In a world first, and following on from a series of challenges which seem to be getting more extreme every time, JLR decided to take on the fearsome Inferno downhill ski course in Mürren, Switzerland. British racing driver Ben Collins, most commonly known as ‘The Stig’, was provided with a production model Range Rover Sport, modified only with essential safety features (reinforced tyres, harnesses and a roll cage), and handed the daunting task of tackling the 2,170 metre descent.
During the descent Collins reached speeds of 96mph and facing gradients of 75% in the Range Rover Sport, which was equipped with a 510PS 5.0-lire supercharged V8 petrol engine. Upon completing the hair-raising course, Collins described the challenge as the “hardest thing I’ve ever done”.
The Range Rover Sport itself seemed to perform extremely well in the conditions, reaching 75mph through ice and sleet at the top of the mountain, and topping out at 96mph through fog and wet grass at the bottom of. According to Jaguar Land Rover, this can be attributed to the pioneering Terrain Response technology, which controls a number of different features on the car, to help it quickly adapt to whatever conditions it finds itself in. For example the Anti-Roll Bar stiffens to reduce body roll in dynamic mode, the rear diff is locked to allow controlled wheel slip in ‘Mud and Ruts’ mode and when the ‘Grass/Gravel/Snow’ setting is used, understeer and oversteer are reduced by engine braking.
Overall this challenge has showed the Range Rover Sport is a genuine off-roader, and not just suited to suburban streets, as some may have you believe.