What is it? The Land Rover DC100 Sport was one of two concept cars revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in September. They were designed to investigate visions of what a replacement for the venerable Defender could look like.
If the DC100 is a direct representation of what the replacement for the regular Defender could look like when it emerges in 2015, this version – the two-seater Sport – is more than just a Landie workhorse, but one you desire, too.
It was fitting, then, that we got to drive it in the Californian sun on Santa Monica beach, just a few days before it makes its American debut at the Los Angeles motor show.
What's it like to drive? This concept is built on a Range Rover Sport chassis and powered by the company's V8 engine. Whether or not this is what the final production car will use is purely guesswork, but it is one of the options being considered.
Either way, the growly, torquey V8, going through an auto 'box, seems to suit the DC100 Sport's character perfectly. Just tickling the throttle sends it lurching forward, traversing the deep rutted sand impressively – considering it's a car designed for a motor show stand.
It rides well too, taking into account it's sitting on 22-inch wheels and on a beach. The steering is precise, feeling every bit as taut and agile as a Range Rover Evoque and eons away from a classic Landie.
What's it like inside? The DC100 Sport shares the simplicity, lack of frills, and hose-out ability of the Defender, but that's about it.
Staring over the Speedster-style windscreen adds hugely to a sense of occasion, as does sinking into the sculpted driver's seat.
Once installed, you still feel like you're in a Land Rover though. It doesn't have the Defender's high-rise dashboard or upright, legs-down driving position, but it's still possible to see both front corners of the bonnet, and the few controls on show are of the no-nonsense, chunky variety. All your necessary info is displayed on a centrally mounted iPad-style screen.
There's plenty of painted metal on show in the cabin, too, and brushed metal surfaces. It all looks cool, without being flashy.
Unlike the Defender, there's plenty of elbow room as well, and that wraparound screen does a deceptively good job of protecting you from the elements.
Will I be able to buy one? No one at Land Rover is commenting on whether either DC100 model will make it beyond the concept car stage.
However, replacing the Defender is a must for Land Rover and plenty of insiders are determined to keep the utility, capability and iconic appeal of the current car and add a whole heap of desirability and functionality on top of it. Our experience of the DC100 Sport proves that is easily achievable.
What Car? Says…
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