Like him or not for what he did with the myth of the Stig on BBC’s Top Gear Ben Collins can undoubtedly drive and drive very well. Having competed in Formula 3, sports cars, Indy Lights, Le Mans 24 hour. Ben found himself the centre of attention as the helmeted “Stig” alongside Jeremey Clarkson & Co when in 2010 he revealed the Stig’s
Offering his services to film and TV including stunts on James Bond, Ben found himself the centre of attention as the helmeted “Stig” alongside Jeremy Clarkson & Co when in 2010 he revealed the Stig’s identity much to the condemnation of Top Gear fans.
Ben’s latest project has been working with Land Rover promoting, the Range Rover Sport in their new advert, and not just any advert, the scene was Mürren Switzerland and the track the infamous downhill known as the “inforno” nearly 10 miles long it is the longest amateur ski race in the world.
After the 9744 feet decent, hitting speeds of 98 mph Ben said:
“This was genuinely one of the hardest tests I’ve faced in my driving career. The route was insane and certainly the toughest course I’ve ever completed. It challenged you with every kind of obstacle this side of molten lava and as conditions go, it was about as bad as it gets – torrential weather mixed with cliffs, trees, all kinds of stuff you don’t really want to crash into.
The key to the run was precision: being able to maintain speed and carry that speed down the hill in the way the skiers can do, carving through the turns.”
The Range Rover was first introduced to the world in 1970 as a premium luxury version of the Industrial Land Rover. The Range Rover quickly rose to a dominant position in the luxury auto market that wasn’t seriously challenged until the 1997 launch of the M-Class by Mercedes. Though the original Range Rover was produced with relatively minor alterations for over two decades, it has gone through some distinct upgrades. The Range Rover is now in its fourth generation with the Vogue, which was first sold in 2012.
The Vogue comes in either standard or long wheelbases (SWB or LWB), with the long wheelbase only being available on higher-end models. The Vogue is the entry-level trim package; upgrades go through the Vogue SE, the Autobiography, and the SVAutobiography trims. The SVAutobiography package features the same engine as the Autobiography but carries a much higher price due to its premium luxury refinements.
In the high-end models, power is delivered by a supercharged 5-litre V8 petrol engine from Jaguar Land Rover this is the same motor used in the Jaguar F-Type R and the Range Rover Sports SVR. Due to the size of the SVAutobiography, though, the supercharged engine delivers the same performance as a regular 5-litre engine in lighter models. All of the cars in the Vogue range feature eight-speed automatic transmission and permanent four-wheel drive.
JLR considers the Range Rover Vogue to be its flagship vehicle, and this is reflected both in the cars’ high prices and their comprehensive luxury fittings and equipment. The Vogue sits at the top of the three-model line currently offered by Range Rover above the Evoque and Sports brands. Top-of-the-line Sports models approach the Vogue in size, price, and quality.
Matching continental competitors in delivering luxury refinements has never been a problem for the Range Rover. What serves as a permanent distinction setting it above its rivals is its incredible towing power and off-road capabilities.
By switching to an all-aluminum body, this new Range Rover weighs in 420kg lighter than the previous model, delivering improved performance and agility. Despite trimming the design down, JLR is still left with a vehicle that’s indisputably slower and heavier than its German counterparts as well as Bentley’s Bentayga.
Careful engineering ensures that the Range Rover still offers a terrific driving experience and exceptional handling for a vehicle of its size. The entry-level model equipped with a 3-litre 256bhp diesel V6 still delivers a top speed of 130mph and a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds.
Things change significantly at the high end of the line. The Rover’s beastly V8 petrol engine can propel the car up to 60mph from a standing start in just 5.1 seconds. If handling is your absolute top priority, the new Q7 remains the best choice in the luxury SUV market. It hardly holds a candle to the Range Rover regarding ride quality and comfort, though.
The eight-speed automatic transmission delivers a smooth, relaxed driving experience across the whole model range, and conditions inside the luxurious cabin of a Range Rover are quiet and refined no matter what engine is under the bonnet.
The ride is smoothed even more by the air suspension and adaptive damping systems, capable of handling all but the largest of potholes. The long wheelbase option delivers even greater comfort for demanding drivers and passengers.
First offered in 2006, the Range Rover Sport from Land Rover had a complete overhaul in 2014. Now it features an aluminium shell and a shorter, sportier shape that brings it close in line with the next-higher model in the range, the full-sized Range Rover. 2016 delivers two new power options, one designed for economy and the other well, not!
Today’s Range Rover Sport is a far nimbler and lighter vehicle than the 2006 original. Careful engineering and crafty materials science are behind this transformation. The Sport is now crafted from a glued, and riveted aluminium instead of steel (just like the Range Rover), and Land Rover say this trims 800 pounds off the car’s kerb weight.
This year introduces the HST model, showing off both a unique trim package and a unique drivetrain. Dark tint has crept into the front and rear lamps as well as the vents in the roof and fenders; there’s a new spoiler on the tailgate, and bright red brake callipers lurk inside the chunky 21-inch wheels. The new model is badged with red “HST” flashes inside and out. The cabin features trim in ebony and aluminium, metal shifters and pedals, and contrasting leather upholstery.
The base engine returns from the 2015 model – a very respectable 3-liter V6 that delivers 340 horsepower and a distinctive snarl. It can take the car up to 60 mph in under seven seconds, and it’s tied into an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. For those who crave more power, there are two supercharged V8 options available. The first delivers an already-impressive 510 hp; the SVR version bumps that up to a staggering 550 hp that comes along with premium mechanical systems.
The new options for 2016 include a supercharged V6 developing 380 hp for the HST. That’s 40 more hp than the base engine, putting the Sport into the same range as the F-Type sports car. The HST also features customised brakes and suspension tuning along with a Torsen centre differential. It’s all tied together by a dynamic management setting to maximise the vehicle’s performance under all conditions.
The Sport is now also available with a turbodiesel V6. This engine offers 440 lb-ft of torque, 254 hp, and a 0-60 time that matches the base supercharged V6. It’s a quiet and refined experience behind the wheel, and it delivers outstanding fuel economy. (22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, 25 mpg average) For a Sports driver looking to pay less at the pump, this is an obvious must-have.
It’s clear throughout the model range that the Sport’s name is a well-chosen one. Where the larger Range Rover specialises in comfort and luxury, the same variable-ratio steering system and air dampers are tuned for faster responses and tighter handling in the Sport. This Range Rover is finally approaching the kind of performance statistics posted by German super-utes. With the SVR, Range Rover takes several long strides deeper into the sporting territory. The SVR features a firm suspension, an upgraded chassis, and 21-inch wheels and tires designed for cannonball SUV performance.
The Range Rover Sport hasn’t left the brand’s core mission behind, though. With the Torsen FWD setup or the more advanced active rear differential on the two-speed version, the Sport is capable of generating tremendous traction in off-road conditions. The two-speed FWD system comes standard on all V8 models; on V6 versions it’s an optional extra. The new Sport rides higher than ever, with a ground clearance that rivals the full-sized Range Rover, even the performance-minded SVR is still more than capable of leaving the pavement behind. It has the same low-range transfer case and Terrain Response system, but the drivetrain has been beefed up to make sure that all of the SVR’s power and torque gets used efficiently.
The Range Rover Sport comes in several different trim levels. It starts with the base SE and the upgraded HSE, each of which come with a supercharged V6. Next in line is the Supercharged with the V8 engine and the Autobiography, which gets the same engine plus numerous luxury upgrades. At the top of the line stands the SVR with the 550 hp V8 and its performance-tune chassis.
The EPA mileage ratings for the new Sport are significantly improved over previous models. The V6 models get 17 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and 19 mpg average. The V8 models (minus the SVR) deliver 14/19/16 mpg.