British premium SUV brand teams up with American icon on 6000km drive to one of highest points in Africa


Land Rover has marked the release of its new, range-topping luxury SUV by hitching one up to an iconic American Airstream caravan and hauling it from the UK to Morocco and back.

Describing it as “the ultimate road trip”, an Airstream 684 Series 2 travel trailer was towed behind the latest Range Rover Autobiography boasting a 250kW/700Nm 4.4-litre turbo-diesel V8 engine, eight speed automatic gearbox and class-leading 3500kg towing capacity.

Kicking off at Airstream’s European factory in the English Lake District, the journey concluded at the summit of Oukaïmeden, the highest ski resort in Africa.

Highlights en route included Frank Gehry's amazing aluminium Marques de Riscal building in the Spanish wine region of Rioja, the beach near Casablanca, the desert outside Chichaoua and the race track at Marrakesh, where Land Rover was based for the launch of the first major overhaul of the 42-year-old Range Rover in 10 years.

Driving up to 12 hours a day on every type of road imaginable – from the empty motorways of Spain to the precipitous hairpins of the High Atlas – team leader Ben Samuelson said the new Range Rover coped imperiously with the challenge of towing a 2399kg Airstream just shy of 6000km in 11 days.

The Range Rover’s Trailer Stability Assist and 700Nm of pulling power, also came to the fore while tackling some strong cross-winds and mountainous terrain.

"The new Range Rover's towing ability is nothing short of stunning,” Samuelson said. “It pulled the two and a half tonne Airstream like it simply wasn't there.”

Up to 420kg lighter than its predecessor, the all-aluminium, fourth-generation Range Rover will be priced from $168,900, when it goes on sale Down Under next month. Buyers will have the choice of three engines and four equipment grades.

Samuelson and his team were also impressed with the luxurious appointments of the just-released Airstream 684, which is similarly styled to the 762 Airstream model recently introduced to Australia, priced from $135,000.

"You can compare the Airstream to a boutique hotel - albeit a mobile one - and taking this combination of rig on your travels injects some serious style and comfort,” he said.

To comment on this article click here Published : Tuesday, 15 January 2013
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