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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


Hardcore off-road suited Defender OCTA officially revealed

Replacement for the Defender V8 adopts turbocharged mild-hybrid propulsion from BMW and gains 28 mm more ground clearance.


While confirmed to make its formal public debut at next week’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, JLR has gone ahead with the reveal of the Defender OCTA as its most powerful, off-road focused derivative to date.

No more supercharged V8

Effectively the replacement for the current Defender V8, the OCTA, which JLR describes as the “most dynamically accomplished Defender ever created” becomes the first former Land Rover badged model to eschew the long-serving 5.0-litre supercharged AJ-V8 for the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 sourced from BMW.

ALSO READ: Approved for South Africa Defender OCTA reveal date confirmed

Already used in the full-size Range Rover, the 48-volt mild-hybrid assisted unit has been carried over without change and as such, develops 467kW/750Nm – 81kW/125Nm more than the Defender V8 – which JLR claims results in a 0-100 km/h sprint time of four seconds.

JLR debuts new Defender OCTA
Petra Copper debuts as a colour option unique to the OCTA. Image: JLR

In addition to the being the fastest Defender ever made, the OCTA, whose name is derived from the octahedron shape of a diamond, also features launch control that ups the available torque to 800 Nm when in engaged.

Excluding the petrol unit, the mild-hybrid system adds an additional 25kW/175Nm for short burst, though the claimed top speed is otherwise unchanged at 250 km/h.

Dynamically fettled

Still paired to the ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox, the 110 bodystyle-only OCTA’s main differences from the rest of the Defender range involves not only uprated brakes, but also a redesigned chassis that accommodates what the brand calls 6D Dynamics.   

Central to the latter, the OCTA’s height-adjustable air suspension uses hydraulically-inter-linked continuously variable semi-active dampers to scan and then adjust the suspension to the varying road surface so as to reduce body-roll while also aiding comfort and the overall pitch angle.

Along with improved wheel articulation, according to JLR, the system, which has undergone 13 960 supplementary tests on top of the regular Defender product programme, the OCTA gains 28 mm more ground clearance for a total of 323 mm, a 68 mm width increase and model bespoke 22-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 33-inch Goodyear Advanced all-terrain tyres specifically designed for it.

On top of the 6D Dynamics, JLR has revised the Terrain Response 2 system to incorporate a new OCTA mode.

JLR debuts new Defender OCTA
Standard fare are 33-inch all-terrain tyres and a ground clearance of up to 323 mm. Image: JLR

Supplementing the existing Comfort, Dynamic, Mud/Ruts, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Sand and Rock Crawl settings, selecting OCTA activates what JLR calls an off-road launch control “for optimum acceleration on loose surfaces”.

At the same time, OCTA also engages the off-road ABS system, which has been specifically designed for it instead of having been carried over from the standard Defender.

Uprated further with a new exhaust system, the OCTA also boasts the ClearSight transparent front-view camera, a claimed wading depth of one metre, expanded underbody protection, strengthened wishbones, a new cooling system and an upgraded differential and transmission cradle.

Teased earlier this year, stopping power comes from Brembo, which involves a six-piston calipers set-up at the front and single at the rear with respective disc sizes of 400 mm and 365 mm.

Inside and out

Besides its off-road tyres, which can be swapped for 20-inch forged alloys wrapped in less chunkier rubber, the OCTA’s other aesthetic changes from the regular Defender consist of quad exhaust outlets, extended wheel arches, Phosphor Bronze recovery points and a redesigned rear bumper.

On top of this, the grille has been restyled to aid airflow and a gloss black diamond within a sandblasted titanium disc added to the side panel behind the C-pillar as per the octahedron reference.

Land Rover Defender OCTA finally revealed
Octahedron disc that gives the OCTA its name. Image: JLR

In total, three colours have been allocated; Charente and Carpathian Grey, and the unique Petra Copper. Contrasting the trio is a Narvik Black roof and tailgate.

Reserved for the limited run Edition One is a bespoke colour called Faroe Green and carbon fibre detailing for the side vents, Defender script and bonnet vents.

Land Rover Defender OCTA finally revealed
Light Cloud ultra-fabric inserts with Lunar or Ebony semi-aniline leather can be had as a no-cost alternative interior colour. Image: JLR

Inside, mostly cosmetic and material changes have taken place, namely semi-aniline leather upholstery finished in Burnt Sienna with Ebony Kvadrat textile trim, or Light Cloud ultra-fabric inserts with Lunar or Ebony semi-aniline leather.

A dual-tone khaki and Ebony upholstery with knitted textile fabric inserts can, however, be specified solely for the Edition One.

South Africa approved

Already confirmed for South Africa, order books for the Defender OCTA will soon open with pricing from R3 499 100.

Additional information from drive.com.au.

NOW READ: New hardcore Defender OCTA teased as current V8’s replacement

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