Land Rover DC100 Concept
You thought reinventing the Beetle or Mini was tough? Try the Defender.
The company’s core product, the Defender, is due for replacement in 2015, but its archetypical appearance has historically evolved at a glacial rate. Land Rover’s boffins are taking a first stab at reinterpreting Britain’s Wrangler with the DC100 concept you see here, but design director Gerry McGovern emphasizes that this is not a “production-ready” concept—it’s not even close. Rather, it is the “beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century.” Considering that the Land Rover Defender and its three predecessors, the Series I, II, and III, weren’t so much styled as they were formed from molten SAS commandos, McGovern’s task is taller than Mount Elbrus.
The concept is creative to be sure. Most important, the Defender’s classic boxy shape remains, as do the vertical door handles and the hood that sits higher than the flat-topped fenders. The vents on said fenders, however, are totally modern—and a bit out of keeping with the Defender’s minimalist philosophy—and the front clip blends old and new by placing classic round headlamps in a swept, contoured fascia. The massive wheels appear to have been borrowed from Temple Beth Israel, as they sport a six-pointed star pattern, while the low-profile rubber reminds of us of most Rovers’ roles as tools for suburban posturing but seems ill-suited for the LR that most frequently gets dirty.
Whatever Land Rover decides for the final vehicle’s shape, you can expect it to ride on a derivation of the company’s current Land Rover LR4 platform—probably with complexity removed and toughness added. The go-to engine is likely to be the 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel recently introduced in the European Jaguar XF, where it produces 187 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. We anticipate that there will be an optional gas-fired engine as well, which could be anything from a borrowed four-banger to the company’s complex 5.0-liter V-8 to an upcoming, all-new V-6.