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Two Concepts for Land Rover Defender (copyright image)

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Gerry McGovern, Land Rover's Design Director with the DC100 Sport

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14th September, 2011

For more than six decades, Land Rover has been designing and building 4x4s that define capability, versatility and usability. Like no other vehicle, Land Rover Defender inspires affection and loyalty the world over. It is the original reconfigurable vehicle, inspiring people to go beyond whether they are explorers, ecologists, aid workers, medics or tour operators.

From just two principal platforms, Defenders have, over the years, been put to every task and reconfigured in every way, from fire engines to tracked exploration vehicles. The only limit to a Defender's abilities is the imagination of its owners, one of the many reason that an estimated three-quarters of the nearly two million Defenders built are still in regular use.

Fast-forward to 2011 and the next chapter in the Defender story is unfolding at Germany's Frankfurt Motor Show. The two Land Rover DC100 concepts unveiled there will build on the essential elements of Defender's 'character' and allow Land Rover to open the debate and inspire people to dream about the Defenders of the future.

At a glance

  • Two new concepts from Land Rover investigate the potential future design direction of the iconic Defender.
  • Three-abreast 'social seating' is inspired by the very first Land Rovers.
  • Cutting-edge sustainable, hi-tech materials taken from luxury yachts, private jets and even the Space Shuttle.
  • The concepts capture the flexibility, adaptability and configurability that have always been key attributes of Land Rover and continue in today's Defender.
    • DC100 demonstrates the future of Land Rover capability and versatility.
    • DC100 Sport is an active expression of freedom and leisure.
  • The Terrain-i scanning device warns the driver of obstacles when off-roading and can suggest alternative routes.
  • Wade Aid uses sonar technology to assess water depth and advise the driver of optimum speed.
  • Intelligent next-generation Land Rover Terrain Response system automatically optimises the car for any environment.
  • Driver-activated spiked tyre system can be deployed at the touch of a button.
  • Future paint technologies will allow for self-cleaning and healing bodywork.
  • Both concepts are based on the same lightweight, mixed-alloy platform.
  • Permanent four-wheel drive with an eight-speed transmission, Intelligent Start/Stop and a transfer case.
  • Driveline Disconnect physically decouples the rear axle to save fuel when all-wheel drive is not required.
  • 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines with hybrid and plug-in capabilities.
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Leisure key is a waterproof, lightweight alternative to the control fob.
  • Always-on connectivity and telematics allow for car-to-smartphone, car-to-car and car-to-base communication.
  • Built-in induction charging stations throughout the concepts.
  • Land Rover confirms its intention to launch a new Defender in 2015.


Two modern reinterpretations of the iconic Land Rover make their debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Both concepts capture the adventurous, daring, indomitable spirit of Land Rover. This spirit was established in 1948 by the Series 1, the first mass-produced civilian 4x4, which swiftly earned a global reputation for itself, for British engineering and for the Land Rover name.

Replacing a true automotive icon, these two concepts are intended to explore the potential future design language that takes the open and honest character and timeless simplicity of the original and updates them for the 21st Century.

As the names of the concepts - DC100 and DC100 Sport - suggest, they take their inspiration from iconic Land Rover models and are intended to generate debate about the future of what is arguably the most recognised automotive design in the world.

The shape and stance of the DC100 concept would be instantly recognisable anywhere in the world; capturing the inherent simplicity and reassurance of the original short-wheelbase Land Rover. Designed for the next generation, DC100's design undeniably demonstrates that it has the capability to take them to places no other car can.

The DC100 Sport is an entirely new type of Land Rover that captures the adventurous, into-the-wilds ethos typified by the early Defender models. With their canvas roofs and fold-down windscreens, these allowed total connection with the exciting landscapes they traversed. Reinterpreted for a new generation of adventurers, DC100 Sport features a streamlined, cut-down windscreen and side screens.

In reference to their heritage, both feature three front seats for increased versatility. Practicality is ensured by a middle seat that lifts to reveal a secure stowage area, while the outboard passenger seat can be folded away to increase carrying capacity.

Both interiors feature rugged, durable and sustainable modern materials that offer comfort levels undreamt of by early Land Rover owners. Those chosen for DC100 are the latest in high-tech, tough, premium fabrics that will survive a lifetime of the roughest treatment. In DC100 Sport they are more luxurious, featuring leather with a subtle Tribal Tech pattern, referencing Land Rover's legacy of exploration.

The concepts are based on the same advanced mixed-alloy underpinnings - with a 100-inch wheelbase - and represent the flexibility of design and use inherent in this very capable platform. An eight-speed transmission with integrated Intelligent Start/Stop and a transfer case provides a wide spread of high and low ratios for on and off-road driving.

Also showcased is the next generation of Land Rover's world-leading, all-terrain technology. Building on the acclaimed Terrain Response system, these will work seamlessly together to reduce the workload on the driver by identifying potential hazards and advising on safe routes to avoid them. An advanced telematics programme unites the systems and allows vehicle to smartphone communication.


"These could not be designs from any other company. Defender became a global icon because of the integrity of both its design and engineering. In creating these concepts we took the functional design cues from the past and reinterpreted them for the 21st century."

"These studies represent our thoughts on how we will forge an entirely new generation of Defender models which will prove that design can work in harmony with function." said Gerry McGovern, Design Director, Land Rover.

Land Rover has a design integrity that stretches back more than 60 years. Reinventing and reinvigorating that design ethos is a challenge that has been met - in very different ways - by the two concepts, each of which represents different points on the Land Rover spectrum.

Simplicity and Strength
The bodywork below the waist reflects the Land Rover practice of avoiding extraneous detailing by following the principle of form derived from function, leading to a purposeful simplicity of surface. The sharply defined 'shoulder' line and near vertical panels of the concepts place all four corners within sight of the driver, to provide Land Rover's hallmark confidence-inspiring Command Driving position.

Compact dimensions, short overhangs and 22-inch alloy wheels lend both all-terrain concepts a fittingly purposeful, foursquare stance. Further detailing common to both concepts - such as the triangular vent in the front guards, the bonnet edges set into the shoulder line and the prominent handle set into the trailing edge of the doors - also reference existing Land Rovers.

Dependable Design
There is arguably no other car in the world that inspires such loyalty and affection as a Land Rover, from the original Series 1 to today's Defender. Crucial to that appeal is the front-end design and DC100 Sport and DC100 represent the latest evolution of the Defender 'face' that has retained its timeless appeal for 60 years.

The key elements were a sense of openness and honesty; as a vehicle used in the most extreme conditions, a Land Rover must exude dependability. This is seen to greatest effect in DC100 with its signature twin round headlamps and purposeful grille. DC100 Sport represents a more assertive, performance-oriented interpretation of this classic Land Rover look with a steeply raked front end.

The radically different design treatments above the waist demonstrate the modularity and flexibility of the platform. The shape of DC100 is instantly recognisable to generations and, like the original Land Rover and the Defender that followed it, looks equally at home alongside an English village green as traversing an Icelandic lava field.

As a dependable all-terrain workhorse, DC100 firmly emphasises the practical side of Land Rover. The upright windscreen provides excellent visibility on and off-road while the interchangeable rear cover allows for either maximum cargo capacity or transporting additional passengers. A winch, capable of supporting the weight of the car, is neatly integrated into the front grille and towing eyes have been built into each corner of the concept.

As a further extension of its capabilities, the DC100 roof is equipped with solar panels to power on-board systems, reducing the load on the engine and lowering emissions. The DC100 exterior is painted in soft metallic silver specifically intended to reflect the sun's rays, keeping the interior cool in hot climates and reducing the demands on the climate-control system. Land Rover is also involved in research into future paint technologies that would provide both self-cleaning and self-healing panels.

DC100 Sport
With DC100 Sport, Land Rover has designed a unique concept that occupies its own territory. It takes its cue from the early canvas-roofed Defenders with their fold-down windscreens that still typify the Land Rover spirit of adventure and exploration.

Reimagined as a performance concept for the 21st century, it features a wrap around aero screen and cut-down side windows for exhilarating open-air motoring. Flowing back from the seats is a twin-humped fastback roofline that encloses a generous load bed that includes fittings designed to secure extreme sports equipment.

The DC100 Sport is finished in an exhilarating metallic amber that echoes the vibrant ochre hues found in Africa, eye-catching whether exploring mountain tracks, breezing along a beach or cruising through town.


Functionality and usability are two key characteristics of Land Rover interiors - the position and logic of every control should be obvious the moment the driver enters. The concepts take this premise and address it in a contemporary way.

The form and function of the concepts are visually integrated in the interior lay out; the door structure flows into the cabin before forming an elegant beam running the width of the dash. This means that the concepts can revive the Defender three-abreast seating lay out.

Social Seating
This seating arrangement, as well as providing a more social vehicle, extends its versatility. The passenger seat can be folded out of the way to increase carrying capacity. The middle seat conceals a large secure storage area while in front of it is a machined aluminium tray which contains induction charging technology to power electronic devices.

This innovative lay out is particularly space-efficient, allowing for integrated storage areas both above and below the central beam and for the gear lever to be mounted on the centre console. This reduces the time the driver's hand is away from the wheel while changing gear, increasing control during off-road or high-speed driving.

Multifunctional Removable Touchscreen
Like the original Land Rovers, the DC100 concepts have a central instrument binnacle mounted above the gear lever. Combining the informatics functions of an instrument panel with an intuitive touchscreen interface, the unit is backed by powerful telematics technology that co-ordinates the ground-breaking technologies to be found in these concepts.

All of the concepts' functions can be controlled via this interface, using a combination of swipe and press gestures on the touchscreen. The steering wheel includes four shortcut keys that reconfigure the touchscreen to control functions such as navigation, audio and climate.

The control unit is removable from the concepts to extend its functionality. Finished in shock and water-resistant silicon and equipped with its own power source, camera and satellite connectivity this allows it to be used as a portable navigation tool with an internal hard drive that can record waypoints, HD video footage and stills images.

Sustainable Materials
The cabins of both concepts have been finished with materials that share certain rugged, durable qualities. All these have been chosen for their sustainability both in terms of composition and manufacture such as seat foam derived from castor oil - a first for a European manufacturer - and semi-structural panels and sound insulating boards made from flax and natural polymers.

Premium Performance
Taking its cue from technical sportswear, DC100 uses the latest generation of performance materials to make an interior of premium quality that is adaptable and hardwearing. The beam running the width of the cabin, door panels and seat bolsters are trimmed in Obsidian Grey and Carbon Black Ultrafabric, a technical cloth found on designer furniture and super yachts. Ultrafabric is not only antimicrobial, water-repellent, breathable and resistant to solar ageing, it is also PVC-free, low in 'volatile organic compounds' and lightweight, making it a very sustainable product.

Complementing this is Superfabric, an almost indestructible textile with a premium feel. Normally found in protective clothing for extreme environments - including spacesuits - DC100 uses it on the seat cushions and to line the footwells and rear load space. The base fabric is 100% recycled and the printed plate is made of eco-friendly non-toxic materials. Aluminium also features extensively and as a trim material - such as the drains in the fully washable rear load bed - it is made of 100 per cent recycled metal.

Traditional Toughness
DC100 Sport achieves the same singularity of purpose with a mixture of ultra-modern and traditional materials. The seats are trimmed in the original protective material; leather, with a lightweight, breathable mesh insert in a bold Tribal Tech pattern. The hide, itself a by-product, is sourced from Bridge of Weir, a Scottish company with impeccable environmental credentials that make it 97 per cent self-sufficient. The hide is covered with a 3D-textured mesh that alternately reveals and hides the Tribal Tech pattern.

The Tribal pattern is repeated on the floor of DC100 Sport where floor mats are made of Ombrae, a sculptural medium used in art installations and modern architecture. This dynamic 3D material changes its appearance through the use of light and shadow, depending on the angle from which it is viewed. The same pattern is also echoed in the hand-cut Pirelli tyres.

Adaptable Interior
The concepts' outward modularity is repeated in the interior where the door canisters can be configured according to requirements with options ranging from portable barbecue sets to field first-aid kits.

This inclusion of technology extends to the rear of the two concepts with cutting-edge features in the fully configurable load spaces. Down the centre of each is an aluminium inductive charging strip which in the DC100 Sport is used to either chill or heat a removable compartment - perfect for picnics on the beach or hot drinks on the slopes - while the remaining space has been designed to accommodate three kite surf boards.

In DC100 the inductive strip can be used to charge a range of power tools on the move, with supplementary equipment carried in flanking canisters. A further charging area to one side is used in DC100 Sport for charging a bespoke removable speaker system from audio specialists Meridian that wirelessly streams music from concept to cabana. In DC100 this feature can be used to charge communication equipment or laptops.

Technology and Capability

These two new concept vehicles showcase the next generation of technologies that will extend Land Rover's reputation for legendary all-terrain prowess and 365 day-a-year usability.

21st Century Capabilities
As with any Land Rover, both DC100 designs have towing and load-carrying capabilities that exceed expectations but use two different and well-proven Land Rover suspension systems specifically tailored to their distinct performance parameters.

DC100 uses a development of the existing air suspension system that allows ride height to be altered by up to 320 mm for extreme approach and departure angles, axle articulation and ground clearance. The DC100 Sport's performance remit sees it use the third-generation Magneride adjustable suspension for sports car like on-road handling while losing little in all-terrain ability.

Terrain Response
Powerful new off-road tools will extend the capabilities of the much-praised Land Rover Terrain Response programme to allow it to automatically optimise the concepts for any environment without driver pre-selection. The system combines data from sensors that assess suspension travel, steering angle, wheel slip and braking and acceleration inputs to allow the vehicle to react by continuously and unobtrusively altering spring, damper, gearing and power delivery parameters.

Terrain Response on the DC100 concepts also features High-Definition cameras mounted on the front to analyse the visual spectrum of the ground ahead. This is then compared to images stored within a predictive neural network and allows the system to visually determine, for example, the difference between sand, grass, mud, gravel, snow and asphalt. Terrain Response can then actively alter the off-road performance parameters.

Intelligent Terrain Mapping
Acting as an early-warning system is the state-of-the-art Terrain-i mapper that provides a virtual 3D visualisation of the ground ahead, displayed on the central touchscreen. Similar to systems used by fighter pilots, Terrain-i uses a headlamp-mounted scanner that runs complex algorithms to assess the route ahead and warn the driver of obstacles potentially too large to be safely negotiated.

Instead Terrain-i will suggest alternatives, displaying the safe route on the central screen. Cameras mounted on each corner of the concepts, giving the driver a 360-degree field of vision of the immediate vehicle environs, supplement the system.

Terrain-i also plays a vital support role to the driver in crowded urban environments where the intelligent 3D scanner can identify pedestrians and other hazards with far greater accuracy than current systems. This can initially warn the driver and, if avoiding action is not taken, safely stop the vehicle.

Wade Aid
Land Rover has developed a sonar-based system for assessing water depth that allows the driver to make informed decisions as to whether to proceed into flooded areas.

The system utilises sensors mounted in the bumpers and wing mirrors. These are able to measure depth and by working in conjunction with inclinometers recognise whether the level is increasing or decreasing. All this information is displayed in an intuitive graphic on the central touchscreen.

The system will also automatically optimise the concept for a water crossing by raising the ride height, closing body vents, selecting a lower gear to maintain engine revs and advising on the optimum speed for the depth of water, allowing a maximum wading depth of 750 mm.

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Spiked Tyres
Further allowing the concepts to adjust to changing conditions is a driver-deployable spiked tyre system. This is operated by an electro-mechanical system mounted within the tyre on the inside of the wheel; activation of the technology permits air to inflate a secondary air chamber, filling pods moulded into the tread of the tyre and which contain the spikes. The spikes rise just above the tread surface and fix into place for driving on packed snow and ice. When conditions have eased, the spikes can be retracted, obviating the need to carry two sets of tyres or snow chains.

Underpinning these systems is a powerful telematics programme that seamlessly integrates many of the vehicle functions and presents information to the driver in the clearest, most straightforward manner.

In addition to this, the telematics allow communication between the concepts and a smartphone or laptop, allowing the owner to check everything from the tyre pressures to the cabin temperature and, for instance, operate the climate control remotely.

In addition, the telematics system can store data from every one of the car's journeys and download them for comparison. So, for instance, information from the Wade Aid system could chart changes in water depth or data from the traction control could be used to assess the rate of terrain erosion.

The system also has full on-the-move connectivity via 3G and satellite and can deliver not just traffic alerts but also weather warnings for remoter areas.

Leisure Key
Land Rover prides itself on offering solutions to everyday as well as extraordinary situations. Land Rover has adopted Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to increase the accessibility, usability and security of the concepts.

The concepts come with a set of RFID chips built into impact and water resistant items such as wristbands and watches. These allow the main key fob to be left in a slot in the glovebox, which deactivates it and transfers its lock and unlock functions to the rugged RFID chip. Once the system is armed and the car secured, only that specific RFID smart tag will allow it to be unlocked and reactivate the key fob.

Future developments of the system will allow each family member their own smart tag, which would save their personal audio, climate, communication and seating settings. This would also allow parents to restrict vehicle power and speed when their children used it. Third-generation smart tags could also include biometric data that would use facial systems to increase security.

Park Assist
Extending the DC100 Sport's capabilities in the urban environment is a Park Assist system, which parallel parks the concept with minimal input from the driver. Sensors scan the side of the road to select a suitably sized space. If the driver confirms the selection, the DC100 Sport can then reverse into the space, performing all the steering functions automatically while the driver retains control over the brakes and accelerator.


Land Rover is actively researching the next generation of powertrains appropriate to the extreme uses and environmental challenges to which its cars are put. In association with research centres, suppliers and universities, the company is looking at a wide range of options to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Intelligent Start/Stop
The eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, with Intelligent Start/Stop fitted to the two concepts represents the first stage in Land Rover's programme to introduce suitable, sustainable technology.

Designed with future hybridisation in mind, the gearbox utilises the Twin Solenoid Starter system that offers considerable benefits over more conventional Start/Stop technologies such as the ability to restart the engine during its rundown phase. The addition of a transfer case for a wide spread of ratios and wheel-mounted paddles for manual selection allows for great control both on and off road.

Appropriate Powertrains
Both concepts are powered by variations on a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. The go-anywhere DC100 is diesel-powered for maximum mud-plugging torque while the more performance-biased DC100 Sport is petrol-powered for a sportier drive. Both engines are capable of being configured as parallel or plug-in hybrids, as appropriate to their role.

Torque Vectoring
A new electronic torque vectoring system greatly extends the stability, traction and handling of the DC100 concepts on any surface. As opposed to purely mechanical differentials, those designed for torque vectoring use electronic control systems to channel specific amounts of power to each individual wheel.

In on-road driving situations this allows for both a sportier and safer drive, with the torque vectoring acting to further enhance vehicle performance by working in conjunction with stability programmes. During off-road driving, torque vectoring confers even greater benefits, being able to infinitely and instantaneously send torque to whichever combination of the four wheels has the most grip.

Driveline Disconnect
Driveline Disconnect reduces friction losses by sending drive to the front axle only unless conditions dictate that all-wheel drive is required. Unlike conventional switchable four-wheel drive, which reroutes engine power electronically, the Land Rover system physically decouples the rear propshaft from the centre differential for greater efficiency benefits with potential fuel savings of up to 7%. The system can recouple and send drive to the rear wheels when it detects a loss of traction as swiftly as an electronic programme.


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