and this, the P400 (395bhp), which has a mildly hybridised inline six-cylinder petrol engine. All are from JLR’s Ingenium engine range and all drive through an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox to all four wheels, although there’s a low-ratio final drive, too.
The P400’s combustion is augmented by a twin-scroll turbocharger, then, plus a gentle 48V hybrid system. It never drives on electric power alone, but a starter/ generator assists take-off, and an electric supercharger torque-fills to minimise turbo lag below 2000rpm and ease some of the 3.0-litre straight-six’s burden.
It’s an exceptionally smooth engine, with solid response and a hefty dose of torque, too. The claim is that the hybrid system reduces CO2 by 6g/km, although given a P400 will still only officially return between 23.3mpg and 25.2mpg on the WLTP cycle and just about matched that during our on-road tests, it’s not setting the world alight.
Neither may its performance. As we write, we can’t get into a Defender to attach our timing gear to it, but while we’ve previously found JLR products will match their claimed 0-60mph times – 6.1sec in this case – they don’t do it so easily or repeatably as, say, Porsches or Audis, and they don’t feel as quick as the numbers suggest, and that’s true here. The quoted 2388kg kerb weight, before options, won’t help.