Italian coachbuilder Ares has just unveiled his new limited-edition Defender V8 hardtop that takes the iconic off-roader and makes it more capable.
Ares first overhauled the defender’s design. The changes begin at the front where the Land Rover is equipped with a new grille, a prominent Ares badge and an eye-catching hood.
The changes follow the Defender V8 hardtop and include a set of aftermarket 18-inch wheels wrapped in flared wheel arches and Cooper Discovered STT Pro tires. Ares Defender has been fitted with new side steps, side-exiting tailpipe and new LED headlights, running lights, fog lights and taillights.
Read more: We run Ares Design Defender Ultra V8 in Italy
The company’s designers have also created a series of massive upgrades to the Defender’s cabin. For example, it sports plush leather across seats, transmission tunnels, door panels, steering wheels, and dashboards, as well as lots of wood accents. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also have an Alpine infotainment system, such as an upgraded six-speaker audio system with a subwoofer.
The work done on the mechanical components of the defender is also quite extensive. For example, the suspension is jacked by 35 mm (1.3 inches). The standard four-cylinder engine has also been replaced with a 5.3-liter naturally aspirated V8 that produces 355 hp and 383 pound-feet (519 Nm) of torque. Combined with this V8 is a six-speed automatic transmission.
Upgraded axle shaft and CV joints support a more powerful engine. The brakes are also overhauled with large discs and a six-piston caliper. The new suspension system offers both sporty and comfortable driving modes.
Ares says it will only make the Defender V8 hardtop as a “limited series” but has not yet said how many units will be made. Each will cost from 235,000 ($ 250,000).
“We built our first Defender Ultra V8 in 2018 and launched it for wide acclaim,” Ares Design chief executive Danny Bahar said in a statement. “The project gave us exceptional experience and knowledge of the model, so when it came to designing the new ARES Defender V8 hardtop, we were determined to make the bar even higher. The third edition boasts a more distinctive style and a refined finish inside and out. Powered by a highly responsive V8 engine, the ARES Defender V8 retains the features of a hardtop defender, but is beautifully redesigned to express modernity and luxury and to represent the ultimate incarnation of this iconic vehicle. “