Rangie, Airstream on 5-star road trip
MOTORING / 04 Jan '13, 11:47amBy: IOL Motoring Staff
There are road trips and there are road trips - but this one certainly set a new standard for sheer luxury, as event planner Ben Samuelson hitched an Airstream 684 aluminium 'travel trailer' (you can't just call it a caravan) to a new, 250kW Range Rover SDV8 and drove it from Airstream's European home in the English Lake District to the top of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and back.
The journey started at the factory in Tebay, just a few kilometres from the Scottish border, where Airstream finishes its European specification trailers and ended at Oukaïmeden, the highest ski resort in Africa.
The 250kW, 700Nm Range Rover SDV8 pulled the 2.4-tonne Airstream like it wasn't there.
Along the way Samuelson visited the Land Rover factory at Solihull, Frank Gehry's amazing aluminium Marques de Riscal building in the Spanish wine region of Rioja, the beach near Casablanca and the race track at Marrakesh, the base for the world launch of the new Range Rover.
The scheduling was tight - 5880km in 11 days, on every type of road you can imagine, from the empty freeways of Spain to the steep hairpins of the High Atlas mountains - and Samuelson often wound up spending 12 hours a day on the road, but the new Range Rover coped imperiously with the challenge.
He said: “The new Range Rover's towing ability is stunning: it pulled the two-and-a-half-tonne Airstream like it simply wasn't there. It didn't matter what we, or the weather, threw at it - it just did the job.
“Halfway through Spain, we ran into horrendous side winds, bad enough to tip an 18-wheeler on its side, but the Range Rover's trailer stability assist dealt with any sway in the trailer before it got started.
“And mountains - what mountains? With 700Nm from the new turbodiesel V8, we never even slowed down, even with an all-up weight of well over five tonnes.”
The Airstream trailer was no less impressive, he said.
“Taking this combination of rig on your travels injects some serious style and comfort - it's like staying in a boutique hotel, only you don't have to pack every time you move on!
“The moment that really summed it up for me was waking up in the Airstream on a sunny morning next to the beach just outside Casablanca, only a few days after towing it down a crowded British motorway through typically dismal English winter weather.
“A hot shower was followed by breakfast in a luxurious designer kitchen and that morning's Times, downloaded on to the iPad via the Airstream's satellite broadband.”
“Travelling doesn't get a lot better than that.”