2025 Land Rover Defender Octa pushes the expedition rig into new territory

2025 land rover defender octa 001

Many people don’t know, or don’t believe, that the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a sensational off-roader. But to get the German off-roader doing the German version of the Charleston over the most unlikely terrain, one needs to buy the non-AMG version, Mercedes having split the lineup into hardcore off-roader and hardcore speedster. Land Rover established a similar break with different model lines. Headed to Rio de la Plata? Try a Defender. Headed the The Plaza? Try a Range Rover Sport SV. The 2025 Land Rover Defender 110 Octa injects a ton of that Range Sport into the expedition vehicle to create what is one of the best combinations of urban speed and trail superiority offered by an OEM.

It starts with the engine, the BMW-sourced twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 making 626 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque that also serves various trims of Range Rover models. It inhales through a larger grille and exhales through a new quad exhaust poking out of a redrawn rear bumper. This mill is a tall step up on the discontinued Defender 110 V8 driven by JLR’s veteran supercharged 5.0-liter V8 making 518 hp and 461 lb-ft. When the Octa is specced with 22-inch wheels on road tires, Land Rover says it will get to 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds and top out at an electronically limited 155 mph. The range of wheel choices from 20 to 22 inches makes room for Brembo brake packages clamping larger, 15.7-inch front discs. 

There’s also an Octa driving mode that enables launch control when on soft surfaces, upping torque to 590 lb-ft., to go along with the on-road Comfort and Dynamic modes and the Terrain Response system. This isn’t about hooning it up in the wilds, however, Land Rover also advising that the Octa is “not meant” for jumping.

Land Rover also borrowed what it’s dubbed the 6D suspension from the Range Rover Sport SV, this being the same kind of hydraulic setup that links the dampers at all four corners, managing roll without need of a traditional roll bar. A faster steering rack improves responses everywhere.

To up the Defender’s back-of-beyond capability, engineers designed longer, tougher suspension wishbones that help add 1.1 inches of ground clearance and widen the rig 2.7 inches compared to the standard Defender 110 — note the marker lights and fender flares to deal with the 81.3-inch width. Suspension articulation gains a whopping 5.5 inches, max ground clearance reaches 12.6 inches, wading depth climbs 3.9 inches to 39.4 inches. New profiles for the front and rear bumpers raise the approach angle by 2.5 degrees to 40 degrees, the departure angle is two degrees better at 42 degrees, and breakover angle notches another 1.1 ticks of the circle to 29 degrees.      

In the Octa’s most hardcore off-road form, 20-inch wheels are wrapped in 33-inch tires, the largest ever offered on a factory Land Rover. Jamal Hameedi, Land Rover’s head of special vehicles, told Autocar, “Traditionally, an off-roader would say: ‘Oh, I want an 18-inch wheel with a tall sidewall for puncture resistance.’ But then that ruins your on-road steering and handling, and you can’t fit proper brakes.’ So we said: No, we need proper on-road steering and handling, a lot of lateral stiffness, big brakes because of the power, and to be puncture resistant. But no one has all that. So we had to invent a tire from scratch.” That tire is a Goodyear Wrangler with a new tread pattern just for the Octa. This setup caps top speed at 99 mph, and buyers can’t go any larger without making major changes, Land Rover saying 35-inch tires degrade steering performance.

A middle step in the tire and wheel package raises top speed to 130 mph.

The Octa in the name refers to a cut diamond’s octahedral shape and the diamond’s well-known toughness, the connection denoted around the truck with a gloss black diamond graphic set on a titanium disc. 

The Octa Edition One comes in Faroe Green with chopped carbon trim elements and exclusive 20-inch forged wheels on those new Goodyears. Standard versions can choose from that color, plus Carpathian Grey, Charente Grey, and Petra Copper. All get contrasting black roof and tailgate plus tow hooks in Phosphor Bronze. Inside, the five-seat-only cabin shows off new performance seats with integrated headrests in the front row, all seats wrapped either in leather or textiles sourced from Kvadrat and Ultrafabrics. The standard interior comes in Burnt Sienna leather with contrasting textiles in Ebony, and a console refrigerator. The Edition One cabin comes in two-tone Khaki and Ebony Ultrafabric.

Land Rover says it’s making just 4,000 units for global consumption for the the 2025 model year, something like 300 of them expected to come here. The standard Octa starts at $153,475, the Octa Edition One at $169,275. You can bet the production cap won’t end the series, with the 2026 model year waiting to get its allotment and a Defender 90 version rumored. Orders are open now, the truck debuts at the Goodwood Festival of Speed coming up this month.

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