Land Rover’s Range Rover Sport is often left out in between, their more off-road focused SUVs like the Discovery, and the traditional full-size Rangie. We do tend to forget, that low-sitting Range Rover Sport does have a few advantages, and is just as off-road capable as the rest of the family. But why take that at face value, why not make the Range Rover Sport take 99 sharp hairpins and then climb 999 steep steps up the side of a mountain. I mean what kind of Range Rover would it be if it can’t bend the laws of physics a little. Which brings us to the Land Rover Range Rover Sport Dragon challenge, which saw Land Rover do what they do best with a swift punch to the physics smug face, climbing the stairs to China’s Heaven’s gate. Making for a feat previously not thought to be possible by car.
What’s more is that Land Rover chose the PHEV Hybrid for the task; symbolic in some ways, to remind us that even if modern Range Rovers go polar bear friendly, they will still retain that inherent off-road DNA. The Challenge began at the legendary 11.3 km Tianmen Mountain Road, which is quite appropriately known as the Dragon Road. To make this point even more clear, Range Rover used a factory stock car with no modifications to give it the upper hand. Behind the wheel of the P400e Range Rover Sport was Panasonic Jaguar Racing's Ho-Pin Tung, and for those familiar with Land Rover's current models, the Terrain Response 2 system in the vehicle was employed in Dynamic mode. The Range Rover did it and even more annoyingly made it look easy. Although Ho-Pin who was behind the wheel of the Sport said, "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. 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."
Land Rover’s Experience expert Phil Jones who was also at the event said "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. 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."