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Crazy Suspension, Most Powerful Yet: Dream-Worthy Land Rover Defender Octa Teased

Land Rover is teasing a new Defender model called the Octa. It will be the most powerful Defender ever, thanks to a twin-turbo V8, and it will get the 6D Dynamics suspension from the RR Sport SV.

Land Rover DefenderOcta; (photo/JLR)
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Land Rover is embracing its inner Bond villain with a storming new Defender. The hottest Landie since Bowler Motors last had a go at the brand, the Land Rover Defender Octa promises to be the company’s stiff-upper-lip answer to the Ford Bronco Raptor.

It’s just a tease for now, but Land Rover is calling it “a new high-performance hero.” That’s a bold claim, but it’s tough to ignore. So here’s our look at what we know and what we can assume from what Land Rover is saying.

New Twin-Turbo V8

Defender Octa gets a mild-hybrid twin-turbo V8 engine, meaning it won’t be the V8 the Defender uses now. The current V8 Defender uses the company’s aging 5.0L V8 engine, which has been in the Jaguar Land Rover lineup since 1997. It’s plenty powerful, but it’s also supercharged and not a twin-turbo.

Is Land Rover going to drop the blower for a pair of turbos and add mild-hybrid tech? It’s not likely, especially since the engine is now only used in two other models, both Jaguars, and both of those drop the 5.0L this year.

Range Rover models have already moved on to a 4.4L V8, which the company sources from BMW. It’s the likely choice, especially given that the engine is both twin-turbocharged and has mild hybrid tech. Land Rover said the Octa will be the “most powerful Defender ever,” and the 4.4L V8 makes 626 horsepower in the Range Rover Sport SV. That’s a healthy dose of vitamin H over the current V8 Defender’s 518.

Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Defender Octa; (photo/JLR)

Big, gold-painted Brembo brake calipers are another hint as to the Octa’s performance. No details on how many pistons, but the size of them makes it look like six or more are on the way.

6D Suspension From Range Rover Sport SV

Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Defender Octa; (photo/JLR)

If more power isn’t enough, the Octa will also get Range Rover’s latest and greatest suspension system. The 6D Dynamics system launched in the Range Rover Sport SV, and it is quite a performance accomplishment.

Instead of conventional anti-roll bars, it uses the 48V electrical system to run a hydraulic pump and pressure system. The hydraulics link the air suspension’s dampers at all four corners, which lets Land Rover engineers remove pitch and dive as well as body roll.

Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Defender Octa; (photo/JLR)

A Range Rover Sport with the 6D suspension can corner with more than 1G of lateral acceleration, and it can do it on all-season tires. Not performance rubber. Speaking of which, the Octa looks like it will come with Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs all-terrain tires.

More important than those high cornering forces, the 6D suspension is better off-road. Forget a sway bar disconnect; in this case, the bars are back in England. Each tire and wheel can move up and down with no link to the one on the other side of the same axle. More wheel articulation means you can drive over more obstacles and keep your rubber on the trail.

Land Rover Defender Octa Tested From Moab to Nurburgring

Because it’s designed to go fast both on and off road, Land Rover is taking it on one of the most varied test regimens we’ve ever seen. It will get put through its paces in Sweden’s snow and ice and the heat of the desert in Dubai. It also might be the only vehicle you can buy that has been tested on both Germany’s famed Nurburgring race track and at the rock-crawling destination of Moab.

Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Defender Octa; (photo/JLR)

Octa gets a new logo with what Land Rover calls “a diamond’s octahedron shape” but we call a square turned on its side. The logo, inside a circle, looks like the signet ring you’d expect to see on the latest bad boss in a Bond film. Or maybe the next Kingsman. The circle is a machined and sandblasted titanium disc, so at least it looks cool.

There will be some changes inside. Land Rover is showing off a new steering wheel with that new logo. Expect some seriously beefy seat bolsters, along with the go-to go-fast material microfiber on every surface.

Land Rover Defender
Octa; (photo/JLR)

Defender Octa Full Reveal Comes Later This Year

That’s about all Land Rover is saying for now, but we can get a lot from a little. A 600-horse Defender that’s more capable on and off-road sounds like a dream come true. Even if it comes with a price tag that we expect to be well into six figures. Think of it as a Braptor for the Safari or a Wrangler 392 that you can take to the yacht club, and we think you’ll have the right picture.

The Defender Octa will be fully revealed later this year. Shortly before that, the company will bring special prospective clients to a series of sneak peeks at new Defender Elements events around the world. If you want on that list, or one in your driveway, contact your dealer now.

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