Listen to this article

The recently revealed Range Rover Sport PHEV claims to boost the SUV’s green credentials without denting its all terrain ability. To prove it means business the brand sent the car to China to tackle the famed Dragon Road and a set of stairs.

The Dragon Road runs up the Tianmen Mountain and consists of 99 challenging corners over seven miles. It ends at the foot of a landmark called Heaven’s Gate, but in order to get to "heaven" you’ll need to tackle 999 steps set at a 45 degree angle.

Also check out:

Range Rover Sport PHEV Heaven's Gate
Range Rover Sport PHEV Heaven's Gate
Range Rover Sport PHEV Heaven's Gate

Jaguar Formula-E reserve driver and Le Mans class winner, Ho-Pin Tung, piloted the Range Rover up the mountain road making full use of the SUV’s Ingenium petrol engine and electric motor. Combined the car churns out 398 horsepower and 472 pound-feet (640 Newton-meters) of torque, enough to get it from 0-60 mph (0-96 kph) in 6.3 seconds.

When presented with the stairway Ho-Pin put the Range Rover’s Terrain Response system which optimises performance for each wheel individually. This advanced all-wheel drive system has been tested in deserts, swamps and in arctic blizzards — it made short work of the stairs. “I’ve experienced Formula E, Formula 1 and won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but this was without doubt one of the most demanding driving challenges I’ve ever faced. The Range Rover Sport PHEV performed brilliantly” said Ho-Pin.

Range Rover Sport PHEV Heaven's Gate
Range Rover Sport PHEV Heaven's Gate

In a more everyday environment, the Sport PHEV P400e can run in a pure-electric mode for 31 miles (50 kilometers). Charging this new breed of Range Rover via a Type 2 charger (on a typical 7-kW charge) will take 2 hours and 45 minutes.

The PHEV was introduced as part of the Range Rover Sport’s facelift and offers an estimated combined fuel economy of 84 miles per gallon.

Source: Land Rover

Gallery: Range Rover Sport PHEV Heaven's Gate

Hide press release Show press release


A dizzying 99 turns and 999 daunting steps didn’t stop the new Range Rover Sport PHEV from completing a world-first at one of China’s most famous landmarks. The petrol-electric performance SUV has become the first vehicle to climb the stairs to the natural rock arch of Heaven’s Gate

  • Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) performance SUV climbs towering 45-degree, 999-step staircase in world-first Dragon Road challenge
  • Range Rover Sport PHEV shows it’s dynamic breadth of capability on one of the world’s most challenging driving roads before tackling the epic climb to Heaven’s Gate rock arch in China
  • 404PS Range Rover Sport combines Ingenium petrol power with battery technology for supreme efficiency and performance – plus zero-emissions capability
  • P400e model was piloted by Le Mans class-winner and Panasonic Jaguar Racing reserve and test driver Ho-Pin Tung

The challenge began at the bottom of the legendary 11.3km Tianmen Mountain Road (known as the Dragon Road).  The showroom standard Range Rover Sport P400e took on the demanding course, with Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Ho-Pin Tung behind the wheel and the Terrain Response 2 system in Dynamic mode.

At the summit of the road, the Formula E driver optimised Terrain Response for the second part of the challenge, conquering the towering 45-degree staircase of 999 steps leading to China’s legendary Heaven’s Gate using a combination of Ingenium petrol and electric battery power.

The new PHEV powertrain gives the Range Rover Sport a zero-emission EV range of up to 50km when fully charged but Ho-Pin Tung used its advanced 300PS Ingenium petrol engine and 116PS electric motor to make short work of the road section of the challenge. The performance SUV then showed its uncompromised all-terrain credentials by climbing the steep staircase to the natural rock arch.

The Dragon Challenge is the latest in a series of adventures completed by the Range Rover Sport after the PHEV model made its debut in a race against two-time open-water swimming world champion Keri-anne Payne and endurance athlete Ross Edgley in Devon, UK.

Previous exploits include a record-setting hill-climb at Pikes Peak, USA, a record crossing of the ‘Empty Quarter’ desert in the Arabian Peninsula and a 2,170m descent of the legendary Inferno downhill course in Mürren, Switzerland.

Got a tip for us? Email: