There’s an additional Dynamic mode on the Terrain Response system, which firms up the suspension further, but it’s a bit much for most British roads, on which the Comfort setting retains body movements well enough.
I drove a 90 V8 a bit on road and a lot off of it and a 110 V8 on the road only. Land Rover’s intention wasn’t to make the V8 the best of the Defenders off-road, but its engineers say there are circumstances where it is – particularly while rock-crawling, because you can easily dole out the grunt, and on steep inclines, because there’s so much of it. It makes 518bhp and 461lb ft, after all, with peak torque arriving from 2500rpm.
It has quite a lot of different characters, this car. At low speeds on some of the slippery and wet bits around the Eastnor Castle estate that Land Rover rents as a 4×4 development centre, it mooches with generous wheel movement, easy, long throttle travel and a great-sounding steady rumble – not entirely unlike a Chieftan tank’s, curiously.
Up your speeds and things become rather more responsive. Across grassy fields, it does a passable impression of a rally-raid car, with long travel but superbly controlled movements as it jumps or and catches air, with the differential locking to straightening its line on corner exits and a tweaked rear brake pulling it in to turns.
Then on the road it’s smooth, refined and still very, very fast. It’s not as raucous-sounding as fast V8 Range Rovers – ever-tightening noise regulations mean that while you hear a powerful thrum inside, it doesn’t bark or pop or crackle (and it’s not an SVO, remember). Plus it’s hopelessly thirsty: I saw 21mpg, but you can make that sub-20mpg without trying very hard.