Official James Bond stunt driver Jessica Hawkins was behind the wheel of the New Range Rover Sport to demonstrate its grip, traction, performance and composure, completing the latest in a series of challenges for Land Rover’s luxury performance SUV.
Previous feats include a record-setting hill-climb at Pikes Peak, a first recorded crossing of the Empty Quarter desert in the Arabian Peninsula and a first ascent of the 999 steps to Heaven’s Gate in China in 2018.
The epic ascent saw the New Range Rover Sport resist the surging torrent of water flowing down the ramp of the Karahnjukar Dam – the biggest of its kind in the world – at a rate of 750 tonnes per minute. A loss of traction risked plunging down the perilous 90-metre drop to the base of the spillway.
The third generation of Land Rover’s luxury performance SUV is the most desirable, technologically advanced and capable yet, mixing an imposing road presence with instinctive driving responses using the most advanced combination of chassis technologies ever fitted to a Land Rover.
The spillway climb was the final obstacle on the drive from the valley floor to the summit of the dam, taking on a flooded riverbed, long steep tunnels and the 40-degree rocky dam wall itself.
The 294-metre stretch of spillway had water furiously cascading down its 90-metre drop, to provide the ultimate test of traction and driver confidence.
“The power of the water surging down the spillway was breath-taking from the side of the valley,” said Hawkins.
“Driving into it knowing that a 90-metre drop was waiting behind me at the bottom of the slope, if things went wrong, made this the most challenging drive I’ve ever undertaken.
“Despite the steep slope and rushing water, New Range Rover Sport made it look easy. Its traction, composure and commanding visibility inspired so much confidence I was able to enjoy the whole experience.”
The successful spillway ascent was screened for the first time at an exclusive launch event at Jaguar Land Rover’s Advanced Product Creation Centre in Gaydon, UK.
“Land Rover’s pioneering MLA-Flex architecture and the latest chassis systems come together to deliver the highest levels of dynamism we’ve ever seen on Range Rover Sport,” explained Nick Collins, Executive Director, Vehicle Programmes.
“Integrated Chassis Control governs the comprehensive suite of innovations, co-ordinating everything from the latest switchable-volume air suspension system to our Dynamic Response Pro electronic active roll control. The result is the most engaging and thrilling Range Rover Sport ever.”
New Range Rover Sport is based on Land Rover’s advanced, flexible Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA-Flex), which provides the perfect foundations for its superior dynamics and peerless refinement.
Its line-up of powerful and efficient powertrains includes two six-cylinder extended range Electric Hybrid plug-ins, which provide a pure-electric driving range of up to 113 km and CO2 emissions as low as 18g/km1.
The new 530PS V8 Twin Turbo provides sports car performance, with 0-100 km/h in as little as 4.5 seconds (0-60mph in 4.3 seconds) with Dynamic Launch engaged.
Customers can also choose from powerful and efficient mild hybrid petrol and diesel Ingenium engines, while pure-electric propulsion will be available in 2024, as Land Rover continues its electrification journey.
Dramatic proportions accentuate the Range Rover Sport’s emotive design with taut surfacing, a dynamic stance and instantly recognisable profile, perfectly accentuated by its muscular proportions – giving the impression the vehicle is poised and ready.
“Our latest Range Rover Sport fully embraces our modernist approach of vehicle design whilst amplifying its unquestionable sporting and confident character,” said Professor Gerry McGovern OBE, Chief Creative Officer, Range Rover.
A comprehensive dynamic toolkit combines for the most engaging and dynamically capable driving experience, based around the inherent strength of the flexible mixed-metal MLA body architecture.
A suite of technologies governed by Land Rover’s Integrated Chassis Control system work in harmony to provide instinctive responses and agility.
A new Stormer Handling Pack provides the ultimate combination of chassis technologies for the most dynamic and agile handling and includes Dynamic Response Pro, All-Wheel Steering, an Electronic Active Differential with Torque Vectoring by Braking and Configurable Programmes.
Dynamic Response Pro is a 48-volt electronic active roll control system, capable of applying up to 1,400 nm of torque across each axle, for a confidence-inspiring driving experience and new levels of body control and cornering composure, while All-Wheel Steering helps achieve unrivalled agility and manoeuvrability at low speeds, with superior stability at high speeds.
Dynamic Air Suspension introduces switchable-volume air springs for the first time and is fitted to every New Range Rover Sport. The system enhances the bandwidth of the suspension by varying the pressure within the airbags to deliver traditional Range Rover comfort with the dynamic handling expected from the Range Rover Sport.
New Range Rover Sport is the most dynamically capable version of Land Rover’s luxury performance SUV and the most competent away from paved roads, using the latest Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (iAWD) and integrating Land Rover’s latest all-terrain innovations and technologies to ensure its breadth of dynamic capability.
Adaptive Off-Road Cruise Control makes its debut on New Range Rover Sport and helps drivers navigate tricky terrain by maintaining steady progress according to ground conditions.
Drivers can select one of four comfort settings and the system intelligently adjusts the speed, allowing the driver to focus on steering the vehicle.
With a choice of petrol, diesel, mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, the all-new Range Rover Sport is now available to order in Australia.
Pricing starts from $139,160. A fully-electric Range Rover Sport is scheduled to arrive in 2024.