The folks over at Italian coachbuilder Ares Design have released a limited-edition model that they describe as the "ultimate" version of the iconic Land Rover Defender.
The Modena-based firm says it has “thoroughly re-engineered” the now-discontinued Defender with a little help from Land Rover specialist JE Motor Works, and plans to build just 53 examples.
Packing an “extensively reworked” Land Rover V8 bored out from the stock 4 552 cm3 to a 4 748 cm3, the modified Defender churns out 207 kW and 440 N.m, and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. A bespoke manifold and made-to-measure exhaust system have also been added, along with a special air intake.
If you're after even more grunt (even more than offered by Land Rover itself in the high-performance “Works” model revealed at the start of 2018), the company will gladly add a supercharger to the mix, which hikes that peak power figure to somewhere in the region of 350 kW.
The ride height, meanwhile, has been increased by 75 mm (or 50 mm in the case of the supercharged version) and features bespoke JE Motor Works springs coupled with heavy duty Fox shock absorbers front and rear plus revised and recalibrated anti-roll bars. A set of AP Racing front brakes featuring 362x32 mm discs clamped by six-piston AP callipers is also included.
Wider alloy wheels (wrapped in 305/70 R18 Cooper off-road rubber) have been fitted, and are framed by bespoke wheel arch extensions fashioned from carbon-fibre. The bonnet is also made from carbon, while more powerful LED lights have been fitted.
Besides a little more carbon-fibre around the body, Ares Design says it has also added heavy duty front and rear bumpers, front slide protection, side steps, reinforced front and rear recovery tow points and a Warn’s front winch.
Inside, Ares Design has mixed luxury with practicality, eschewing carpeting in favour of chequer plate aluminium for the flooring, but adding swathes of “the finest Italian leather” and yet more carbon-fibre. Bespoke leather-clad Recaro seats offer are also included, while the firm says the facia has been transformed into one “fit for a bespoke luxury off-roader”. A Webasto sunroof and leather roof-lining complete the cabin’s makeover.
So, how much? Well, Ares Design’s website lists a price of €200 000 to €250 000 (that’s between R3,1- and R3,9-million), and says production of each example will take around eight weeks.
Ryan has spent most of his career in online media, writing about everything from sport to politics and other forms of crime. But his true passion – reignited by a 1971 Austin Mini Mk3 still tucked lifeless in a dark corner of his garage – is of the automotive variety.