How’s this for pulling power? A standard Land Rover Discovery has just hauled a 110-tonne road train 16km down an Outback road in what Land Rover are calling the “ultimate towing test”.
In a stunt to promote the 2018 Discovery, a Td6 model was hitched up to the seven-trailer, 100-metre long haulage unit and successfully pulled it along Australia’s Lasseter Highway.
With 443lb/ft of torque the Discovery has a maximum certified towing capacity of 3,500kg on public roads but in the spirit of previous Discovery towing challenges Land Rover decided to see just how much it could really tow.
The combined weight of the trailers plus their regular 12-tonne tractor unit was 100 tonnes and an extra 10 tonnes of ballast was added, just to really test things.
Road trains of up to four trailers are only permitted in Australia’s vast Outback regions and typically carry fuel, mineral ore and cattle between remote rural communities. Strict regulations limit their length to 53.5m so Land Rover obtained special permission to pull the seven trailers.
John Bilato, managing director of haulage specialist G&S Transport, took the wheel for the epic pull. He 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.”
The latest test follows on from similar, if less extreme, challenges taken on by previous generations of the Discovery. 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 over a bridge 85ft above the Rhine River.
Quentin Spottiswoode, Land Rover product engineer, 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 here. 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 44km/h along its 16km route.”
The Discovery used a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive system and was hooked up to the road train using a factory-fitted tow bar attachment.