Land Rover has said nothing about the existence of a V8-powered Defender, but here it is in all its hunkered down, red brake caliper glory.

Spotted at Gaydon (Land Rover’s homebase and test facility in the UK) the number plates on this ‘prototype vehicle’ list it as a V8. That means, it’s likely got the same 5.0-litre supercharged V8 under its bonnet as the Range Rover Sport SVR.

But there’s a but…this is a Ford engine and the plant that makes this engine is being closed later this year, so, there’s a chance the engine could just be for evaluation purposes and that the rumoured engine share with BMW could see that brand’s V8 end up in the Defender.

Beyond the red calipers there aren’t any visual cues suggesting this Defender is anything particularly special, but… a V8 under the bonnet and a performance tune would allow the new Defender to dish out a smack in the chops to the Mercedes-AMG G63. But you’d expect the Defender will still need to be set foot off the bitumen. So, could we be looking at potentially the world’s best performance 4×4?

When he spoke with the media at the Defender first drive in Africa, design boss Jerry McGovern said: “From a technology point of view, we say we’ve future-proofed it, so it’s got all the things from a technology point of view that will keep it going for a long time. Because of [the Defender’s] product orientation it gives us the ability to do more versions, and I think that’s the way we’ll go with it”.

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