The Land Rover Defender is no stranger to housing V8 engines in its previous-generation forms, though the most recent official effort came a year after production of the original, with other V8 Defenders beingthe works of aftermarket outfits.

Where the Defender Works V8 employed the AJ-series 5.0 litre naturally aspirated V8 engine of Ford origin, this engine family is nearing the end of its service life as manufacturing at Ford’s Bridgend factory winds to a close at the end of this year. Its successor will most likely then be the 4.4 litre unit sourced from BMW, and likely to be similar to that which will serve in the next-generation Range Rover.

The latest-generation, aluminium monocoque-bodied Defender seen here appears to wear its Defender 110 long-wheelbase body in largely standard form, though it appears to have lost some of its black plastic wheelarch cladding.

Most of the standard Defender bodywork appears intact, and this development vehicle’s rolling stock is the more road-oriented kind, with larger alloy wheels shod in tarmac-spec tyres. At the back end, the rear bumper also appears the be standard item, though it now lacks the depth to contain the larger, four-tailpipe muffler box that now protrudes, and which will surely have a new bumper design to go with the model positioning of a V8-engined variant.

For now, the longer Defender 110 is the only V8 test mule bodystyle sighted, though it remains to be seen if the shorter Defender 90 will get the big engine as well. At present, the Defender range features four-cylinder diesels in 200PS/430 Nm and 240 PS/430Nm outputs, a 300 PS/400 Nm P300 four-cylinder petrol and a 400 PS/550 Nm P400 mild-hybrid petrol straight-six.