Modena, Italy July 17th 2018 – ARES DESIGN has confirmed that first deliveries of its exquisite off- roader have now commenced. With the mission to transform the legendary 4×4 into the most exceptional Land Rover Defender ever produced, ARES has started delivering the first of just 53 examples that will be hand-crafted in the new Modena facility this year. The Land Rover Defender by ARES DESIGN offers power, poise and luxury in a stunning package and half of the production run is already sold.
The reaction to ARES DESIGN’s version of the Land Rover Defender from media and clients has been universally positive with a recent test day at a specialist off-road facility in Italy providing a perfect arena for the thoroughly reworked Defender to show its mettle. Those sampling the car for the first time were delivered an unmatched combination of performance and off-road ability, while its rugged good looks and luxurious (yet still practical) interior impressed.
“The Defender is a motoring icon,” commented ARES DESIGN’s CEO Dany Bahar. “Icons can be reimagined though and our Defender is the ultimate incarnation of the bespoke 4×4, delivering incredible performance, captivating looks and opulent touches more akin to a luxury SUV. But we haven’t forgotten that owning a Defender is about the drive: off or on-road. I’m confident that our team has produced what we believe to be the ultimate Defender.”
Commenting on the works, ARES DESIGN Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Waleed Al Ghafari, said: “Finally we have the Defender of all Defenders. The powerful masculine design refinements highlight the rugged characteristics of the real man’s world car and will appeal to Defender connoisseurs, male and female, around the world. A true showcase of this much loved icon, dramatically improved and ready to take on the real world. ”
Every aspect of the Defender has been thoroughly reworked and the upgrades start with the engine which now delivers 282hp and 440Nm of torque thanks to a V8 transplant. The revised engine starts life as a Land Rover 4.5-litre V8 but for this application it has been significantly enhanced. It now has a swept volume of 4748cc thanks to an increase in bore size from 94mm to 96mm and features new camshafts, revised and gas-flowed cylinder heads and larger injectors. The V8 breathes more freely too, thanks to a bespoke exhaust manifold and an ITG air intake. The set-up is completed with Milltek sports catalytic converters and exhaust system complete with a bypass valve for a suitably tuneful V8 soundtrack emanating from the quad pipes.
For the ultimate in performance ARES also offers a supercharged version of its Defender based on a 4698cc V8 which develops 475hp and 650Nm of torque. Unsurprisingly performance is vivid. For both the naturally aspirated and supercharged versions ARES has installed a six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission and the drivetrain is upgraded with a reinforced propshaft while its drive shafts and CV joints have been similarly strengthened.
To ensure the Defender can deploy its new-found performance potential ARES has modified the suspension and braking systems. Bespoke progressive rate springs are used to increase its ride height (75mm for the naturally aspirated model and 50mm for the supercharged machine) and these have been teamed with Fox high-pressure dampers to ensure supreme agility and surefootedness on any terrain. Upgraded brakes – AP Racing 362x32mm front discs clamped by six-piston AP calipers – ensure the Defender stops as well as it goes. The package is completed with a set of ARES 18-inch wheels with 305/70 R18 Cooper tyres.
The comprehensive changes under the skin are mirrored with an extensive reworking of the Defender’s exterior without detracting from the original’s charm. To reduce weight and to cover the significantly wider wheels and track ARES’s technicians have constructed wheel arch extensions from carbon fibre while the bonnet, headlight surrounds and grille have also been designed and made by ARES from the same material.
To ensure the Defender is as robust as its looks suggest ARES has added heavy duty front and rear bumpers, front underside protection, reinforced front and rear tow points, side steps and steel roof bars, too. Uprated lighting has also been added to the Defender with full LED technology to illuminate the way.
While ARES’s engineering and exterior transformation already sets the Defender apart as a unique reinterpretation of the classic off-road theme, it’s perhaps inside the 4x4 that their designers have really shown their eye for detail with a stunning transformation. Gone is the utilitarian feel of the original, replaced with a more luxurious ambiance. Bespoke front seats are trimmed in full leather, hand stitched by ARES’s in-house craftspeople. The rear seats are similarly clad while leather and carbon fibre adorns the door trim panels, dashboard and centre console. The steering wheel is clothed in leather and carbon fibre, instrumentation has been reworked with carbon look dials, while the Defender’s awkward handbrake has been replaced with an electronic item situated on the centre console.
Yet it’s still a Defender so there needs to be a nod towards practicality and for that reason carpet was deliberately eschewed in favour of stylish, yet modern chequer plate aluminium for the flooring, and in combination with swathes of the nest Italian leather, it endows the interior with a sumptuous feel. Even the load space behind the seats hasn’t been forgotten with the carbon fibre seat backs and chequer plate flooring giving it a modern, high-tech feel.
Finishing touches include an Alpine sound system with Bluetooth and a camera system while a Webasto 3/4 sunroof enhances the interior’s new-found luxury, allowing the occupants to be bathed in light beneath a leather roof-lining.
The Land Rover Defender by ARES DESIGN is made to exacting standards and specifications with the scope for further personalisation. Each car takes a minimum of eight weeks, with the client providing the donor car, with prices starting at €215,000.