Place a daunting task in the face of any Land Rover vehicle and it will comply with ease, while skillfully showcasing its physical capability, durability and go-anywhere mobility. This was the case during an off-roading session in Scotland with the new LR4 model. We crossed rivers, scaled steep slopes, muscled over boulders and slid down muddy hills with complete control. What can I say; it’s in their nature, and has been since 1948 when Land Rover developed the original Series 1. Yet, as history has told us many times over, the moment to pass along the torch has arrived. With that very point in mind, a new set of concepts have been manifested for the “world traveler” in the form of the Land Rover DC100 and DC100 Sport.
It’s not easy replacing a vehicle that’s been a brand hallmark for 60 years. And though the DC100 is not a solid confirmation of what to expect in 2015 for Land Rover, it does convey the message that the British SUV maker is ready to make a progressive move. The vehicle’s nomenclature is simple. “DC” equates to Defender Concept with the “100” denoting the length of wheelbase. The DC100 Sport, aka “cool” is the active, convertible variation of the concept while the DC100, aka “tool” is the ultra-aggressive, utilitarian adaptation of the vehicle. Original and clever layout cues such as three-across seating and folding windshields have made their way into these concepts.
Land Rover utilized the 2011 Frankfurt International Auto Show to bring the concepts to fruition. The “Sport” was a bit more polarizing in person than the DC100. Anytime you have a Sunflower Yellow convertible crossover concept on stage, you’d best believe it’s going to shine like a Jamaican morning sunrise. Both concept vehicles are powered by a 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine that possesses hybrid capabilities. The “Sport” will go with a gasoline version while the DC100 will adopt diesel as its choice of fuel. The remainder of the powertrain formula includes: an 8-speed automatic transmission; 4-wheel drive with torque vectoring; 22” rims with spiked tires; Driveline Disconnect, which turns the vehicle into a full-time 2WD in order to save on fuel; and of course, Land Rover’s stellar Terrain Response system.
Cameras and sensors have been incorporated into the all-terrain system to visualize the environment ahead while inputting the data so that Terrain-i can actively adjust itself to traverse the road surface accordingly. In the city, Terrain-i also has the aptitude to identify civilians and self-brake prior to impact should the driver be inattentive. Furthermore, Wade Aid reconfigures the DC100 into a submarine by allowing it to sonically measure water depths for safe stream and river crossings. Self-parking, 3G connectivity, smart phone compatibility, and a Start/Stop feature add to the technological enhancements found in both vehicles.
As stated previously, it’s a challenge for any company to upgrade a living legend, particularly when it has lived up to its original intention and far exceeded the boundaries of the Brit’s expectations and wildest imaginations. Land Rover’s Design Director, Gerry McGovern, might have summed it up best. “Replacing the iconic Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive world. It is a car that has inspired people worldwide. These aren’t production ready concepts but the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st Century,” he stated stated. Well then, let’s get on to the next one.