We’re used to seeing luxury SUVs negotiating tricky off-road terrain, from deep sand and muddy farms to Arctic ice tracks, but we reckon this Range Rover challenge might be the most unusual yet: a hand-built bridge made of paper, spanning five metres without glue or bolts to hold it in place.
Commissioned by Land Rover to mark Range Rover’s 45th anniversary, ahead of the Guangzhou Motor Show in China, the paper bridge, which was designed by British artist Steve Messam, took three days to construct in the ancient water city of Suzhou. The unique crossing was made of paper supplied by specialist British manufacturer, James Cropper PLC.
Land Rover Experience Chief Instructor Chris Zhou was entrusted with negotiating the paper bridge, using a variety of all-terrain technologies, including Terrain Response 2 and All-Terrain Progress Control, which allows drivers to concentrate on steering the vehicle when negotiating difficult or slippery terrain by maintaining a set speed ranging from 1mph to 19mph without any pedal inputs. The intelligent technology enhances all-terrain capability and can be activated on the move or from a standstill, to help when pulling away on tricky surfaces, and even works in reverse gear.
Nick Rogers, Director Group Engineering Jaguar Land Rover, said: “China is a hugely important market for Range Rover, so we have picked the perfect place to celebrate 45 years of our luxury SUV family. Range Rover’s advanced lightweight body and peerless all-terrain capability were crucial factors in making this unique drive possible.”
British artist and paper bridge designer Steve Messam said: “Paper structures capable of supporting people have been built before but nothing on this scale has ever been attempted. It’s pushing engineering boundaries, just like the Range Rover, and the ease and composure with which the vehicle negotiated the arch was genuinely breathtaking.”