Land Rover stopped people in their tracks recently when the Discovery Sport SUV towed three luxury train carriages weighing more than 100 tonnes along a railway track in a demonstration of its towing capability.
The 10km journey through the Rhine region of northern Switzerland put the compact Discovery Sport’s pulling power to the ultimate test. Though the Discovery Sport has a certified maximum towing weight of 2,500kg, it was able to pull 60 times its own weight, powered by Jaguar Land Rover’s 180PS Ingenium diesel engine providing 430Nm of torque. In addition, the Discovery Sport benefitted from Land Rover’s portfolio of towing and traction technologies such as Terrain Response, Tow Assist, Tow Hitch Assist and All Terrain Progress Control – a semi-autonomous off-road driving system that automatically manages engine output and braking, to complete the stunt.
Karl Richards, Lead Engineer for Stability Control Systems at Jaguar Land Rover, said, “Towing is in Land Rover’s DNA, and Discovery Sport is no exception. Over the years, we have introduced game-changing towing technologies to take the stress out of towing for our customers. I’ve spent most of my career travelling to the most punishing parts of the world to test Land Rovers in grueling conditions, yet this is the most extreme towing test I’ve ever done.”
The stunt was performed in a stock Land Rover Discover Sport where the vehicle’s drivetrain remained unchanged; the only modification being the fitment of rail wheels by specialists Aquarius Railroad Technologies, to act as ‘stabilisers’.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport completed the impressive pull without the aid of low-range gears, instead using its 9-speed automatic gearbox and Terrain Response technology to generate the necessary traction. Land Rover’s All Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) system was also engaged at the press of a button during the tow, to maximise traction at a set speed. Acting much like a ‘low-speed cruise control’, ATPC allows the driver to focus on the road – or in this case the railway – ahead.
The train-pulling feat was undertaken on 10km of track at the Museumsbahn Stein am Rhein in Switzerland, crossing the River Rhine on the dramatic Hemishofen bridge – a historic steel span measuring 285 meters long and soaring 25 meters above the valley floor.
British road-to-rail 4×4 conversion specialists Aquarius Railroad Technologies fitted the rail wheels to the standard Discovery Sport. Managing Director James Platt, said, “For a vehicle of this size to pull a combined weight of more than 100 tonnes demonstrates real engineering integrity. No modifications were necessary to the drivetrain whatsoever and in tests the Discovery Sport generated more pull than our road-rail Defender, which is remarkable.”
You can watch it via the YouTube link below!