In fact, the only thing true to Defender history on the Land Rover DC100 concepts shown at the 2011 Frankfurt and Los Angeles auto shows is the name/wheelbase equality and number of doors. The DC100 concepts measure 100 inches in wheelbase, just as the Defender 90 measured 90 inches.
Two concepts are making the rounds: The spyder-type DC100 Sport to complement the Hollywood persona and would surely hurt when you rolled it off a ledge, and a foot-longer-and-taller boxier DC100 utility version that too closely resembles a Toyota FJ Cruiser for our eyes. While the Sport's windshield folds down and it appears one can hose out the floor, there is irony in Bridge of Weir leather (think Lincoln flagship) covering the seats. And the electronics seem endless.
At the LA Auto Show, both were shown on 20-inch wheels and low-profile rubber, out of place in road-less areas. The basic bones of the next Defender may be shared with a new Land Rover LR4, this potentially the first Defender with independent suspension.
The concepts are designed for gasoline, diesel and hybrid powertrains but what lands in production could be a 240-hp turbo 2-liter from Ford, Jaguar's torquey, 185-hp 2.2-liter turbodiesel, a new V6 under development, a hybrid like Jaguar's C-X16, maybe even the 5-liter V8 of today's Land Rovers. We don't know. Expect an 8-speed automatic transmission and electronic control of suspension, drive and traction through Terrain Response.
Land Rover promises plenty of ground clearance and points to the DC100's short overhangs. We're not sure those corners will be easy to see beyond the rounded fenders, however. A proper Defender has square fenders easily visible from the driver's seat.
While often used to raise a public profile, the Defender's raison d'etre has always been progress beyond civilization. Seemingly counterintuitive to that is the number of gadgets listed for the DC100. Among them: radio frequency ID key, inductive charging stations (we're guessing iPods, not CBs), a self-powered navigation unit you can take with you for navi and HD video, and, of course, always-on connectivity. To ease the challenges of four wheeling, which most serious four wheelers are loathe to do, there is sonar, scanners, HD cameras, and a Terrain-i system to plot the safest route through rough stuff and ideal speed for water crossings.
Both concepts featured a bulkhead behind the front seats. The DC100 Sport was referred to as a three-seater, but better the Border Collie rides center seat. Cargo space is useful in the utility and could permit opposite-facing jump seats if there's way to get them past the government's safety czars. By looks and configuration the DC100 Sport is a dune-buggy for the 21st century.