World-renowned luxury Italian coachbuilder ARES Modena has released details of its bespoke Defender V8 Hardtop. Combining robust yet beguilingly elegant design, exquisite levels of hand-crafted luxury, state-of-the-art technology, and phenomenal performance, it represents a modern-day tribute to the timeless off-road icon and a compelling acquisition for any collector or aficionado.
The ARES Defender V8 Hardtop follows on from the company’s acclaimed Defender Ultra V8, which was unveiled in 2018. The new model is designed by the company’s Centro Stile in Modena and assembled in the ARES smart factory using a combination of contemporary OEM-level technology and traditional handcraft skills. These include CAD, carbon fiber ovens, electrical system engineering specialists, drivetrain assembly, paint shop, artisan leather works and metal coachbuilding facilities. No detail is spared in the painstaking creation of the ultimate Defender.
With a design heritage that can trace its routes all the way back to the first Land Rover Series 1 of 1948, the Defender’s taut, square lines are treated with due reference by the ARES design team. A series of subtle enhancements bring additional layers of modernity and sophistication. Devoid of all visible body bolts, the ARES Defender’s elegant lines are further enhanced by larger rear tinted windows, while a premium-grade panoramic sunroof floods the cabin with sunlight.
Based on a Land Rover Defender chassis and featuring a suspension lift kit, the ARES Defender V8 Hardtop rides 35mm higher than the standard model on striking 18-inch ARES Design alloy wheels wrapped in Cooper Discoverer tires. Wider wheel arches, an ARES Design carbon fiber bonnet, a new single-piece carbon fiber front end featuring powerful LED headlamps nestling in a contemporary-themed grille and new rear circular LED taillights amplify the Defender’s purposeful styling.
Inside, the ARES designers and artisans have transformed the Defender’s utilitarian cabin into a sumptuous environment that cocoons its occupants in the lap of luxury. Only the very finest leather, carbon fiber, wood and aluminum trim are used throughout the cabin. They combine to create an aura of assured quality and unsurpassed comfort, which fully extends to every part of the cabin, including the bench seats in the luggage compartment.
The Defender’s in-cabin technology has undergone a similar metamorphose. The vehicle is replete with all-round electric windows, a six-speaker state-of-the-art infotainment system with subwoofer, featuring satellite navigation and Apple Car Play & Android Auto Bluetooth connectivity. A bespoke instrument panel and a beautiful hand-stitched leather steering wheel place the driver at the heart of the action, within easy reach of the upgraded and modernized switchgear and controls.
A press of the starter button summons a new 5328cc V8 engine – which replaces the outgoing 4-cylinder turbodiesel – to life. Integrated as part of an extensive engineering program undertaken by ARES, the V8 engine dispatches its 355hp and mammoth 519Nm of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission.
To ensure a superlative driving experience, the ARES engineers have further bolstered the transmission system, axle shafts and CV joints to accommodate the significantly enhanced performance of the ARES Defender V8 Hardtop. The braking system has been similarly upgraded and sports larger performance discs and 6-piston calipers. An advanced electronically adjustable ORAM suspension system offering sport and comfort modes, ensures a relaxing ride, engaging handling, and precision body control whatever the terrain.
ARES will coach-build a limited series of ARES Defender V8 Hardtop models, each priced from €235,000 ex VAT. Orders can now be placed at aresdesign.com
Dany Bahar, ARES Design CEO, commented:
“We created our first Defender Ultra V8 in 2018 and launched it to great acclaim. The project gave us exceptional experience and knowledge of the model, so when it came to designing the new ARES Defender V8 Hardtop we were determined to raise the bar higher still. The third edition boasts an even more distinctive style and refined finish inside and out. Powered by the hugely responsive V8 engine, the ARES Defender V8 Hardtop retains the characteristics of the Defender, but is beautifully reimagined to express modernity and luxury, and represent the ultimate incarnation of this iconic vehicle.”