And we have liftoff!

    Land Rover has been spied hurtling a Defender prototype around the Nürburgring, lifting a wheel in the process.

    This could be the rumoured, more hardcore SV variant, judging by the Braid lightweight wheels, larger brakes and wider fender flares, the latter of which points to a wider track.

    The hotter Defender could be revealed in 2023, and it could use a version of the BMW-sourced 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine used in everything from the BMW M550i xDrive to the M8 Competition.

    Following its use in the new-generation Range Rover, this engine is expected to proliferate in the Land Rover range and be used in the next-generation Range Rover Sport as well.

    Outputs for this engine are up to 467kW of power and 750Nm of torque, as seen in the M5 CS, and it’s mated with a ZF-sourced eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission.

    Even in its lower state of tune, with 390kW and 750Nm, this 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 would put a Defender SV within reach of the ultra-luxurious Mercedes-AMG G63 with 430kW and 850Nm.

    For context, the current range-topping Defender P525 V8 is powered by a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 producing 386kW and 625Nm.

    This Defender prototype is covered in black-and-white camouflage, and the front and rear appear unchanged from the P525 V8 model.

    A production SV would reportedly receive larger air intakes and other lightweight components, and likely command a premium over the P525 V8.

    Although this prototype was only spied in five-door 110 bodystyle, it’s possible a Defender SV would also be made available in the three-door 90 bodystyle like the P525 V8.

    The current V8 flagship is priced from $220,530 before on-roads in 110 guise. A Mercedes-AMG G63, for context, starts at $314,897 before on-road costs.

    This isn’t the only new member of the Defender family that Land Rover is working on.

    In March 2021 Land Rover was spied winter testing a longer Defender 130 model with a longer rear overhang for improved luggage space and third-row comfort.

    A Defender ute has also been mooted and Autocar previously reported Land Rover could introduce a luxury Defender using the Range Rover’s MLA platform.

    Click an image to view the full gallery.

    MORE: Everything Land Rover Defender

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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