The strength of the BMW M4 Coupé is evident in every detail.
This, sports fans, is not your common or garden Range Rover Evoque - it's the Desert Warrior 3, a purpose-built off-road racer designed and made by RaBe Race Cars.
RaBe have built three of these 1900kg monsters for the Excite Rallye Raid Team, based in Poole in southern England, which has entered them for the 2013 World Off-Road Rally series and the 2014 Dakar Rally.
Under that modified Evoque body there's a tubular chassis, built in-house by RaBe from a design they say has been proven in three previous Dakars.
1200KM RANGE AT RACING SPEEDS
The Warrior is powered by a three-litre, straight-six BMW twin-turbo diesel kicking out 205kW and 650Nm in standard form, with 260kW and 850Nm available if all the restrictions are removed, while sustenance is provided by a 260-litre fuel tank, giving it a projected range of 1200km at racing speeds.
It drives all four wheels (of course) through a six-speed ZF sequential gearbox, running on 16” Compomotive Atacama Rally Raid rims, wrapped in BF Goodrich Desert Race G series tyres.
Mike Jones of RaBe Race Cars explained: “We've tried to get the handling and reliability perfect while retaining the ability to float over the dunes, which is easily lost when designing such a car to be as durable as possible.”
“Just about everything on the car is bespoke, but most of the original parts we do use come from Land Rover.”
Its extraordinarily sophisticated suspension has two Reiger adaptive coil-over dampers on each wheel, controlled by a four-way valve system.
The corner control valve - patented by Reiger - uses yaw sensors and the position of the steering wheel to detect whether the Warrior is running straight or in a corner - and stiffens the outside dampers in a corner to make anti-roll bars almost obsolete.
The rebound control valve uses the antilock braking sensors to detect when one of the wheels is off the ground and reduces the rebound damping on that wheel so that it drops back into contact with the ground as quickly as possible, for maximum grip.
FACE-FIRST INTO A DONGA
As soon the suspension begins to compress, the lateral control valve - another Reiger patent - detects whether in fact the wheel is moving up towards the body, in which case it softens the compression for a smoother ride (which means the tyres spend more time in contact with the ground and you get more drive!) or if the body is moving down towards the wheel - which happens when you go face-first into a donga.
In that case it stiffens the compression damping to prevent the suspension from bottoming out and keep the car on an relatively even keel.
The final valve is actually a double-piston system that provides more damping at higher piston speeds; it's common on off-road motorcycles (and a few superbikes) where the high and low-speed compression damping can often be separately adjusted.
WATCH THE SUSPENSION IN ACTION