German tuning house Manhart Performance has made a name for itself customising performance and sportscars, usually from automakers within its home country. Click here to check out some of its creations. The Manhart Performance Defender DP500 is a slightly different proposition as it gives a high-performance slant to a model that is well-known for its off-roading ability.

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Iconic name

Land Rover applied its Defender nameplate to an all-new model that replaced the iconic off-roader that was in production for sixty years. The new car is said to be extremely capable, though we have yet to experience one first-hand. Manhart Performance has used the new Land Rover Defender to create the Manhart Performance Defender DP500. Their version has a number of touches, both from a visual and technical perspective, that help it stand out from ‘store bought’ Defender.

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More power

The starting point for this exercise is the Defender P400 AWD in five-door body 110 guise. This derivative features a 3,0-litre, in-line six-cylinder petrol engine that produces 294 kW and 550 Nm from the factory. Manhart’s engineers dive into the engine control management software to liberate 377 kW along with peak torque of 710 Nm. The engine breathes through a new  stainless steel exhaust system, which will be available with either carbon or ceramic-coated tailpipes.

Check out the V8-powered Land Rover Defender variants, which are heading to SA.

Visual upgrades

To help deal with the added power the car’s ride height has been dropped 30 mm by adjusting the car’s factory air suspension. The lower stance is complimented by a set of forged alloys of Manhart’s own design. The larger rims measure 24 inches in diameter and are wrapped with 295/30 tyres. The wheels sit under arches that are fitted with subtle flares that are painted in body colour. Silver striping is used on the body work, a departure from Manharts signature gold hue.

Watch a Land Rover Defender advert that showcases the model as it appears in the upcoming James Bond movie, No Time To Die.

The cabin has also been upgraded with leather/Alcantara interior trim combination. There is also a set of electrically operated front seats from Recaro of Manhart’s own specification. The chairs also feature heating and cooling as well as integrated airbags.