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2025 Defender OCTA is Land Rover’s Raptor killer

03rd July 2024
Ethan Jupp

Land Rover hired the ‘Raptor guy’ and got itself a big-arched V8-powered monster of a Defender. Meet the BMW M5-engined Defender OCTA.

We’ve been waiting pretty well since the Defender’s 2019 reveal, for a hot SVR-flavoured version to take on the Mercedes G63 and Ford Bronco Raptor. Well, five long years on, it’s here, albeit not wearing the name tag you’d expect. Meet the 635PS (467kW), twin-turbo V8-engined, puffy-arched Defender OCTA, which you’ll see first at the 2024 Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard. 

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Getting the name out of the way now, OCTA is in reference to diamonds, one of the hardest, most durable minerals on Earth, that’s also a luxury item. Because the OCTA is tough and luxurious. Get it?

2025 Land Rover Defender OCTA – performance and specs

Like in the Range Rover Sport SV, the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 is a thing of the past, as is the SVR nomenclature. Instead in the Defender OCTA, as in the Range Rover, we get a version of BMW’s 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8, producing 635PS (467kW) and 750Nm (553ft lb), rising to 800Nm (590ft lb) in Dynamic Launch Mode. That means this 2.5-tonne monster off-roader can get from 0-62mph in four seconds flat.

Not to be branded a one-trick pony, the OCTA pairs its new-found muscle with some cleverness in the chassis. Joining from the Range Rover Sport SV is the incredible hydraulically-linked 6D Dynamics suspension system. It’s sort of like McLaren’s suspension system only here there’s more provision for articulation and control of pitch and roll. There are also new active dampers with separate accumulators on the OCTA. 

Obviously, a lot of the hardware and geometry underneath is revised and strengthened, too, with longer, stronger wishbones contributing to the 68mm wider track. The chunky 22-inch wheels and 33-inch Goodyear All-Terrain tyres also go some way towards that, though those tyres do also limit the top speed to 99mph when fitted. The OCTA is taller too, by 28mm. Like the Range Rover Sport SV, the OCTA gets a quicker steering ratio for sharper responses and chunky brakes – 400mm at the front with Brembo calipers.

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Defender OCTA to make dynamic debut at Festival of Speed

Read more

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In terms of software, where the Range Rover Sport SV had ‘SV Mode’, the Defender comes with a bespoke OCTA mode, presumably similarly accessible by a special steering wheel button. This enables off-road launch, which as it sounds, is a launch control facility for loose surfaces. Very rally. Combine it with TracDSC or DSC off settings and you get a special off-road setting for the ABS.

The OCTA also gets the new speaker-clad Body and Soul seats, which are comfortable and supportive if a little gimmicky.

There’s no talk of a Range Rover Sport SV-style limited-slip diff, though the shots of an OCTA on more road-focused wheels and tyres crossed up on a skid pan would suggest it’s suitably equipped. Yes, the big knobbly tyres are an option, with the more road-focused OCTA available should you desire it. 

“Our high-performance experts have achieved the impossible with Defender OCTA, working tirelessly over the past three years to create the most capable Defender ever made – regardless of which surface it is enjoyed on,” said Jamal Hameedi, Director of SVO, JLR.

“They have re-engineered components throughout the vehicle to ensure Defender OCTA is the perfect companion for epic adventures anywhere on the planet.”

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2025 Land Rover Defender OCTA – design

With all the muscle and cleverness going on underneath, can you actually tell an OCTA from a distance? Of course you can. That’s going to be so much of the appeal, isn’t it? This is a wide-arched, snub-nosed, cuboidal-exhaust-wearing muscle truck, that swerves the G63’s road bias in favour of a more Raptor-like approach. Unsurprising, given SVO Director Jamal Hameedi is quite literally the father of the Ford F-150 Raptor.

The chunkier, more off-road bias feels right for a Defender, too. Side exhausts and carbon wheels shod in Pilot Sport Cup 2s just wouldn’t feel right on what is Land Rover’s core mud plugger. By the same token, they’ve not gone overboard in terms of juicing up the Defender.

Yes, the arches are big and chunky and those wheels are pretty serious, but it’s not slathered in carbon, there aren’t jutting aero bits, and it’s not even that crazy of a facial change. It’s just Defender but more, which is fine, because the Defender was a stocky, quite handsome thing to begin with. Appropriately, what are revised bumpers do result in improved approach and departure angles, while breakover is helped by the increased ride height.

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2025 Land Rover Defender OCTA – price, availability, and release date  

The Defender OCTA has been in development for the last three years – the 6D Dynamics suspension system for twice that – but the time is coming for it to arrive with buyers.

Order books open soon with each OCTA costing from £145,300. First-year cars will be Edition Ones priced from £160,800 and like Range Rover Sport SV Edition One, it'll be limited. Even more-so, in fact, with just 1,070 being made. We’re sure these will sell like absolute hotcakes and indeed, for those interested, you’ll see it in the metal first at the 2024 Goodwood Festival of Speed from 11th-14th July.

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