The Land Rover Discovery has joined the select club of SUVs that prove their towing capability by pulling some huge rigs – this time the rig in question being a 110-tonne, seven trailer Road Train. The Discovery was equipped with the 258PS 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine and is usually rated for a towing capacity of 3,500kgs.
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. And the smoothness of the gearchanges under that amount of load was genuinely impressive. These road trains are the most efficient form of road haulage on the planet and using the Discovery made this the most economical of all.”
While road trains are usual in the Australian outback, where they haul supplies between distant towns and stations, they are limited to four trailers, so the experiment was indeed unusual. The seven trailer assembly along with the connected tractor unit was hauled over a route of 16km. 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 85ft above the Rhine River. We shouldn’t forget the Cayenne Turbo and Diesel versions towing an Air France Airbus 380 and the Nissan Patrol towing an IL76 at Sharjah as examples of SUV makers proving their mettle with record tows.
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. The road train itself was even carrying 10-tonnes of ballast in order to hit the magic 110-tonne weight mark.