Range Rover Sport Hybrid Tows Airstream to Arctic Circle
Diesel Hybrid Makes 2,500-Mile Trip in 11 Days
In an attempt to prove the mettle of the world’s first luxury diesel hybrid, Land Rover partnered with Airstream for a long road trip to the Arctic Circle from the company’s Gaydon, England, Design and Engineering Centre.
The Range Rover Sport Hybrid did towing duties, and because most Airstream owners choose Land Rovers to tow their travel trailers, the partnership made lots of sense. The Hybrid is equipped with Land Rover’s 3.0L diesel V-6, which produces 288 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque in the Euro-market Range Rover Sport SDV6.
However, combined with the electric motor’s extra verve, total output is pegged at 335 hp and 516 lb-ft for the Hybrid. Additionally, thanks to the inherent punchiness of electricity, that latter figure is available at just 1500 rpm, proving that diesel-electric hybrids are real torque monsters. Land Rover claims that the Range Rover Sport Hybrid is faster to 60 mph than any of its siblings except the Supercharged and the SVR, with a sprint of 6.7 seconds.
However, both diesel engines and electric propulsion systems tend to suffer in cold conditions. Although modern oil-burners are much better at cold starts than their ancestors, would the car’s sophisticated electrical system be able to withstand the sub-zero temperatures the team would face in the Arctic Circle? Well, if the company is to be believed, yes. Land Rover says their new Hybrid performed flawlessly throughout the course of the trip, even while towing the 5,500-pound Airstream. The company brands the tow vehicle as “100 percent hybrid, 100 percent Land Rover,” and that claim might be legitimate.
The Land Rover team, led by event planner Ben Samuelson, set off from the company’s Design and Engineering Centre in Gaydon, England, their first stop Airstream Europe’s headquarters in Mengerskirchen, Germany. A 27-foot hotel suite on wheels was waiting for them in the form of the company’s top-line 684 travel trailer. Equipped with two double beds, Corian kitchen surfaces, and modern interior style and fittings, the 684 would be a pretty nice place to recharge, even in a place as inhospitable as the Arctic Circle.
Land Rover’s Trailer Stability Assist system came into play as the Range Rover/Airstream combo was crossing the 5-mile-long Øresund Bridge that spans between Denmark and Sweden. As gale-force crosswinds pounded the rig, the assist system detected trailer sway and mitigated it by selectively applying individual wheel brakes to prevent the tail from wagging the dog, so to speak.
After 11 days, the Range Rover Sport Hybrid and its polished-aluminum trailer crossed the line into the Arctic Circle, where the team celebrated in the most British way possible: with a cup of tea. After that (and after the requisite photo op), the team turned around and made their safe return.
The diesel-electric Range Rover Sport Hybrid has been long rumored for the United States, but we think it’d be a fairly natural fit for the brand. A version of the aforementioned SDV6 motor will find its way into both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport this year, so we’d expect that hybridification would only add to the company’s newfound green cred. Given the Hybrid’s spry performance and capable road manners, this is one electron-powered car we’d really like to try out. Land Rover, can we interest you in a Rubicon trip sometime?
Source: Land Rover