New Range Rover Sport unveiled being driven up a dam in Iceland


It’s certainly a dramatic way to make a big splash. But so confident was Land Rover about the off-roading prowess of its new third generation Range Rover Sport unveiled today that it got a James Bond stunt driver to drive one – against a torrential deluge of water – up the flooded overflow spillway of a major dam in Iceland.

The epic stunt to mark the global premiere of the new British-built luxury performance 4X4 took place at the Karahnjukar Dam where the downward flow of released water rages at 750 tonnes per minute down the final 294 metre stretch which rises at 40 degrees as it climbs 193 metres in height.

It was carried out by 007 stunt driver Jessica Hawkins whose feat was designed to highlight the impressive dynamic and off-road capability of the upmarket SUV and was the climax of an adventurous trek across the island’s volcanic landscape negotiating a series of rock-climbs and flooded tunnels.

Not your usual school run: Land Rover has unveiled its new third-generation Range Rover Sport by showcasing it being driven up a dam in Iceland

Thankfully the new Range Rover Sport – the sportier and more aerodynamic sibling of the new Range Rover – has a wading depth of up to 900mm so was not totally engulfed.

Priced from £79,125, the Sport goes on sale now with a range of petrol-electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV), petrol and diesel engines, with first deliveries from September. 

A pure electric zero-emissions variant is to be launched within two years in 2024, hot on the heels of the bigger Range Rover.

Land Rover said: ‘The epic ascent saw the new Range Rover Sport resist the surging torrent of water flowing down the ramp of the Karahnjukar Dam – the biggest of its kind in the world – at a rate of 750 tonnes per minute.

‘A loss of traction risked plunging down the perilous 90-metre drop at the base of the spillway to the valley floor below.’

The film of the successful ascent was screened at Jaguar Land Rover’s advanced engineering and design centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire for the cars official unveiling – and released globally online.

It’s the latest in a line of crazy stunts carried out by JLR to mark the arrival of a new motor. 

Previous examples include marking 45 years of the Range Rover in 2015 by driving one over a bridge of paper in China and, in 2016, the car maker using the then-new Land Rover Discovery Sport to tow a train across a river in Switzerland. 

The Karahnjukar Dam is  the biggest of its kind in the world, and released water at a rate of 750 tonnes per minute

The Karahnjukar Dam is  the biggest of its kind in the world, and released water at a rate of 750 tonnes per minute

Land Rover is known for launching its cars with crazy stunts...

Land Rover is known for launching its cars with crazy stunts…

Previous launch stunts include the previous-generation Range Rover being driven over a bridge of paper in China in 2015

In 2016, the car maker used the then-new Land Rover Discovery Sport to tow a train across a river in Switzerland

Previous launch stunts include the previous-generation Range Rover being driven over a bridge of paper in China in 2015 (left). And in 2016, the car maker used the then-new Land Rover Discovery Sport to tow a train across a river in Switzerland (right) 

The ascent up the dam was the climax of an adventurous trek across the island’s volcanic landscape negotiating a series of rock-climbs and flooded tunnels

The ascent up the dam was the climax of an adventurous trek across the island’s volcanic landscape negotiating a series of rock-climbs and flooded tunnels

Some 750,000 tonnes of water runs down the final 294 metre stretch of the dam, which rises at 40 degrees as it climbs 193 metres in height

Some 750,000 tonnes of water runs down the final 294 metre stretch of the dam, which rises at 40 degrees as it climbs 193 metres in height

Stunt driver Jessica Hawkins, who worked on Bond movie No Time to Die starring Daniel Craig, said: ’The power of the water surging down the spillway was breath-taking from the side of the valley.

‘Driving into it, knowing that a 90 metre drop was waiting for me at the bottom of the slope if things went wrong, made this the most challenging drive I’ve ever undertaken.’

She added: ‘Despite the sheer slope and rushing water, the new Range River Sport made it look easy. Its traction, composure and commanding visibility inspired so much confidence I was able to enjoy the while experience.’

The incredible feat was carried out by 007 stunt driver Jessica Hawkins. The dangerous stunt is designed to highlight the impressive dynamic and off-road capability of the upmarket SUV

The incredible feat was carried out by 007 stunt driver Jessica Hawkins. The dangerous stunt is designed to highlight the impressive dynamic and off-road capability of the upmarket SUV

Hawkins, who worked on Bond movie No Time to Die starring Daniel Craig said it was the most challenging drive she's ever undertaken

Hawkins, who worked on Bond movie No Time to Die starring Daniel Craig said it was the most challenging drive she’s ever undertaken

Priced from £79,125, the new Range Rover Sport goes on sale now with a range of petrol-electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV), petrol and diesel engines, with first deliveries from September

Priced from £79,125, the new Range Rover Sport goes on sale now with a range of petrol-electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV), petrol and diesel engines, with first deliveries from September

Although the new Range Rover Sport’s design is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, it promises an improved driving performance

Although the new Range Rover Sport’s design is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, it promises an improved driving performance

The choice of petrol versions include a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that produces 530 horsepower and can accelerate from zero to 62mph in 4.5 seconds and to a top speed of 155mph

The choice of petrol versions include a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that produces 530 horsepower and can accelerate from zero to 62mph in 4.5 seconds and to a top speed of 155mph

It is the third generation of the Range Rover Sport, first launched 17 years ago in 2005.

A range of powertrains are available at launch for the new version, all with 8-speed automatic gearboxes.

Two are plug-in hybrids, both combining a 3.0-litre six cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and can cruise at up to 87mph in EV mode, produce low combined CO2 emissions of 18g/km, have an official electric-only driving range of 70 miles and a ‘real-world’ range of 54 miles, and a total driving range on a full tank of 460 miles. 

These will be priced from £83,330 to £107,400 for the P440e and P510e respectively. 

The choice of petrol versions include a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that produces 530 horsepower and can accelerate from zero to 62mph in 4.5 seconds and to a top speed of 155mph. This will be the engine fitted to the fully-specced ‘First Edition’ vehicles, which will the most expensive at launch costing a cool £114,990.

A more sedate 400 horsepower 3.0-litre six-cylinder ‘mild hybrid’ petrol – costing from £86,195 – will also be available.

The two diesels available at launch are both 3.0-litre six-cylinder mild hybrids, with the D300 being the lowest price on sale at £79,125 – the more potent D350 will cost from £98.045.

Both diesels manage to 38.3mpg fuel economy with CO2 emissions of 194g and 195g/km respectively.

The film of the successful ascent was screened at Jaguar Land Rover’s advanced engineering and design centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire for the cars official unveiling - and released globally online

The film of the successful ascent was screened at Jaguar Land Rover’s advanced engineering and design centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire for the cars official unveiling – and released globally online

The Kárahnjúkar Dam is the largest of its type in Europe, standing 193 metres (633 ft) tall with a length of 730 metres (2,400 ft) and comprising 8.5 million cubic metres of material

The Kárahnjúkar Dam is the largest of its type in Europe, standing 193 metres (633 ft) tall with a length of 730 metres (2,400 ft) and comprising 8.5 million cubic metres of material

The dam is part of the Fljótsdalur Power Station - a hydroelectric power plant in in eastern Iceland designed to produce 4,600 gigawatt-hour

The dam is part of the Fljótsdalur Power Station – a hydroelectric power plant in in eastern Iceland designed to produce 4,600 gigawatt-hour

The tough terrain was chosen to display the incredible off-road capabilities of the new 4X4, which in Britain will most likely be used for the school run rather than a dash up a dam

The tough terrain was chosen to display the incredible off-road capabilities of the new 4X4, which in Britain will most likely be used for the school run rather than a dash up a dam

Although the new Range Rover Sport’s design is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, it promises an improved driving performance.

It comes with dynamic air suspension with switchable volume air springs – a Range Rover first – and twin valve active dampers to improve agility, control and driving composure. A Stormer Handling Pack includes all-wheel steering, an electronic active differential, and enhanced dynamic response.

Inside the luxurious interior is a 13.1-inch curved floating Pivi Pro touchscreen with a 13.7-inch driver display, plus the Amazon Alexa voice recognition system.

The shortened and sportier version of the new Range Rover will be supremely popular following the success of previous-generations

The shortened and sportier version of the new Range Rover will be supremely popular following the success of previous-generations 

Active noise cancellation filters out unwanted exterior noise on the move to make this the most cossetting Range Rover Sport yet

Active noise cancellation filters out unwanted exterior noise on the move to make this the most cossetting Range Rover Sport yet

For practicality, it has an 835-litre boot and enhanced stowage that includes a refrigerator compartment that can hold four 500ml bottles

For practicality, it has an 835-litre boot and enhanced stowage that includes a refrigerator compartment that can hold four 500ml bottles

It offers the driver a commanding view, has sculpted seats with 22-way adjustments and massage functions, an advanced cabin air purification system, and a high-end 29-speaker Meridian Signature Sound system. 

Active noise cancellation filters out unwanted exterior noise on the move to make this the most cossetting Range Rover Sport yet. 

For practicality, it has an 835-litre boot and enhanced stowage that includes a refrigerator compartment that can hold four 500ml bottles.

There’s advanced connectivity including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a variety of electronic driver safety and assistance systems including parking.

Jaguar Land Rover’s executive director of vehicle programmes Nick Collins said the new 4X4’s chassis and suspension had been engineered to deliver the most dynamic drive to date: ‘The result is the most engaging and thrilling Range Rover Sport ever.’

Bosses at JLR say the new 4X4’s chassis and suspension had been engineered to deliver the most dynamic drive to date

Bosses at JLR say the new 4X4’s chassis and suspension had been engineered to deliver the most dynamic drive to date

Inside the luxurious interior is a 13.1-inch curved floating Pivi Pro touchscreen with a 13.7-inch driver display, plus the Amazon Alexa voice recognition system

Inside the luxurious interior is a 13.1-inch curved floating Pivi Pro touchscreen with a 13.7-inch driver display, plus the Amazon Alexa voice recognition system

The styling is certainly more evolutionary than revolutionary, with a new headlight and grille design to give a sleeker look

The styling is certainly more evolutionary than revolutionary, with a new headlight and grille design to give a sleeker look

A range of powertrains are available at launch for the new version, all with 8-speed automatic gearboxes. Two are plug-in hybrids, both combining a 3.0-litre six cylinder petrol engine with an electric moto

A range of powertrains are available at launch for the new version, all with 8-speed automatic gearboxes. Two are plug-in hybrids, both combining a 3.0-litre six cylinder petrol engine with an electric moto

Will it fit in my garage: New 3rd-gen Range Rover Sport 

Built: Solihull, England

Priced from: £79,125 to £114,990

Engine variants: Petrol-electric plug in hybrids, V8 petrol, mild-hybrid and mild-hybrid diesel engine. All electric model due to go on sale from 2024

Turning circle: 10.95m

Wading depth: 900mm

Max ground clearance: 281mm (Plug-in Hybrid PHEV: 274mm)

Dimensions 

Length: 4,946mm

Width (inc mirrors): 2,209mm

Height: 1,820mm

Wheelbase: 2,997mm

Boot capacity: 835 litres

Weight (unladen): 2,505kg

Gross weight: 3,220kg

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