SHARP & Range Rover
One thing is for certain: the Range Rover Sport excels in challenges and extreme conditions. It executes its own thrilling stunts with fearless aplomb – Tom Cruise in the guise of a high-performance luxury SUV.
The model’s worldwide premiere took place at Iceland’s colossal Kárahnjúkar Spillway. Here, the SUV embarked on an intimidating, water-logged climb of the overflow channel that belongs to Europe’s largest dam.
The venue is the latest backdrop for a tradition that sees the brand push the latest Range Rover Sport against some of the harshest terrains around. Consider a record-smashing hill ascent at Pikes Peak, a groundbreaking expedition across the ‘Empty Quarter’ desert of the Arabian Peninsula, and an unmatched mount of the 999 steps leading to Heaven’s Gate in China. Each new challenge elevates the standard.
During this rigorous trial, the Range Rover Sport contended with the fierce current of the Kárahnjúkarr Dam, the grandest of its kind globally. In a unique showcase of its dynamic capability against adverse elements, official James Bond stunt driver Jessica Hawkins exhibited the vehicle’s dexterity, traction and overall effectiveness.
The high-stakes Spillway saga unfolds with a pursuit versus a thunderous waterfall. With Range Rover Sport’s programme chief Erol Mustafa and stunt coordinator Jim Dowdall assisting, Hawkins harnesses the Sport’s intelligent drivetrain systems, including its Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, to outstrip the inexorable cascade. With a total real-world range of 740 kilometres and CO2 emissions from as low as 18 grams per kilometre, the new Range Rover Sport is most dynamically capable and competent off-road.
The vehicle’s comprehensive dynamic toolkit is built on Land Rover’s MLA body architecture and supported by an Integrated Chassis Control system. The electronic active differential with Torque Vectoring by Braking takes charge, steering power to the wheels with the most traction on the slippery shale.
As Hawkins navigates hazardous routes, the SUV’s strength becomes evident. Powering its performance is the new V8 Twin-Turbo 523hp engine. It propels the vehicle from zero to a hundred klicks per hour in a swift 4.5 seconds, akin to sports car acceleration. Then the Stormer Handling Pack, which combines various chassis technologies including Dynamic Response Pro for electronic active roll control, comes into play. It provides enhanced body control and cornering composure, perpetually fine-tuning the suspension for prime stability. The Sport’s sturdy disposition outclasses the landscape, encouraging Hawkins to observe: “It just ate any terrain that we took it through.”
The team’s determination is once again tested as they steer through a tunnel lined with perilous junction boxes. At a vital crossroads, the Sport veers nearly sideways, but its All-Wheel Steering system and Dynamic Air Suspension with switchable-volume air springs come to the rescue, improving agility at low speeds and stability at high speeds.
“It was almost like flying a plane instead of driving a car,” Hawkins sums.
The Spillway Challenge concludes with the precarious spillway climb, where the Range Rover confronts a flood-ravaged riverbed, steep tunnels and a rugged dam wall. Ascending a 294-metre spillway under an unyielding waterfall from a 90-metre drop, both Hawkins and the vehicle are pushed to their limits. The risk of sliding off the edge into a sheer vertical fall at the spillway’s base compounds the danger. But the model’s customizable Terrain Response system shines, altering traction control and ride height to accommodate the formidable water volume.
Employing a single Range Rover Sport for all the stages, Hawkins returned with the vehicle intact and undamaged each time. “[It] made it look easy,” she summarized. “Its traction, composure, and commanding visibility inspired so much confidence I was able to enjoy the whole experience.”
Rolling credits? Not on this ride. Like a certain seasoned action star, the Range Rover Sport is cleared to ‘cruise’ towards its next adventure. There’s always another journey, another hurdle, another opportunity to go above and beyond – whether it’s water, ice, rock or the open road.
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.