Land Rover DC100 and DC100 Sport Concept Cars Reinvent Defender

By Christian Stampfer on 9 October 2011
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The reinvention of a legend is one of the hardest challenges an automotive designer can face. In 2015, Land Rover will reveal the successor to the current Defender and the automaker is testing the waters. At the 64th IAA (International Automobile Show) in Frankfurt, Land Rover unveiled two concept cars that are a contemporary reinterpretation of the Land Rover Defender. The DC100 and the DC100 Sport are a first view of what the new Defender may look like, but they are not “production-ready” concepts. Gerry McGovern, Land Rover Design Director, sees the two cars as the beginning of a four year journey to design a relevant Defender for the twenty-first century.

The history of the Defender dates back to 1948, when the Land Rover Series I was introduced. Advertised as a “go-anywhere” vehicle, the Series I became the export hit for the company. Sales figures for the first year were more than 50% higher than projected. Series II, Series III and Series IV (which were also called One, Ten, and Ninety) followed. In 1990, when the new Discovery was launched, the Land Rover was renamed “Land Rover Defender” (picutred).

As it is typical for concept cars, the DC100 and DC100 Sport feature many innovations that could make it into the new Defender in 2015. RFID technology is one of them. Both cars come with a set of RFID chips built into impact and water resistant items. With a personalized RFID smart tag, the driver will be able to save personal audio, climate and seating settings. It will also allow parents to restrict vehicle power and speed when the car is activated with the RFID smart tag of their children. Another innovation is the Wade Aid system, which detects water depth through sonar. The sonar is integrated into the grille and all relevant information is displayed on the central touchscreen.

To give the vehicle the best possible “mud-plugging” performance (as Land Rover put it), the DC100 has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine while the DC100 Sport is equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine. . Both engines are capable of being configured as parallel or plug-in hybrids. Another green feature is a eight-speed ZF automatic transmission with a more advanced engine start/stop system that was designed with hybrid versions of these vehicles in mind.

Land Rover has developed a new electronic torque vectoring system for both vehicles that promises to extend stability, traction and handling on any surface. The newl differentials those use electronic control systems to direct specific amounts of power to each individual wheel.

This has benefits both on road and off. For normal driving situations, the system, according to Jaguar, provides a sportier and safer drive and the torque vectoring works with the car’s stability programs to enhance performance. When off-roading, torque vectoring can infinitely and instantaneously send torque to whichever combination of the four vehicle’swheels has the most grip.

When driving off road, the Land Rover Terrain Response system will use a front-mounted camera to analyze the ground ahead. It can then select the appropriate setting, which is something today’s Land Rover driver does manually by selecting asphalt, grass, gravel, mud, sand, or snow. As conditions change, the system will change settings automatically.

When introduced in 2015, the new Defender will have to both preserve tradition and its reputation while offering a thoroughly twenty-first century experience. The Defender is known as one of the most robust four-wheel drive cars in the world and, only if the upcoming model can deliver these core values, will the 2015 Land Rover Defender be a true success.

LAND ROVER’S TWENTIETH CENTURY DEFENDER
(PHOTOGRAPHS BY JONATHAN SPIRA)