As smaller engines have become more powerful and more common, thanks to better designed conversions, a V8 is no longer the obvious choice.
Twisted’s new pair of gasoline powertrains covers both bases. There’s a 2.3-liter turbocharged petrol, which is ULEZ compliant, and a massive General Motors LT1 V8 which, uh… isn’t.
“It’s not just modifications,” says Twisted boss Charles Fawcett. “We have developed two incredible engines that will both improve and extend the life of the classic Defender.”
(Twisted’s EV drivetrain, announced earlier this year and made without Tesla ingredients, makes for a satisfying trio.)
The T-VS is a 2.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. It might sound like it’s basically a Series III, but no…it’s a modern twin-scroll turbocharged engine, which means 307bhp and a 0-60mph time of 8 seconds.
ULEZ compliance provides additional ease of use for city dwellers, as well as a degree of future proofing.
The engine, says Fawcett, is “conservative when driven accordingly, but is capable of a huge amount of character that you expect from a Defender. It’s supple and nimble, but retains the same endearing Defender qualities.
Braking is handled by six-piston calipers up front and four-piston calipers at the rear. The conversion also includes Twisted’s progressive suspension kit, stainless steel exhaust, Twisted gauges, 18-inch “Classic” wheels, LED interior lighting and a long list of other accessories.
If the idea of powering a Defender with a 2.3-liter four-pot sounds familiar, you might have come across JE Motorworks’ Ecoboost conversion, which results in virtually identical hp.
Filling a similar niche in the market is Motor and Diesel’s six-pot petrol conversion (featured in our August 2019 issue). It develops 295 hp, but they opted for a less nervous 3.7-liter naturally aspirated Ford V6.
The T-V8 is the fastest Defender Twisted has ever produced, thanks to the latest incarnation of General Motors’ small-block LT1 V8. With a supercharged capacity of 6.7 litres, 450 hp and 500 lb-ft, the performance is – in Fawcett’s words – “breathtaking”.
It drives the wheels via an eight-speed GM automatic transmission “with faster shifting capability than a dual-clutch transmission.” The front and rear axles have pegged ATB differentials and heavy-duty 23-spline half-shafts, and Twisted developed a custom subframe to stiffen the chassis.
“The entire Twisted team on both sides of the Atlantic has invested over 18 months in the development, evolution and revolution of the V8. This is truly unique to Twisted as over half of the components used have been designed and developed specifically by and for us,” says Fawcett.
6.7 liters of noise and 450 hp of wind in the hair
You’ll need £40,000+VAT for the T-VS and £75,000+VAT for the T-V8. Both transmissions are available to order now. More info on Twisted’s website.