Land Rover Unveils DC100, Defender Concept Vehicle

Just ahead of the Franfurt Auto Show, Land Rover has released photos of the concept Defender replacement vehicle. The concept vehicle, dubbed the DC100 will be officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2011 in September.

For more than 60 years, the original Land Rover and its successor, the iconic Defender, have become synonymous with adventure, exploration and overland travel. While the design has remained largely unchanged since its inception, the next-generation Defender has long been expected to be a significant evolution in the Defender’s design styling – both for aesthetics as well as to meet modern safety standards.

Led by Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s design director, the DC100 is the Land Rover Design Team’s first attempt to, according to Land Rover, “… share with the world the potential future direction of the Defender.”

McGovern said, “Replacing the iconic Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive design world; it is a car that inspires people worldwide. This (DC100) isn’t a production-ready concept but the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century.” (emphasis ours)

Upon these pictures release, near hysteria has broken out among Land Rover-philes online, with claims from simply “it’s ugly” to suggestions that the Land Rover brand is now dead.

Our take is that we hope this is indeed just the first step towards the final production design of the next Defender. The DC100 has some interesting styling cues, particularly in the profile view – the approach and departure angles appear to be excellent, while the inclusion of hefty front recovery points and a winch allude to off-road capability and design. However, some of the design seems uninspired – the roofline seems to borrow heavily from the Toyota FJ Cruiser, while the front end seems to be a mashup of an Evoque, with a Freelander Grille and BMW headlamps. Furthermore, the integration of the front bumper into the vehicle body would make accessorizing with aftermarket parts a challenge.

While many have complained about the wheel size, outlandish wheels have always been a styling cue of design and show vehicles. We’ll reserve judgement on wheels and tires until the vehicle gets closer to production. In addition, very little has been mentioned about the underpinnings of the vehicle (suspension, drivetrain, chassis, etc.), but that’s not surprising with an early prototype.

In its current form, the DC100 has the potential to evolve into an interesting vehicle, but its certainly a long way from being worthy of the hallowed Defender name.

 

 

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