Watch: Range Rover's hybrid SUV becomes the first vehicle to scale Heaven's Gate

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Ascending the steps built into the Heaven’s Gate natural rock arch that sits atop China’s Tianmen mountain is no easy task. Not only are there 999 of them, but they’re also placed at a steep 45-degree angle. Which makes the fact that a car just traveled all the way up the incline pretty impressive.

The Range Rover Sport PHEV has just become the first vehicle ever to achieve this feat. Before the hybrid SUV even reached Heaven's Gate, it had to contend with the treacherous, seven-mile ‘Dragon’s Road’ that leads to the steps.

The road gets its name from the way it wraps around the mountain like a "white dragon." It contains 99 sharp turns and cliffs with vertical walls.

No modifications were made to the Range Rover, which was controlled by formula E driver Ho-Pin Tung, of Panasonic Jaguar Racing. Tung said this was one of the most demanding challenges he’s ever faced.

“The Range Rover Sport PHEV performed brilliantly as it inspired real confidence on the mountain road and climbed the stairs up to Heaven’s Gate effortlessly,” Tung explained.

The SUV used its Terrain Response 2 system to complete the run. Range Rover says the feature adjusts the vehicle to engage the optimum settings for any given driving conditions, based on information provided by the driver.

The Range Rover Sport PHEV combines a four-cylinder engine and an 85kW electric motor. It boasts 398 bhp and 640Nm of torque, a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds, and a top speed of 137 mph. Judging from this test, it also appears to be pretty good at climbing mountains and steep steps.

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Alex Voinica

TS Booster
Advertising at it's best.
But I would still buy a Mercedes G Class made before 1990 for off-road. That is an example of brute force , not this spaceship filled with electronics.
 
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Humza

TechSpot Staff
Staff member
Imagine he forgot to put on his handbrake at the top...would that make it two feats?
 

VitalyT

Russ-Puss
TechSpot Elite
The descent would be embarrassingly slow, on ropes, for the big red brick that it is, that's why they didn't show it.
 

Alex Voinica

TS Booster
The descent would be embarrassingly slow, on ropes, for the big red brick that it is, that's why they didn't show it.
What they forgot to mention is that after the climb, the car was dismantled and thrown away becaused it was too damaged to be used.
I bet an old off-road car can do the climb without any ropes and electronically assisted stuff. Cars are getting smarter and people dumber, just like smartphones.
 

VitalyT

Russ-Puss
TechSpot Elite
I agree with Alex Voinica, it is not a real climb, if they have to throw the car away right after.
 

Adhmuz

TechSpot Paladin
What they forgot to mention is that after the climb, the car was dismantled and thrown away becaused it was too damaged to be used.
Can you link to where you found this information please, no where can I find such information about what damage the vehicle had after the climb and what was done with it after the climb was completed.

I bet an old off-road car can do the climb without any ropes and electronically assisted stuff. Cars are getting smarter and people dumber, just like smartphones.
Perhaps an older 4x4 could do the climb, or other modern SUVs, but could they do it as quickly as the RR did it? Also those ropes are there as a safety precaution in case it lost traction and rolled backwards, they do not help with the climb in any way, you'd have to be a complete ***** to attempt this climb at the speed it was done without something to save you from rolling back down the mountain which would almost certainly kill the driver.

So again, please link to where you found your information regarding the damage sustained to the vehicle and what was done to get it back down the mountain after the climb was done.
 
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Adhmuz

TechSpot Paladin
Advertising at it's best.
But I would still buy a Mercedes G Class made before 1990 for off-road. That is an example of brute force , not this spaceship filled with electronics.
A Humvee could do it even easier with its longer wheelbase, better ground clearance and lower center of gravity, but also not nearly as fast as the RR did it. I think that would be a better example of brute force.
 

Vulcanproject

TS Evangelist
Lots of people unappreciative of just how good a Range Rover is at this sort of off roading. You might drive around in your comedy SUV cars-on-stilts and think it's an off roader, or that under powered, unrefined old claptrap would 'easily' make the ascent and match a Range Rover's ability but neither is true.

A Range Rover is still a proper off roader, just dressed in a suit and bow tie holding a martini. It beats everything in this same class BMW or Mercedes or Audi or whoever comes up with when it comes to genuine off road ability.

Drive one off road for yourself and you'll know.
 

Alex Voinica

TS Booster
Can you link to where you found this information please, no where can I find such information about what damage the vehicle had after the climb and what was done with it after the climb was completed.



Perhaps an older 4x4 could do the climb, or other modern SUVs, but could they do it as quickly as the RR did it? Also those ropes are there as a safety precaution in case it lost traction and rolled backwards, they do not help with the climb in any way, you'd have to be a complete ***** to attempt this climb at the speed it was done without something to save you from rolling back down the mountain which would almost certainly kill the driver.

So again, please link to where you found your information regarding the damage sustained to the vehicle and what was done to get it back down the mountain after the climb was done.

Well, I can't believe you took it that serious ! First of all, the car was not designed to climb those stairs so just try and imagine all that shock and stress sustained by its suspension and transmission for 999 stairs. That damage perhaps occurs after 100.000 km driven on paved road.
This was done just to show off and pure marketing because most of people are easy to impress and believe everything they see.
It went fast because it had those security lines - how fast would it go without it I wonder ? Not that fast for sure, maybe slower than an old 4x4 vehicle which was designed to reach the impossible and required the driver to have patience and precision: this can go fast, but others can go anywhere - that is the difference.
Your only argument in saving this RR is that it went up those stairs fast with security lines - if they were that sure that their marvelous car is that good - they would have risked it - but they did not.

They wanted to point out that RR is a very good off-road vehicle ( which is partially correct as the older models are used in competitions due to their durability and fiability ) , well imagine that you are around 50 km away from any kind of roads - deep into the jungle/forest/etc and for sure something electric will fail - because we are talking about extreme driving - what they wre trying to point out. What will the car do ? It will stop and it will need special assistance to make it work again ! A real off-road car from the 90s can be fixed in the middle of the jungle without issues - you just need to be a good mechanic, have some skills. The level of discomfort when your expensive SUV can't be used in the middle of the nature and it needs to be towed somewhere to safety will sure be embarrassing.
Have you ever watched a 4x4 competition ? Have you seen that the average age of a car there is at least 15 years old ? You know why ? Because electronic parts fail more often than steel ! Those who do off-road know that !
This RR is a car for normal roads and unpaved roads - but it is not what they advertised it to be, that is what concerns me ! False advertising !
I have a Suzuki Samurai from 1988 and people laugh at it being small and so on, but when they got stuck with their Touaregs and Mitsubishi L200 in the mud, I just mind my journey.

What I want to point out is that the only reliable off-road cars that are being produced today are the Mercedes G-Class - even though it started being full of electronics, the Land Rover Defender and Jeep Wrangler. And if you want real off-road vehicle you have to choose something from 1970-1995 at maximum.
Why do you think a Mercedes G Class from 1995 is around 15.000 euros on sale ? Because it has won its name as a reliable and durable vehicle. That kind of vehicles are not made today anymore.

And this is a real-life example :

https://www.autoblog.com/2014/10/16/german-man-drives-mercedes-g-wagen-on-557k-mile-26-year-road-tr/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/2014/newsspec_8703/index.html

This is what the old-man said :
In a modern car, he insists, this would not have been the case, for one reason – computers. Otto was built in 1988, a couple of years before cars started going electronic.

“Otto is nothing but nuts and bolts that means I can unscrew the nuts and pull out bolts to repair anything that comes up myself,” he said in 2013. “In any modern car you cannot touch the brakes because it’s all electronically controlled.”

As for the Hummer - the H1 was a hit - I can agree , but H2 is just a big bull that has no purpose.
 

Adhmuz

TechSpot Paladin
Well, I can't believe you took it that serious ! First of all, the car was not designed to climb those stairs so just try and imagine all that shock and stress sustained by its suspension and transmission for 999 stairs. That damage perhaps occurs after 100.000 km driven on paved road.
This was done just to show off and pure marketing because most of people are easy to impress and believe everything they see.
It went fast because it had those security lines - how fast would it go without it I wonder ? Not that fast for sure, maybe slower than an old 4x4 vehicle which was designed to reach the impossible and required the driver to have patience and precision: this can go fast, but others can go anywhere - that is the difference.
Your only argument in saving this RR is that it went up those stairs fast with security lines - if they were that sure that their marvelous car is that good - they would have risked it - but they did not.

They wanted to point out that RR is a very good off-road vehicle ( which is partially correct as the older models are used in competitions due to their durability and fiability ) , well imagine that you are around 50 km away from any kind of roads - deep into the jungle/forest/etc and for sure something electric will fail - because we are talking about extreme driving - what they wre trying to point out. What will the car do ? It will stop and it will need special assistance to make it work again ! A real off-road car from the 90s can be fixed in the middle of the jungle without issues - you just need to be a good mechanic, have some skills. The level of discomfort when your expensive SUV can't be used in the middle of the nature and it needs to be towed somewhere to safety will sure be embarrassing.
Have you ever watched a 4x4 competition ? Have you seen that the average age of a car there is at least 15 years old ? You know why ? Because electronic parts fail more often than steel ! Those who do off-road know that !
This RR is a car for normal roads and unpaved roads - but it is not what they advertised it to be, that is what concerns me ! False advertising !
I have a Suzuki Samurai from 1988 and people laugh at it being small and so on, but when they got stuck with their Touaregs and Mitsubishi L200 in the mud, I just mind my journey.

What I want to point out is that the only reliable off-road cars that are being produced today are the Mercedes G-Class - even though it started being full of electronics, the Land Rover Defender and Jeep Wrangler. And if you want real off-road vehicle you have to choose something from 1970-1995 at maximum.
Why do you think a Mercedes G Class from 1995 is around 15.000 euros on sale ? Because it has won its name as a reliable and durable vehicle. That kind of vehicles are not made today anymore.

And this is a real-life example :

https://www.autoblog.com/2014/10/16/german-man-drives-mercedes-g-wagen-on-557k-mile-26-year-road-tr/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/2014/newsspec_8703/index.html

This is what the old-man said :
In a modern car, he insists, this would not have been the case, for one reason – computers. Otto was built in 1988, a couple of years before cars started going electronic.

“Otto is nothing but nuts and bolts that means I can unscrew the nuts and pull out bolts to repair anything that comes up myself,” he said in 2013. “In any modern car you cannot touch the brakes because it’s all electronically controlled.”

As for the Hummer - the H1 was a hit - I can agree , but H2 is just a big bull that has no purpose.
So you base your assumptions (something you make a lot of in your comments) on pure speculation that modern vehicles are not built like they use to be because of computers and electronics, that's what I thought. I'm sorry but you can't just bash on a modern vehicle because you "think" it won't be reliable, or because older 4x4s had no electronics that could fail thus they are automatically better. Don't get me wrong, I had an early 90s 4x4 with manual 4x4 high and low, manual transmission and loved it, and wouldn't take the modern rendition of said vehicle over it any day of the week, and the same can be said for most, not all, modern 4x4s. A lot of the new era SUVs that are masqueraded as 4x4s aren't worth crap and likely will not be as good as their older counter parts. However one company that still makes real proper 4x4s is Range Rover, they are currently one of the best you can buy, they just also make them as a luxury vehicle to remain competitive in the industry. I certainly would not compare a RR to a pos Touareg nor a L200 for that matter or anything after the H1 (notice how I said Humvee in my post and not H2, everyone knows the H2 and H3 are just awful)

I hate to break it to you, but your beloved G Class is not known for it's modern day reliability either, heck it's not a great vehicle in general besides having a good 4x4 system and even Mercedes has finally decided to overhaul it and do away with the solid front axle for a more modern independent suspension setup because of how terrible the thing handles on road which is what most buyers actually use it for. Don't take my word for it, there are plenty of reviews out there that point out all the short comings that thing has. Why do you think Mercedes themselves only give it a 4 year warranty?

https://jalopnik.com/this-brand-new-136-625-mercedes-might-be-the-worst-thi-1616856560
https://dougdemuro.kinja.com/a-comparison-used-mercedes-g-wagen-vs-used-range-rove-1498103834
https://www.consumerreports.org/cars/mercedes-benz/g-class/2017/overview
https://www.caranddriver.com/mercedes-benz/g-class

Oh right, NO vehicle is specifically designed to climb stairs...
 
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senketsu

I'm still saving for a vintage Lada...

A man goes into a service-station and asks: 'Can I have a windscreen-wiper for my Lada?'
'Okay' replied the man in the garage. 'It seems a fair swap'.

How do you double the value of a Lada?
Fill the gas tank.

What's the difference between a Jehovah's Witness and a Lada?
You can shut the door on a Jehovah's Witness.