The Ideal Fall Setting
North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains boast some of the most beautiful fall foliage in the country and some of the most exciting roadways in the United States, including the famous Tail of the Dragon. The mountains are also home to a few unexpected creatures, like a mysterious bear that appears only in the shadows. In short, the ideal setting for a brisk fall drive.
The Range Rover Sport SVR, the most agile Range Rover ever, was chosen to take on the winding roads in the heart of Appalachia.
Taming the Dragon
Designated as U.S. Route 129, the Tail of the Dragon takes travelers from Tallahassee, Tennessee to Robbinsville, North Carolina in the most thrilling fashion. With 318 turns over just 11 miles and no stoplights, intersections or driveways, the revered road is a popular destination for automotive enthusiasts. The Range Rover Sport SVR kept the pace, employing Adaptive Dynamics and Torque Vectoring technology to help maintain consistent speed and composure around the tight bends.1 Its roar could be heard throughout the surrounding mountains as it completed the first leg of the journey.
Capturing the Bear
After taming the Dragon, it was time to find a mysterious bear. Each fall, this mythical shadow appears to come out of hibernation for a short time in the evening: just 30 minutes, starting at around 5:30, on sunny days from Mid-October to early November. Photographer Kyle Kuiper (@Kdkuiper) journeyed to see the Shadow of the Bear during his trip to North Carolina. With such a brief viewing window, the speed and agility of the Range Rover Sport SVR was critical to an on-time arrival.
The best place to view and capture the Shadow of the Bear is a sliver of U.S. Highway 64 known as Rhodes Big View Overlook in Cashiers, NC. Highway 64 dates back to the early 20th century and cuts deep into the mountains, through gorges and over rivers, passing waterfalls and rural towns. The overlook is situated at an elevation of nearly 5,000 feet, and the SVR proved itself once again with steady capability throughout the climb, navigating the narrow road with nimble grace.
North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains provide the ideal setting for the Range Rover Sport SVR.
"As the shadow progresses the shape of a bear appears in the midst of the gorgeous fall colors of the trees of the valley," Kuiper recalled. "It only appeared for a short time, and as we stood and watched more and more people gathered to see it."
"The Range Rover Sport adapted immediately to every condition we faced"
After exploring the Great Smoky Mountains, Kuiper continued North on the Blue Ridge Parkway in search of more fall colors. "The stretch of the parkway from Asheville is especially beautiful as you gain elevation and can enjoy views on both sides of the road," he said. "The hundreds of miles along the Blue Ridge parkway were dotted with every color imaginable of fall. Around every curve, we were treated to amazing views and spectacular colors."
The Land Rover Terrain Response® 2 system played a large role as the Range Rover Sport tackled varying road conditions during the hunt for the Shadow of the Bear.
The narrow, two-lane roads also provided their share of challenges, with changing elevations, varying road surfaces and the ever-present potential for heavy rain. The Range Rover Sport SVR was ready, willing and enthusiastic, its Adaptive Dynamics ensuring exemplary performance every step of the way.1 "The Range Rover adapted immediately to the different conditions we faced," said Kuiper. Though he made frequent stops to take photographs, he was eager for more time on the road. "I couldn’t wait to get back in and drive."
Kuiper made good use of the safety features. "I loved the Head-Up Display. Being able to keep your eyes on the road during the trip was incredibly helpful." Other features, like the adaptive headlights, came in handy, he reported. "This tiny but amazing feature made a big difference on windy roads in the dark each night."
Kuiper also found the design and handling of the SVR enhanced the journey. "It has every luxury that you could dream up and some you didn't know you wanted until you experienced it in the SVR. After driving the SVR hundreds of miles on curvy mountains roads I can easily say that it is the best-handling SUV I've driven," he said.
Thanks to the Range Rover Sport SVR, this road trip to see the fall colors in North Carolina was breathtaking in more ways than one.
DESIGNED TO THRILL
Range Rover Sport has been designed and engineered to new heights. Beautifully proportioned, its muscular presence, sleek lines and sculpted corners help shape a vehicle that demands to be noticed.
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