Land Rover gives us our first look and announces Australian price and spec for the upcoming Range Rover Evoque Convertible.
You’d have to say it’s not a title that’s been fiercely contested, but “most capable all-terrain convertible in the world” is how Range Rover describes its first ever rag top, a roofless Evoque.
With such a stunning roofline, it seems a shame totake the Evoque into convertible territory, but at least you’ll still be able to admire the original lines when the lightweight fabric roof – which drops in just 18 seconds at speeds of up to 50km/h – is up.
That’s an impressive bit of Z-folding, particularly on the move, because it is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the longest and widest fabric roof fitted to any production vehicle currently on sale. Perhaps that’s why, uniquely, it takes three seconds longer to raise than it does to lower.
It’s easy to be the best in the world at something, of course, when you’re also the only one doing it – being the best Victoria Beckham for example – and Range Rover has been modest enough to admit that its Evoque is in fact the first luxury compact SUV convertible.
Who knows how many will follow because the idea of an SUV in which you can drop the roof while scorching across burning-hot deserts or clambering through thick forests hadn’t really occurred to many people before this.
The idea of a stylish, high-riding convertible that will only ever be used in the more chi-chi, beachy suburbs of the world makes perfect sense, however, and it does look predictably fantastic.
Range Rover’s first ever convertible should also be able to tackle the rough stuff, while you get a tan, because the company claims it’s a car that meets its rigorous standards in areas like structural rigidity and “breadth of capability”, which means it’s got the full four-wheel-drive box and dice of Terrain Response, Wade Sensing and All-Terrain Progress Control.
A Roll-Over Protection Device will protect the Evoque’s four occupants should it tip over and slide backwards down a sand dune.
The new Convertible will be powered by a choice of petrol or diesel Land Rover engines, including a 2.0-litre turbodiesel that manages 5.1L/100km, although probably not if it’s only ever driven around town.
The already booming SUV market is expected to grow by another 20 per cent over the next five years, and cars like the Evoque Convertible give it new niches to ooze into.
It will go on sale worldwide in the third quarter of next year and will be priced, locally, from $84,835 for the base SE Dynamic diesel to the top-spec HSE Dynamic petrol, with 177kW, for $92,015.
It might be the answer to a question no one had yet thought to ask, but you only need to take one look at it to realise that it’s going to be a car some buyers will be begging for as soon as it arrives.