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Motoring: The ultimate challenge.

Byline: Chris Russon

The ultimate in outdoor gear has been created by Land Rover in the shape of a range of expedition equipped off-road vehicles.

Inspired by the Land Rover G4 Challenge, which saw competitors from 16 nations travel the globe in what has been dubbed the greatest adventure event of its kind, the Solihull firm is producing special editions of its ultra-tough Defender and Discovery models.

Powered by 2.5 litre five cylinder diesel engines, the vehicles come ready to tackle the worst terrain imaginable anywhere on the planet.

And to prove the point Land Rover took its latest creations to the wilderness of northern Spain on a route that included sections where no motor vehicle had ever travelled.

Inch by inch along an old cart trail ravaged by a century of baking temperatures and flash floods that had carved out deep trenches and exposed mighty boulders, the convoy of G4 Edition Land Rovers took almost an hour to cover half a mile.

It was off-roading at its extreme with axle twisting and near 35 degree traverses that would have left almost any other vehicle broken in an instant.

This is where Land Rovers excel and the rugged G4 models are specifically cut out for the task.

Added protection around the windscreen, light guards front and rear and heavy duty wheel arches are designed to enable both the Defender and the Discovery to go where few would even dream of driving.

Adventure is the name of the game and just 900 of the special edition models will be produced at the Land Rover factory in Lode Lane for sale across the world.

With prices starting at pounds 24,350 for the Defender G4 and pounds 28,595 for the Discovery G4 -and that is towards the top of the price range for the normal versions -the vehicles are aimed at the serious outdoor enthusiast.

Distinguished from other Land Rovers by front wing G4 decals as well as special paint jobs that include the bright Tangiers orange as used on the Global Challenge vehicles, the range goes on sale on Monday.

Both models are upholstered in an easy clean durable black fabric, have a toughened grey finish to the dashboard and are shod with alloy wheels.

There are even a couple of creature comforts in the form of air conditioning and a CD player.

A locking centre differential is also fitted -as would be expected on any four wheel drive designed to take on the worst.

The Defender G4, available either as a short wheelbase 90 or long wheelbase 110, has additional body protection with an extra bar fitted across the top of the windscreen and special paint to shield the sills and wing tops. The Discovery G4 comes with thicker roof rails and lockable roof rack bars to enable extra equipment to be carried and is also fitted with self levelling suspension.

A direction indicator is built into the auto-dim rear view mirror and the vehicles are also fitted with cruise control for normalroad use. Automatic transmission -now becoming popular with keen off-roaders -is available as an option.

The Discovery also features Land Rover's hill descent control, which automatically brakes the vehicle on steep slopes, and an adjustable ride height which gives greater ground clearance over rough conditions.

Optional kit on the Discovery includes a tailgate mounted roof ladder and additional equipment such as tow hooks and winches are also available as are underbody protection strips and raised air intakes for deep-water wading.

And because of the expected nature of their use, both G4 models are equipped with full tool and first aid kits.

Indisputably these are heavyweight performers -specialist vehicles with awesome abilities which can be used to their full only by experts in the off-road world.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 29, 2003
Words:629
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