Land Rover has unveiled the radical DC100 Sport concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. This open-top take on the rugged DC100 concept shows Land Rover's intention to add some flair to the new Defender line-up when it arrives in 2015.
Finished in a bold yellow paint scheme and featuring a speedster-style body with chopped glazing and a twin-hump tonneau that covers the load bay, the DC100 Sport features a 3+3 seating layout and rolls on a decidedly non-off-road-friendly set of 22-inch alloy wheels. Being a concept, the DC100 Sport does play host to some features that are speculative, to say the least. These include solar panels, continuous Internet connectivity and an interior which, despite featuring durable Ultrafabric and Superfabric finishes, is a flight of fancy. What Land Rover does emphasise, however, is the use of recyclable materials where possible, and this is a prominent feature of the DC Sport concept.
Despite its rugged, go-anywhere proviso, the DC100 Sport concept also provides a platform for a number of new technologies emerging from the Land Rover stable. For instance, both the petrol and diesel 2,0-litre powerplants are mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission and feature hybrid and plug-in capabilities, as well as start/stop. In addition to an updated version of the company’s Terrain Response system, the DC100 Sport concept makes use of a traditional transfer case with a setting that can disengage drive to the rear axle to save fuel in normal driving conditions.
Both DC100 concepts are underpinned by a lightweight, mixed-alloy platform, but there is word that two competing chassis options are still under consideration: a shortened and lightened version of the existing T5 platform or an all-new platform that would eventually be used in several wheelbases for a wide range of Defender models. Whichever route the company takes, the requirement for the final product to accommodate both the modularity needed for different wheelbases and the requisite toughness expected of such a vehicle will probably mean that the all-new chassis will incorporate a separate ladder-frame design.
Although the Defender has established itself as something of a motoring icon, the company realises that the current package is too compromised in terms of passenger space, comfort and emissions ratings. “We have to replace it [the Defender]”, says Land Rover design chief Gerry McGovern. "Our task is to realise what makes it great and to come up with a modern design with the same attributes – the advantage of modern design and none of the drawbacks.”
Land Rover is still keen to target traditional markets such as the military, agriculture and industry, but its priority will remain the recreational market where the company will reportedly target annual sales figures in the region of 50 000 units.