Unpopular opinion: the plight of the Land Rover Defender has been a good thing.
Absence truly makes the heart grow fonder, and we can’t help but attribute that fondness to the absolute glut of all-star Defender builds in recent years — from Bond props to the vehicle of choice for bikini-clad models.
The latest in the pantheon: a V8-packed beast from Modena, Italy's Ares Design.
Announced in January with deliveries currently underway, this bespoke Defender is a partnership between Ares — a coachbuilding company founded by Dany Bahar, previously of Red Bull, Lotus and Ferrari — and the Land Rover-upgrade specialists at JE MotorWorks.
Ares Defender (9 images)
The Land Rover V8, the main upgrade, is “bored out from 4.5 to to 4.7-litres and features new cams, gas-flowed heads, larger injectors and a bespoke exhaust manifold,” writes TopGear.com. But while that engine spits out a respectable 282-HP, a supercharged version is also available which pumps it up to 475-HP. Both come with a new six-speed automatic transmission.
Moving outward, off-roading is the name of the game with a higher ride height, new high-pressure Fox shock absorbers, beefed-up anti-roll bars and bumpers, a front winch from Warn, and Fondmetal alloy wheels wrapped with 305/70 R18 Cooper tires all framed by custom carbon-fiber wheel-arch extensions.
Inside, it’s a mix of hard and soft, with diamond-plate aluminum adorning the floor while the Recaro seats are swathed in leather. And don’t forget about the carbon fiber accents!
Only 53 editions of the Ares Defender will be built, with an eight-week production time and price starting around $234K (not including the 2014 Defender donor required to, y’know, rip apart and put back together).
They can rebuild it. They have the technology. Question is: do you have the cash?
Photos via ARES Design