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Land Rover Defender Octa Is A 626-HP Beast Coming For The Raptors Of The World

Photo: Land Rover
Photo: Land Rover

Land Rover is giving the Defender a huge performance and capability bump in the form of the new Defender Octa, which has finally made its debut after years of testing and spy shots. It’s got a new BMW-sourced engine, a wider stance, a revised chassis and a much beefier look, all in a bid to make this the most extreme Defender ever.

The big story here with the Octa is that Land Rover has chucked away the old supercharged AJ 5.0-liter V8 in favor of BMW’s twin-turbo 4.4-liter mild-hybrid V8 that’s also used in the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. Some enthusiasts will cry over the lack of a supercharger wine, but this thing still sounds mean, and it puts out 626 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission with a low-range gearbox.

Photo: Land Rover
Photo: Land Rover

That’s enough oomph to move the Defender Octa from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, an impressive accomplishment in a truck as big as this. Keep your foot in it and the Octa will go on to a 155-mph top speed when fitted with the correct wheels and tires. You’ve got your choice between more street-focused wheels and tires or beefy off-road ones with 33-inch all-terrain Goodyear rubber.

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Land Rover raised the height of the Defender Octa by 1.1 inches, and it’s not just for show. The Octa can wade deeper than any production Defender before it, up to 3.3 feet of water. Its stance and wheel arches are also widened by 2.7 inches to give it a real road presence, and because it’s so wide, it now has those amber marker lights on the front and red ones in the rear. What a cool look.

Photo: Land Rover
Photo: Land Rover

Overall, it doesn’t look too different than a regular Defender, but there are enough little touches that’ll let you know this isn’t a run-of-the-mill Defender, like a different grille, chopped carbon-fiber bits, quad exhausts tips, a new bumper design, bronze accents, a new logo and tough underbody protection. You can even get a snorkel, because of course you can.

Land Rover revised the suspension to include longer and tougher wishbones as well as a different active damper setup. The Octa has Land Rover’s trick 6D Dynamics suspension system, first seen in the Range Rover Sport SV. Land Rover says it uses an “advanced network of hydraulically-interlinked continuously variable semi-active dampers virtually eliminates pitch and body roll on-road.” I’ve not driven the car yet, but from the small demo I was shown by a Land Rover representative, it’s pretty impressive stuff. Additionally, the Octa comes with Brembo brakes that have 15.7-inch discs and six-piston calipers up front.

Photo: Land Rover
Photo: Land Rover

The Octa defaults to the Comfort drive mode, but Dynamic mode will change up the truck’s on-road performance through changes to the steering, throttle and suspension settings. Hold the drive mode button down longer, and you enable Octa mode. It’s sort of a Baja blast mode that is meant to go up against stuff like Ford Raptors, Chevy Bisons and Ram 1500 TRXs of the word. Obviously, the Octa also comes with classic Land Rover off-road modes like Sand, Mud and Ruts, Grass Gravel Snow, and Rock Crawl.

The Octa can be had in a few unique colors, like Petra Copper and Faroe Green that are exclusive to the Edition One, as well as other Defender colors like Carpathian Grey and “Charente Grey. They’ll all get a contrasting roof and tailgate in gloss Narvik Black, and customers can decide to personalize their Octa with optional matte protective film from the factory. Fancy.

Photo: Land Rover
Photo: Land Rover

Inside, the Octa is once again fairly similar to the regular Defender. There are two different Ultrafabric options available, and Edition Ones will come as standard in a two-tone Khaki and Ebony color scheme and get some other unique interior touches. First-row passengers sit in new performance seats that have more supportive bolstering as well as integrated headrests, and the rear seat bolsters look more pronounced, too. The front seats also get LR’s Body and Soul Seat audio system, which is a very odd thing to experience but is pretty neat. Otherwise, it’s a fairly standard Defender interior.

The order books are now officially open for the Defender Octa, with a starting price of $152,000. If you want a bit more exclusivity, go for the Edition One that starts at $167,800. The Defender Octa will make its public debut at the 2024 Goodwood Festival of Speed on July 11-14.

Photo: Land Rover
Photo: Land Rover
Photo: Land Rover
Photo: Land Rover
Photo: Land Rover
Photo: Land Rover

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