DROPPING!

Ben Collins (aka. The Stig) has pulled off some impressive feats of wheelmanship over the years, but when he says “that’s hardest thing I’ve ever done”, after reaching the bottom of the Inferno Murren, I believe him.

Located in Murren, Switzerland, the course is intended to test the abilities of top alpine skiers, and has gotten the best of many of them over the years. Not all that surprising considering the wildly varying conditions from the top to bottom, and up to 75% gradients over the 9.25 mile length.

Often times these promotional stunt films fail to live up to their premise and I’m left wholly disappointed, but not only did Land Rover deliver a well made film, but one with substance to match. Watching a 510-hp SUV hurtle down a mountainside, and ultimately complete a 7,119 ft descent in 21 minutes,36 second left me as dumbstruck as some of the locals.

It’s not that I’m blown away that Collins made it down the mountain, after-all, this is The Stig we’re talking about here, and it is a Range Rover. What gets me is that he really went for it, reaching speeds of up to 75 mph in the top section that’s full of ice, snow, and rock, and 95 mph in the soggy grass at the bottom. Consider those speeds, the consequences of making a mistake in that environment, and the fact that this was done in a stock vehicle that anyone can purchase. Ridiculous.

This is where we’re at with automotive engineering, a Range Rover that can be raced down a Swiss mountainside with real urgency, hosed off, and then used to transport the ad-agency folks to their hotel. Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch, we all know the agency folks had a Autobiography LWB on hand to shuttle them around, but you get the point. The Range Rover Sport is a damned impressive machine and I can’t wait to see what they decide to do with it next.

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Andrew Maness is a creative type who is especially good with words, photography, and video. Not much of a painter though. Contact him at theroadlessdriven@gmail.com