Land Rover has come up with some crackers but this one takes the cake.
Watch the Range Rover Sport PHEV, that’s the plug-in hybrid version, take on the legendary 11.3km Tianmen Mountain Road in China — also known as the Dragon Road.
At the wheel, Le Mans class-winner and Panasonic Jaguar Racing reserve and test driver Ho-Pin Tung, with the Terrain Response 2 system set to Dynamic mode.
After an exhausting 99 bends, many with a sheer drop to the side, the mountain pass arrives at a towering 45-degree staircase, with 999 steps leading to China’s legendary Heaven’s Gate rock arch.
“I’ve experienced Formula E, Formula 1 and won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but this was without doubt one of the most demanding driving challenges I’ve ever faced,” Ho-Pin Tung said.
“The Range Rover Sport PHEV performed brilliantly as it inspired real confidence on the mountain road and climbed the stairs up to Heaven’s Gate effortlessly.”
The new PHEV powertrain gives the Range Rover Sport an electric only range of up to 50km fully charged, with a 221kW Ingenium petrol engine and 85kW electric motor providing the motivation.
“This was the hardest Range Rover Sport challenge I’ve ever been involved with because, until we reached the top, we couldn’t categorically say we would succeed,” Land Rover Experience expert Phil Jones said.
“By making it to the summit, we’ve proven the phenomenal capability of the Range Rover Sport plug-in hybrid like never before – with a genuine world first.”
What we want to know is did Ho-Pin Tung turn around and drive back down the staircase again?