Defender Octa coming in July with twin-turbo V8 and trick suspension

Defender recently made the leap from a nameplate in the Land Rover portfolio to a standalone brand within the JLR group. The first SUV the company will launch after gaining independence is a high-performance evolution of the Defender named Octa making its debut in July 2024.

While this isn’t our first look at the Octa, the new images released by Defender give us a better idea of what to expect from the off-roader. Tall and wide, it stands out from the existing Defender variants with a bigger grille, additional air intakes chiseled into the front bumper, and what looks like a taller bulge on the hood. The massive wheel arch flares cover up a wider track, and it rides on specific wheels wrapped by off-road tires. We also spot a pair of red tow hooks poking out from the rear end and, in one picture, beefy skid plates along the underbody.

Skid plates are needed, because it sounds like the Octa is being developed for serious off-roading. It will come standard with the 6D Dynamics suspension system already available on the Range Rover Sport SV, which is a hydraulic-based technology that keeps body roll, pitch, and squat in check while increasing wheel travel. Engineers have triple-checked the Octa’s off-roading capabilities by testing prototypes in some of the harshest environments on the planet, including the deserts outside of Dubai and on off-road courses near Moab.

It’s not all about off-pavement performance; the Octa needs to be quick and capable on the pavement as well. The twin-turbocharged V8 will tick the “quick” box, while the 6D Dynamics system should give it better on-road performance than the ground clearance suggests. Defender notes that prototypes were also tested on the Nürburgring track in Germany, which is the benchmark for high-performance vehicles.

Defender will unveil the Octa on July 3, 2024, but a hand-picked group of clients will have the chance to order one before the model makes its public debut. Availability hasn’t been announced yet, but the British brand notes that a limited number of vehicles will be available during the first year of production. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a limited-edition model, but it signals the Octa will initially be hard to come by.

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