Land Rover unveils open-top Defender concept

The Land Rover DC100 concept, a forerunner to a possible new Defender in 2015, was expected to appear at Europe’s largest motor show, but a drop-top version was a surprise to many.

Named the Land Rover DC100 Sport concept, the new concept uses the same chunky design as the DC100, which is loosely based on the current Land Rover Defender.

This means a box-like shape with a raised ground height, bulging wheel arches and modern, prominent headlamps.

The new take on the rugged Land Rover Defender is the first step to designing the next generation model, something Land Rover has described as a hugely difficult task to replace such an iconic car.

In keeping with this, Land Rover says the concept is only the first step in the process and both existing and potential new customers will be asked to help shape the final design for the Defender.

However, the Sport version is completely new, matching the 4×4 ability and design with open-top driving.

Land Rover says the DC100 Sport reflects ‘freedom and leisure’ and unlike the Land Rover Defender, which remains essentially a practical workhorse, it is aimed more at driving for leisure instead of work.

As expected from the luxury 4×4 specialist, the new concept cars are built using materials designed to reduce weight and therefore fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

However, the off-road ability remains, with Land Rover’s All-Terrain system included and a new Terrain-i scanning device exhibited for the first time. The device scans the path ahead and notifies the driver of any potential obstacles in the road.

Other new technology includes a Wade Aid sonar to gauge water depth, something which could appear on road-going Land Rovers in future years.

So far there are no plans to actually produce the DC100 Sport, but the concept highlights Land Rover’s intention to move into a more leisure-based market in future.