Land Rover has released images of its DC100 concept - a clear hint at the next Defender - ahead of its debut at the Frankfurt motor show.
Not the most dynamic of cars, we'll grant you - although we know a well-aged Landie is one of the vehicles you're likely to find tucked away at the back of an evo reader's garage or driveway. But the concept, and Land Rover's annoucement it intends to put a new Defender into production in 2015, shows that the company does foresee a future for its most iconic model.
The current Defender dates back as far as 1983 when Land Rover switched to a coil-sprung chassis from the leaf-sprung 'Series' Landie. The Defender has been tweaked over the years with various new engines - it's about to receive its seventh different diesel motor, a version of JLR's 2.2-litre four-cylinder that will help it through the next round of Euro emissions tests. But the company has acknowledged that it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep the aged model in compliance, especially as sales have slipped.
Despite the arrival of a new model, which is certain to be far more 'lifestyle' focussed, Land Rover insiders have hinted that the current Defender may still have a future, with production moved to India for sale in developing markets.
In the meantime, we shouldn't read too much into the new Defender concept, which is described by Land Rover's design boss Gerry McGovern as being 'the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century.' We can expect any production version to share its engines and drivetrains with other models in the range, most likely the next-generation Freelander.