The hardest task for anybody at Land Rover is quite how to update or replace its iconic, rugged and much-loved Defender models. Although not sold in the US, it’s the Defender that has underpinned the company’s history, sales and reputation for decades. And while the Range Rover gets all the attention, the Defender continues to soldier on, being particularly popular with the world’s military.
As a suggestion of the future direction of Defender, Land Rover introduced the DC100 and DC100 Sport concepts at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. The aim was to investigate a possible design direction for a Defender replacement.
These concepts will make their North American debut at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show on 16th November 2011. Land Rover is bringing the studies to LA in order to gauge reaction, and explore the possibility of bringing the Defender back to the US market.
John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director said: “We are here in LA to showcase our DC100 and DC100 Sport concepts and start to actively explore the possibility of bringing the future Defender to North America."
Capturing the rugged, dependable and adventurous spirit of the original, the DC100 concepts are intended to showcase the potential breadth of capability for the future Defender family. Evolved since their unveiling in Frankfurt, the concepts now ride on off-road 20” wheels shod with Cooper all-terrain tires. The DC100 also features expedition accessories such as a raised air-intake 'snorkel' for wading and a roof rack.
Finished in Land Rover’s signature combination of 'Heritage Blue' paint with a Candy Weiss white roof, the DC100 reinvents the essential Defender design cues for the 21st century. These include short overhangs for extreme approach and departure angles, vertical panels, an upright windshield and strong shoulder line plus the honest Defender 'face' with its signature round lamps and prominent grille, incorporating a winch.
The DC100 Sport takes all these key design cues and adds the spirit of freedom embodied by the early canvas-roofed Land Rovers with their fold-down windshield to create a concept bursting with California cool.
Core Land Rover attributes of capability and versatility are underpinned by a suite of off-road technology. Foremost is the next generation of Land Rover's Terrain Response system, which optimizes the car for any conditions without driver pre-selection. In addition, a new Terrain-i system creates an intelligent map of the topography in front of the car and displays it in 3D. Terrain-i automatically identifies potential hazards and suggests alternative routes. In urban environments, the same system is able to identify pedestrians and hazards.
A new Wade Aid system utilizes sonar sensors in the bumpers and mirrors to measure water depth. It will then optimize the car for water crossings by closing body vents, raising the ride height, selecting a low gear and advising on the safest speed.
With more than three-quarters of the almost two million Defenders made still on regular duty, the new car has big shoes to fill. However, the company is also taking the opportunity to introduce technology never imagined by the car’s original designers. These include an intelligent Twin-Solenoid Stop/Start system mated to the latest eight-speed automatic transmission, both of which have been designed for future hybridization. There’s also the unique Driveline Disconnect system, which sends power to the front-axle only unless conditions demand all-wheel drive. Unlike conventional systems, this physically decouples the rear-axle to reduce friction losses, but can re-engage drive almost instantaneously.