Flight. Brief and terrifying, but for two long and silent seconds, this three-tonne truck leaves the Earth’s embrace and mimics one of the graceful and deadly avians whose name it carries. It soars, whooping supercharged V8 dying away off-throttle, peaceful in its unlikely glidepath, strangely, disturbingly beautiful.
Unfortunately, even after the cognitive whiplash you get from seeing it get elegantly airborne, it still lands like a three-tonne truck. Which is the reason I now know what lungs taste like. Long-travel but butter-soft suspension compresses, then compresses a good deal more, regrettably allowing 35-inch off-road tyres to chew into the arches, and the skid-plate under the plutonium-density girder of a front bumper to take the rest of the impact. My shins smash into the bottom of the dash, my teeth clack together like porcelain maracas and the noise is like slamming a door six inches in front of my face. I think for a second that the airbags have gone off.
Pictures: Justin Leighton
This feature was originally published in the May 2015 issue of Top Gear magazine