Land Rover charges to Heaven's Gate with the Range Rover Sport PHEV

Land Rover charges to Heaven's Gate with the Range Rover Sport PHEV

A dizzying 99 turns and 999 daunting steps didn't stop the new Range Rover Sport PHEV from completing a world-first at one of China's most famous landmarks, with the petrol-electric performance SUV becoming the first vehicle to climb to Heaven's Gate.

No modifications were made to the vehicle, with the showroom-ready Ranger Rover Sport simply utilising its Terrain Response 2 system to reach the top - piloted by Formula E driver Ho-Pin Tung, of Panasonic Jaguar Racing.

THE new plug-in hybrid Range Rover Sports has become the first auto to climb to Heaven's Gate in China. Before the hybrid SUV even reached Heaven's Gate, it had to contend with the treacherous, seven-mile "Dragon's Road" that leads to the steps.

At the wheel was Le Mans class victor and JLR Formula E reserve, Ho-Pin Tung.

Range Rover Sport PHEV the 1st SUV to Scale Heaven's Gate in China
Range Rover Sport PHEV the 1st SUV to Scale Heaven's Gate in China

The Dragon Challenge is a series of events designed by the British company to showcase the capabilities of the Range Rover Sport. The auto was in no way prepared for the event, apart for the excessive use of the Terrain Response system.

Previous exploits include a record-setting hill-climb at Pikes Peak, USA, a record crossing of the "Empty Quarter" desert in the Arabian Peninsula and a 2,170m descent of the legendary Inferno downhill course in Mürren, Switzerland.

Phil Jones, Land Rover Experience expert, 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".

The new Range Rover Sport PHEV uses a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol Ingenium engine paired with an 85kW electric motor system, for a combined output of 297kW. It boasts 398 bhp and 640Nm of torque, a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds, and a top speed of 137 miles per hour.

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