LR De­fender by Twisted

LR De­fender by Twisted £80k–£160k WE SAY: FORGET THE LR WORKS DE­FENDER. TREAT YOUR­SELF TO A TWISTED

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS - ROWAN HORN­CAS­TLE

Since the last De­fender rolled off its pro­duc­tion line in 2016, the world has gone ba­nanas for the slab-sided stal­wart of Bri­tish mil­i­tary and agri­cul­tural engi­neer­ing. A bit like the air-cooled Porsche boom, de­mand for the De­fender – and prices for it – has gone through the roof.

So much that LR re­cently de­cided to bring it back to life with the lim­ited-edi­tion £150k V8 Works. Now, De­fender spe­cial­ist Twisted has made a prop­erly engi­neered luxo twist on this clas­sic. One that just might be bet­ter than LR’s.

How? Firstly, the Twisted cars are ac­tu­ally newer. Un­like LR’s lim­ited series of stripped and re­built old cars, Twisted’s De­fend­ers are de­liv­ery mileage ’16-plate cars from the fac­tory. Be­ing an in­dus­tri­ous and for­ward-think­ing type, Twisted’s founder Charles Fawcett placed a £7.2mil­lion or­der for 240 new De­fend­ers back in 2015.

Prices start at £80k and in­clude new tyres, more power, lower/stiffer sus­pen­sion, bet­ter brakes, more sound­proof­ing, Re­caro buck­ets, an up­graded stereo, and lash­ings of ex­pen­sive leather and Al­can­tara. Start tick­ing more boxes and you’ll see that num­ber dou­ble. Es­pe­cially when you opt for the £50k V8 con­ver­sion.

It’s a 6.2-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated LS3 from a Corvette. With 430bhp and 424lb ft of torque, it’s laden with power, but is still re­fined at slow speed. Around town it gar­gles, but when you clog it, the revs run around the dial with de­li­cious anger and quite fright­en­ing speed.

But un­like a stan­dard De­fender, the Twisted isn’t pun­ish­ing. Be­spoke springs and anti-roll bars are man­u­fac­tured by Eibach, Bil­stein dampers are cus­tom valved to suit the spring rates while bias is di­alled into the anti-roll bars to give more travel on the front axle, re­sult­ing in less un­der­steer, more trac­tion and a lot more gen­tle and plea­sur­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

Com­pared to the Works, a Twisted seems good value. It has a bet­ter in­te­rior, su­pe­rior ride and can be specced to look great. OK, it won’t have Works badg­ing, but if you want a De­fender now, Twisted has a proper fresh-out-the box one. And a de­cent one at that.

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