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 |  Nov 16 2011, 8:52 PM

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When you’re dealing with a true iconic vehicle, the hardest task of all is coming up with a suitable replacement. As we reported in Frankfurt, rumors that Land Rover would simply kill off the Defender have proven to be unfounded.

There will be a successor, reportedly a true global model (the current version hasn’t been sold on our shores officially since ’97) though at this stage, despite an introduction planned for 2015,  it’s still too early to tell how the next generation model will look.

The DC100 Concept and its roofless counterpart, the DC100 Sport, which made their North American debuts at the LA Auto Show today, hinting at just one direction the Defender could go.

Boasting a 100-inch wheelbase, hence the name (DC stands for, naturally Defender Concept), both of these vehicles  incorporate  short front and rear overhangs, plus high ground clearance to prevent getting stuck on really rough trails, a durable, washable interior that boasts seating for three up front (very Defender this), along with a number of high tech features such as a Wade Aid, which employs sonar technology to monitor the depth of water crossings, along with a Terrain i-system that detects potential objects and hazards ahead when off-roading. The DC100s also sport an 8-speed automatic transmission, permanent four-wheel drive and intelligent stop start, in order to save fuel.

Land Rover is also exploring a number of other interesting technologies for the next generation Defender, including Hybrid drivetrains (both with diesel and gas engines), physically decoupling axles (featured on the concepts), even self-healing paint. After all, as John Edwards, Land Rover’s global brand director said during their North American unveiling, there’s probably no vehicle on earth that has more dings, dents and scratches from exploring our wonderful planet  than the mighty Defender.

GALLERY: Land Rover DC100 Concepts

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