Range Rover details drop-top Evoque
Whitley, West Midlands - What do you do when you've built a flagship model that's exclusive and expensive but doesn't easily fit into any market segment? You invent one.
This then, is what Land Rover has labelled the world's first luxury compact SUV convertible: the Range Rover Evoque droptop. As the fifth member of the Range Rover family - and its first convertible - it sits at the top of the Evoque hierarchy, but it's not a bad fit at all.
The distinctive rising waistline and two-box architecture of the original Evoque lend themselves to execution in fabric; its Z-fold mechanism lies flush with the bodywork for an uncluttered 'boat-deck' look when it's down - and the added bonus that it doesn't intrude into the boot space, which remains at 251 litres either way.
Let the sunshine in
What Land Rover says is the longest and widest fully-automated fabric roof in current production can be stowed in 18 seconds and raised in 21, on the move at up to 48km/h. There are also two aluminium rollover bars hidden in the rear bodywork that are deployed in just 90 milliseconds if you manage to roll your Evoque past 90 degrees.
But just letting the sunshine in does not a luxury flagship make; the rag-top Rangie is also the debut Land Rover platform for Jaguar's next-generation infotainment system.
Called Incontrol Touch Pro, it's based on a new 10.2 inch colour touchscreen and combines seamless smartphone integration, door-to-door navigation, 3G connectivity and a premium sound system with response speeds never before offered by this maker.
Pure Evoque under the skin
The convertible's underpinnings share all the features of its tin-top siblings, with motorvation courtesy of Land Rover's all-aluminium petrol and diesel turbofours, led by the 177kW Si4 petrol and backed by a choice of Ingenium two-litre diesels.
Each is mated to a nine-speed auto transmission, driving all four wheels via Land Rover's Terrain Response system with wade sensing and all-terrain progress control to keep the party clean.
The Range Rover Evoque convertible will be rolled out around the world during the second quarter of 2016; the exact timing for its release in South Africa, as well as local pricing, will be announced closer to the time.