If you’re unimpressed, we give up.
When Range Rover pulled the wraps off its first plug-in hybrid vehicle, they were relentless in reassuring both customers and critics that the electrified powertrain would in no way compromise the capabilities that you would expect of a Range Rover. So much so that the press pack at that time was peppered with photos of the Sport P400e PHEV getting muddy and wet, more so than usual, just to underline that above all else, it was still a Range Rover.
This time around, there’s no mud, or water. But in the words of a Land Rover Experience expert, this was “the hardest Range Rover Sport challenge.”
In time for the Lunar New Year, Range Rover devised a gruelling ‘Dragon Challenge,’ in which a Range Rover Sport P400e PHEV would carve up 99 corners on the fabled Dragon Road that snakes (or dragons?) up Tianmen Mountain in China, before then ascending the 999-steps to ‘Heavens Gate,’ a naturally-formed rock arch at the top. Piloting the Range Rover Sport was Panasonic-Jaguar Formula-E driver and Le Mans class winner Ho-Pin Tung.
The Dragon Challenge began at the bottom of Dragon Road, with Ho-Pin opting for ‘Dynamic’ mode in the Range Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system for the course. Upon arriving at the base of the stairs that lead up to Heavens Gate, Ho-Pin “optimised” the Terrain Response system to utilise a combination of internal-combustion and battery power to get the enormous SUV to the top.
We won’t give anything else away. Just watch the film.
The Range Rover Sport PHEV debuted in October last year, pairing a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged Ingenium mill with an electric motor, capable of a combined output of 297kW and 640Nm. Power goes to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox, while on a full-charge, the Sport P400e is capable of driving for up to 51km (give or take) on electric power alone.
Jaguar-Land Rover Australia has confirmed that the Range Rover Sport P400e plug-in hybrid will be arriving on our shores along with the rest of the updated 2018 Range Rover Sport lineup come April, with prices starting at $95,100 for the entry-level SD4 S variant.