Land Rover convertible

13 September 2011
, CarsGuide

It's a concept car that breaks the mold for the off-road icon, as well as the name of the signature yellow paintwork - called Nervous Buzz - on the DC100 Sport.

The boldly brutal roadster is one of the few genuine surprises at the Frankfurt Motor Show and is rolled into the spotlight after the earlier unveiling of the DC100 sedan that's being used to test the wind for a recreation of the classic Land Rover Defender in 2015. The Sport is very, very different from the vanilla-white DC100 that's already sparked a furore around the world with Land Rover tragics who say it can never be a true successor to the original off-road workhorse. What will they think of the Sport?

Land Rover boss Phil Popham tells Carsguide exclusively that's exactly the point, as his company goes searching for lifestyle buyers who like the idea of a Defender in the bush but could never live with the bog-basic approach of the current model.

"What we wanted to do with the Sport is to test the leisure potential. We believe there could be a lot of potential in that. We want to understand that," Popham says. The first concept is obviously more focussed. It's what you'd expect to see. I think we can sell a lot more utility vehicles but the Sport can expand the appeal as well."

The two DC concepts at the Frankfurt show - Popham admits Land Rover will build more to satisfy motor show demand that's already beyond capacity - from their 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engines to their 22-inch alloy wheels. But it's the bodywork that reflects the big split.

"As we've done in the past with the LRX concept, (which has become the Range Rover Evoque) we intend to test the reaction to the features and design. Replacing an icon is not an easy project," Popham says. It's easy to understand the utility of the DC100, but people's lifestyles are changing. They are more focussed on their free time."

"I think we really need to understand how far we can take the car. Clearly we want to gauge people's reaction to the design."