The Discovery Sport was able to pull 60 times its own weight, when powered by Jaguar Land Rover’s 177bhp Ingenium diesel engine. In addition, the Discovery Sport benefitted from Land Rover’s portfolio of towing and traction technologies such as Terrain Response, Tow Assist, Tow Hitch Assist and All Terrain Progress Control – a semi-autonomous off-road driving system that automatically manages engine output and braking, to complete the tow.
The train-pulling feat was undertaken on six miles of track at the Museumsbahn Stein am Rhein in Switzerland, crossing the River Rhine on the dramatic Hemishofen bridge – a historic steel span measuring 935ft and 85ft above the valley floor. Land Rover has a history of rail conversions, from the days of the Series II and IIA Land Rover to the various Defender models that have been modified to run on rails for maintenance, and the notable launch of Discovery I in 1989. The latter saw a converted Discovery towing a series of carriages in Plymouth to demonstrate the capability of the then new 200Tdi diesel engine.
The vehicle’s drivetrain remained unchanged – the only modification being the fitment of rail wheels by specialists Aquarius Railroad Technologies, to act as ‘stabilisers’. Karl Richards, Lead Engineer for Stability Control Systems at Jaguar Land Rover, said: ‘Towing is in Land Rover’s DNA and, despite Discovery Sport being the smallest model in the range, it has proved its exceptional towing capabilities. Over the years, we have introduced towing technologies to take the stress out of towing for our customers. I’ve spent most of my career travelling to the most punishing parts of the world to test Land Rovers in gruelling conditions, yet this is the most extreme towing test I’ve ever done.’