But grip is one thing and the sheer laws of physics quite another. Tyre marks and paintwork gouges on the rocks show past less-fortunate drivers and as the rear tyres follow the fronts, I hear the revs rise on the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 as the car begins to take the strain. Is this one climb too far?
Perhaps. Our progress pauses and I hear one of the rear tyres start to spin on the rock beneath us. The incline means the bonnet fills the windscreen with just Jim’s hands showing above it. Then the spinning tyre stops and the dash-mounted screen shows that both the centre and rear differentials have locked into their maximum six-out-of-six settings. We slowly start to move forward again, inching our way up the slope.
“Nice job,” says Jim when we reach the top. “Generally speaking, a driver’s nerves often give in way before the abilities of the car but customers never leave these tours anything less than amazed at what the cars can do. Even if they already know that the cars are highly capable off-road, they don’t expect them to be quite this good at handling this kind of terrain.”
That’s especially so, when you consider that the cars we’re driving are completely standard. There’s no special off-road tyres or extra under-body protection, these Range Rovers and Discoveries are exactly as they drive out of the showroom.