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New Land Rover Defender V8 Drag Races LS3 Swap and EV Conversion in Old vs New Showdown

A modern V8 with a DOHC layout versus a good ol’ pushrod from Chevrolet and a Tesla-sourced EV conversion. The question is, which of these Landies is the quickest in a straight line from a dig?
New V8 vs LS Swap vs Tesla Motor: Land Rover DRAG RACE 6 photos
New V8 vs LS Swap vs Tesla Motor: Land Rover DRAG RACENew V8 vs LS Swap vs Tesla Motor: Land Rover DRAG RACENew V8 vs LS Swap vs Tesla Motor: Land Rover DRAG RACENew V8 vs LS Swap vs Tesla Motor: Land Rover DRAG RACENew V8 vs LS Swap vs Tesla Motor: Land Rover DRAG RACE
First of all, we should crunch some numbers. The V8 swap comes in the guise of the 6.2-liter LS3, arguably the best-known engine of the LS family. In this application, we’re dealing with 430 horsepower (Mat Watson of Carwow refers to metric instead of mechanical horsepower) and 350 pound-feet (475 Nm) of torque, which is pretty good for a short-wheelbase Defender 90 that allegedly weighs 4,100-odd pounds (1,860 kilograms).

Next up, the unibody Defender 90 features a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 from Jaguar, the AJ-V8 that’s already been discontinued in the Range Rover in favor of a BMW engine. With 518 horsepower and 461 pound-feet (625 Nm) of oomph on deck, it’s obviously more promising than the previously detailed LS3. The redesigned model further boasts an eight-speed auto from ZF Friedrichshafen as well as launch control. The only problem with this fellow is the curb weight: a bit porky at 5,448 pounds (2,471 kilograms).

Finally, the boring future of automobiles is represented by the Tesla-powered challenger is rocking a mid-mounted performance drive unit with nearly 500 horsepower and almost 500 pound-feet (675 Nm) of grunt. Direct drive and 4,255 pounds (1,930 kilograms) may lead you into believing this one has the biggest chance of winning, but I’m afraid that’s not the case.

The e-Defender’s blistering acceleration off the line starts to falter as it picks up a little speed. The six- and eight-speed trannies of the combustion-engined rigs make a tremendous difference at speed. As much as I love the sound and legacy of the naturally-aspirated Chevrolet LS3 small-block engine, the new Defender wins over the quarter mile in 13.4 seconds compared to 13.6 for the other two. Surely enough, the new Defender also wins the braking test thanks to anti-lock brakes and larger calipers.

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