Blog: Off-road in a Range Rover Sport INSIDE a 747
Glenn Brooks | 25 June 2013
That ramp is far steeper than it looks
Can any manufacturer's new vehicle launch top what Land Rover has just treated just-auto and others to? One part of today's event for the Range Rover Sport included driving up a ramp into a Boeing 747.
The media splash wouldn't have been cheap, and I was in the first group of what will be a month-long event attended by journalists from multiple countries, but Land Rover didn't have to buy its own jumbo jet. The plane we boarded by SUV is due to be scrapped after several decades of service and had apparently been sitting about for a while when the PR machine discovered it. How much fun must it have been to cut holes in the fuselage of a 747 so that people could drive Range Rovers in and out of it?
You have to admire the imagination of the person at Land Rover who thought up the idea of off-roading inside a plane, and the company also turned an adjacent 747 into a lunch venue for good measure (you entered it via a conventional metal staircase but it was still fantastically strange to find what looked like a funky cafe where the seats should be). That one is also due to become scrap metal soon.
As a showcase for the new RRS' capabilities on and off road, the two-day event would have been hard to improve upon. We were treated to superb tarmac and gravel routes around the Cotswolds and mid-Wales on Monday, before looping back to Cheltenham last night via some off-roading in the grounds of Eastnor Castle.
Both 3.0-litre V6 diesel and 5.0-litre supercharged petrol variants were available, with the latter powering up to speeds of 150mph on the runway of Cotswold Airport this afternoon. That was fun, as was an emergency braking test. Just in case you were wondering, the high speed runs were going on between landings and take-offs at this admitedly quiet former RAF base near Cirencester. As well as being a graveyard for old 747s, I saw a few light aircraft take off.
The climb up a steep ramp into the rear of the 747 had to be taken slowly as there was a tight right turn immediately upon boarding. Then, I started laughing as you didn't just drive straight through and down the ramp below the nose. No, the Land Rover people had installed some ramps on one side to make the RRS tilt over at an extreme angle. They had also placed an aluminium frame from an RR Sport inside the tail so you saw that in your rear view mirror, and there were some big metal cargo boxes scattered about as obstacles. It was all over in under a minute as you exited slowly slowly down a steep incline letting the Descent Control do the braking automatically. I was then invited to drive up another ramp and this time traverse the jumbo via holes cut into its sides (see photo).
As a piece of theatre, the experience at Cotswold Airport was hugely entertaining, and as publicity, well, I guess I am now proving how well it's probably going to work.
Companies: Land Rover
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