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The new Defender? Land Rover unveils DC-100 Concepts in Frankfurt


September 14, 2011

Land Rover has taken the wraps off its already controversial DC100 Sport Concept in Frankfurt

Land Rover has taken the wraps off its already controversial DC100 Sport Concept in Frankfurt

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Land Rover has taken the wraps off its already controversial DC100 Concept in Frankfurt ... and it has a stablemate - the convertible DC100 Sport. The Concepts are intended to float new ideas and spark debate on the design of the next-gen Defender which is slated for production 2015. Land Rover has also tossed-up some interesting possibilities as to what sort of high-tech kit might find a home in future models.

Design-wise the stated goal is to capture "the inherent simplicity and reassurance of the original short-wheelbase Land Rover" - we'll let you be the judge of that. The familiar short overhangs and near-vertical panels are there along with 22-inch alloy wheels. The angled windscreen and raked front end are the biggest departures from past design language, that is, apart from the a canvas roof and cut-down wind-screens on the DC100 Sport.

Inside there's three in the front bench seating and the outboard passenger seat can be folded away to boost carrying capacity. Land Rover says interior materials have been chosen with sustainability and durability in mind and the DC100 Sport (which let's face it is pretty unDefender-like anyway) gets the added-injection of leather trim. Seat cushions and to line the footwells and rear load space also feature "an almost indestructible textile" used in spacesuits called "Superfabric".

On the gear side of the equation, the Concepts include a "Terrain-i scanning" for assisting with off-road navigation, always-on telematics and a sonar system called "Wade Aid" which detects the depth of the water you are crossing and works out the optimum gear, speed, ride height and engine revs required.

The intelligent mapping system builds a 3D visualization of the surrounding terrain using a headlamp-mounted scanner and cameras mounted on each corner and the vehicle can react to potential problems ahead by, for example, changing the ride-height to increase approach and departure angles.

The roof of the DC100 roof is equipped with solar panels to supplement power supply to on-board systems while both Concepts feature built-in induction charging stations and future paint technologies (when they arrive) would also be used to give the vehicles self-cleaning and self- repair capabilities. And the bit we really like - a button-operated, electro-mechanical spiked tire system that sees air injected into pods moulded into the tread to create extra grip (and make snow chains a thing of the past). A ruggedized removable touchscreen tablet housed in the dash would control navigation, audio and climate and double-as a navigation device when on foot. The Meridian speaker system is also removable so you can stream tunes straight to your campsite.

There's also a set of RFID "Leisure Keys" that can be built into wearable items like watches. Using this would enable the main key fob to be left in the glovebox at which point it would deactivate and defer lock and unlock functions to the RFID chip.

Land Rover says the DC100 Concepts would use 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol and diesel powerplants with hybrid and plug-in capabilities with an eight-speed transmission and a "Driveline Disconnect" system that physically decouples the rear axle to save fuel when all-wheel drive is not required.

Finally, "Park Assist" functionality would enable the vehicle to parallel park with minimal input from the driver.

Reaction to our earlier story on the pre-show announcement of the DC100 suggests that Land Rover could have its work cut out in terms of pleasing Defender devotees with the new design. Gizmag commenter Rodrigo Beja sums up the prevailing sentiment nicely - "It never was meant to be the weekend playcar (DC100 sport) ... What I see in the DC100 is just another fashion design that could have been produced by any brand."

So will details on tech goodies and the unveiling of the convertible Sport concept sway this view? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

(All images: Land Rover)

About the Author
Noel McKeegan After a misspent youth at law school, Noel began to dabble in tech research, writing and things with wheels that go fast. This bus dropped him at the door of a freshly sprouted Gizmag.com in 2002. He has been Gizmag's Editor-in-Chief since 2007. All articles by Noel McKeegan

The roof solar panels and the dashboard tablet are awesome ideas for the production model

Nacho Lotitto

Interesting. Reminds me somewhat of the Hummer Hx concept from a few years ago. (Never to be built, now.) http://www.gizmag.com/hummer-hx-concept/8650/

Alan Brandon

What the price tag..?

Ptah Suide III

Good job, if they were trying to make an off road Mini. What happen to the utility of the past Defender. The Ford Bronco concept is closer to the Defender design than this fashion statement. Oh well. It\'ll look great with the right heels.

Bradford Graham

Here\'s the thing. The old Defender was something that could be pushed into the far corners of the Earth and survive. This new model doesn\'t strike me as something that could. I\'d rather have a refurbished Defender or a Jeep until some grueling tests can be performed.


Those fancy wheels and wide-profile tires will last about 1/4 mile of fire trail or logging roads. would not go 100 ft off-road. Style wins over substance, again.

William Lanteigne

If they actually build the sport concept that would be amazing. I really don\'t appreciate how all the manufacturers have always shown what could be built but almost always... just don\'t build it.

What a waste of time and money. So just build it!


Why has utility been ignored by designers? What about function? Do we really need yet another CUV,SUV? Did all the world\'s vast lands get paved over?

The defender was a truly unique vehicle, simple, rugged, capable off road. To call this Suzuki x-90 a land rover defender sickens me. Too much reliance on NURBS modeling software I think, and for what? car based platforms with no purpose.


It\'s like a Hummer with 28\" rims & 32\" OD tires. You get a vehicle that\'s not good at doing much. Who knows if or what config will be produced.


Just another piece of cut and past crap.

Nick Rowney

All my life i wanted to own a Land Rover defender. Now i see the young stylists have gone seriously astray. Please sack your design head (or send him to work in a farm) & send the whole design team to Cameron Highlands in Malaysia to see what a real land rover does. However, all is not lost!!!

The style proposed is too \"pretty\". Why not make it modular? Front panel replacable. Soft top/hard top modular & replacable. The targa type rear an option. And also the whole rear removable to make a pick-up type vehicle. This means that a lady might buy the vehicle for town use, then her dad could remove the top & rear coupe & place on the kit where it can be used on the family farm. Then the boyfriend comes back, replaces the front panel to the aggresor look and takes it wild boar hunting. Make it modular. And make the lines visible. Land rover is Function over Style.

If the wheels have to look avante garde, then how about those Airless tyres? And at the back a couple of manly exhaust pipes would add to the look! There is so much potential in the design of a land rover. What we see is almost disgustingly sissified (how is this spelt?).

For a vehicle with so much history & that has been a part of history, this is a let down of mega proportions.


The old Land Rover 90 in Cameron Highlands was an agile sure footed beast that would go where other vehicles would just fall off the cliff. It had this look that even wild lions would stay a good distance away from. It was always covered in dirt or dust and never looked half as good clean. It had gun racks & special forces looked mean in them.

This new land rover looks like it is meant to spend most of it\'s time in a car wash or a perm parlour!!! And the SAS? They just gave up & settled for the Toyota land cruisers.


Takes me back to my days driving our Series I (1948 model) and the strange looks I used to get when removing the passenger seat cushion to refill the under-seat diesel tank... Went everywhere (literally) at the stately pace of 40mph, no more!

I think they\'ve gone over the top, but it\'s free to dream. Roof mounted solar panels, hmmm, great in cloudy and rainy England...


Fact: Toyota copied the early series LandRovers in terms of form, feel & function when they designed & built the first LandCruisers. The result? A world-beating, utilitarian work vehicle, albeit with a (much better), straight-six instead of the puny Rover four-pot. Over the intervening decades, many improvements have been incorporated into the LandCruiser - with a few (accountant-initiated), inevitable failures - but the Toyota is still the tougher of the two. So if LandRover really want to be king of the hill once again, the answer is a three-stage plan. First, sack anyone in the design team with accountancy inclinations and replace them with engineers. Second, go out and buy or borrow every half-decent offroader that actually does what it says on the tin, from BMW, through Humvee to Yeti. Put them all through a good thrashing around the wildest, wettest, stickiest, steepest sections of Scottish - or Welsh - terrain that can be found, identifying each vehicle\'s good & bad points. Finally, keep all the good bits, ditch all the bad, then build something sturdy from what you have still standing. The look is utterly inconsequential. If Sloane mums need something swish for the school run, there are plenty of options. If isolated farmers, rescue services, military teams, outback ranchers, arctic explorers and desert travellers are Really your target market, give these people the strongest, most reliable, most powerful yet most economical vehicle that can be built. Make it simple to maintain, with a stoic acceptance of any fuel that can be poured into its tank(s). and an interior that only improves with irregular hosing out. That every single electrical item on board is utterly impervious to total immersion in any form of liquid must be a given - with standard exhaust and inlet tract snorkels built into the (also standard), rollover protection system. Then, when all the engineers and farmers and soldiers and rescue workers have had their best ideas incorporated, what you have before you should be the best of the beasts, with a form entirely evolving from its (many), functions. You then give all the expensive bits a 100,000-mile no-quibble warranty, which will kill off any accountants still lurking in the woodwork. You will have to redesign your production processes and refine your quality control for every nut, bolt, washer and sheet of steel - but if the someone in LandRover\'s driving seat has the balls, you could actually wrest the @Toughest@ title back from Toyota. But can any English company have the necessary cojones? I think not...

Nick Herbert

The new commercial is pretty wild: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vK_orOhD6Qs&feature=channel_video_title


Land rover designers seem to forget the concepts of the early land rover engineers.

For example when the tdi defenders came out they shoved in the long bell housing tdi/r380 gearbox and pushed the heavy engine over the front axel when everybody and his brother knows that with the engine behind the front axel you have a better balance and handling than with all that weight over the axels. And guess what? They have a short bellhousing for the same gearbox housing which I saw on a normally aspirated 2.5 diesel!!!

Now the 'command seating' with low waistline enough glass area to make you feel like you are outside the vehicle was a sacred concept conceived by the early engineers. Have the designers today forgotten that? Or never observed that? Was it a conscious effort to move away from that? Or it just happened? Or maybe I am not seeing the obvious advantages of being so low that you can't see in front when cresting a hill. Or maybe we just drive the new defender on the road and live happily ever after?


David Armour
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