Heroic Land Rover tows 110-tonne 'road train' through the outback
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A British family 4X4 more used to pulling caravans and trailers has been put to an Aussie strength test by towing a giant 110 tonne 100 metre long ‘road train’ juggernaut for 10 miles though the Australian outback.
The feat of pulling seven linked together trailers was achieved along a closed off stretch of the Lasseter Highway in Australia’s remote Northern Territory.
The stunt was carried out to test the pulling power of a revamped 2018 model year Land Rover Discovery featuring the latest technology updates.
A Land Rover spokesman said: ’Our Land Rover Discovery has taken on a 110-tonne road train and the Australian Outback… and won.
'The sight of a seven-trailer truck being pulled by an SUV sounds far-fetched – but that’s exactly what happened when Land Rover put the Discovery to the ultimate towing test.’
On public roads, the Discovery’s 258 horse-power 3.0 litre Td6 turbo-diesel 4X4 has a maximum certified towing capacity of 3,500kg (3.5 tonnes).
And Australian road trains – used to carry fuel, mineral ore and cattle between remote rural communities – are generally permitted only up to four trailers, with their length strictly regulated to 53.5 metres.
But for this special test on the closed off highway, Land Rover obtained special permission to pull seven trailers plus the road train’s 12-tonne tractor unit, which was retained to operate the hydraulic brakes fitted to the trailers.
It’s not the first time the Land Rover Discovery has punched above its weight. At its 1989 launch, the original ‘Discovery I’ was used to pull a train. And last year the Discovery Sport premium compact SUV towed a trio of rail carriages 85-feet above the River Rhine.
John Bilato, managing director of haulage specialist G&S Transport who took the wheel for the Australian event said: 'When Land Rover first got in touch, I didn’t think the vehicle would be able to do it, so I was amazed by how easily the standard Discovery pulled a 110-tonne road train.
‘And the smoothness of the gear changes under that amount of load was genuinely impressive. These road trains are the most efficient form of road haulage on the planet and using the Discovery made this the most economical of all.’
Land Rover product engineer Quentin Spottiswoode, said: ‘Towing capability has always been an important part of Discovery DNA and the raw weight of the road train tells only half the story.
‘Pulling a rig and seven trailers, with the rolling resistance of so many axles to overcome, is a huge achievement. We expected the vehicle to do well but it passed this test with flying colours, hitting 27mph along its 10 mile route.’
The Discovery’s standard eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive system was hooked up to the road train using a factory-fitted tow bar attachment.
A spokesman said: ’The road train itself was even carrying 10-tonnes of ballast in order to hit the magic 110-tonne weight mark.’
The diesel model manages CO2 emissions of 189g/km and claimed fuel economy of 39.2mpg on the road.
The revamped 2018 Discovery range offers a non-diesel option with Jaguar Land Rover’s efficient 300 horsepower four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine, which has CO2 emissions from 222g/km.
New technologies include an interactive driver display instrument cluster with state-of-the-art high-resolution graphics that create the impression of 3D surfaces. It allows the driver to personalise the visual display around the two main dials.
There is also a Touch Pro infotainment with a 10-inch touchscreen on the centre console, 4G wi-fi providing for up to eight mobile devices on the move, upgraded head-up display technology, and an improved interior air quality thanks to a ‘Cabin Air Ionisation’ system.
For families making more conventional outings, the Discovery’s camera-assisted ‘Advanced Tow Assist’ males reversing much easier.
Trajectory lines are projected onto the image on the central touch-screen which is provided by the rear camera feed. This allows the driver to ‘steer’ the vehicle using a rotary dial controller on the centre console.
The system calculates the steering inputs required by the vehicle.
- Daily Mail