Twisted’s new Defender engine is ULEZ compliant but gives 307bhp

Back in the day (actually not that long ago), making a Defender more fun to drive generally required a V8. Now it’s not so simple...

Twisted T-VS 110 Utility Wagon

by Theo Ford-Sagers |

As smaller engines have become pokier and more mainstream, thanks to better engineered conversions, a V8 is no longer the obvious choice.

Twisted’s new pair of petrol powertrains covers both bases. There’s a 2.3-litre turbocharged petrol, which is ULEZ compliant, and a massive General Motors LT1 V8 which, erm… isn’t.

‘These are not just modifications,’ says Twisted boss Charles Fawcett. ‘We have developed two incredible engines that will both enhance and extend the lifespan of the classic Defender.’

(Making up a satisfying threesome is Twisted’s EV drivetrain, announced earlier this year and made without Tesla ingredients.)

The sensible one

The T-VS is a 2.3-litre four-cylinder petrol. That might sound like it’s basically a Series III, but no… this is a modern engine with twin-scroll turbocharger, and that means 307bhp and a 0-60mph time of 8 seconds.

ULEZ compliance gives added usability for urbanites, and a certain degree of future-proofing too.

The engine, says Fawcett, is ‘conservative when driven accordingly but it is capable of an enormous amount of character that is expected from a Defender. It is smooth and nimble but maintains the same endearing Defender qualities.’

Braking is done by six-piston calipers at the front and four-piston at the rear. The conversion also includes Twisted’s progressive suspension kit, stainless exhaust, Twisted dials, 18in ‘Classic’ wheels, LED interior downlighting and a long list of other accoutrements.

If the idea of powering a Defender with a 2.3-litre four-pot sounds familiar, you might have come across JE Motorworks’ Ecoboost conversion, which results in virtually identical bhp.

Occupying a similar niche in the market is Motor and Diesel’s six-pot petrol conversion (featured in our August 2019 issue). It develops 295bhp, but they opted for a less highly-strung, normally-aspirated 3.7-litre Ford V6.

The mad one

The T-V8 is the fastest Defender that Twisted has ever produced, thanks to the latest incarnation of General Motors’ small-block LT1 V8. With supercharged 6.7-litre capacity, 450bhp and 500lb-ft, the performance is – in Fawcett’s words – ‘mind-bending’.

It drives the wheels via an eight-speed GM automatic gearbox ‘with shift capability faster than a dual-clutch transmission’. Both front and rear axles have pegged ATB diffs and heavy-duty 23-spline halfshafts, and Twisted has developed a custom subframe to stiffen the chassis.

‘The whole Twisted team on both sides of the Atlantic has invested over 18 months into developing, evolving and revolutionising the V8. It is truly unique to Twisted as over half of the components used have been designed and developed specifically by, and for us,’ says Fawcett.

Twisted T-V8 soft-top 90
6.7-litres of noise and 450bhp of wind in your hair

How much?

You’ll need from £40k +VAT for the T-VS and from £75k +VAT for the T-V8. Both drivetrains are available to order now. More info on Twisted's website.

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