We've know about a drop-top version of the Range Rover Evoque for some time, but now Land Rover has confirmed the convertible SUV will be officially unveiled at the LA Motor Show later this month ahead of UK sales next Spring. Shown initially in concept form at the 2012 Geneva show, the drop-top Evoque marks a return to Land Rover's heritage of building soft-top off-roaders. The confirmation marks an end to three years of debate within the firm about the car’s business case rather than engineering viability, according to company insiders. Strong demand is expected, particularly from the USA, while a production version could get its airing by the middle of this year.
Official details are still thin on the ground, but Land Rover confirmed it will be "the most capable convertible in the world" and will be built alongside the five-door and coupe Evoque models at its plant in Halewood, Merseyside. And by studying these pictures, a few more things are clear to be seen. The folding fabric roof can be seen sitting on the rear deck in the style of the MINI Convertible – whether the production mechanism will look like this or fold neatly into a compartment isn’t yet clear. It will also have a full four-seater layout, although boot size will inevitably suffer.
Additional bracing for the Evoque’s ageing steel chassis is likely to be required, to maintain torsional rigidity, along with the electrics and motors for the roof system. The additional weight that brings will harm fuel economy and handling slightly, but Jaguar Land Rover’s new Ingenium engine family means efficiency should still be impressive.
Fitted with a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel and two-wheel drive, the recently updated fixed-roof Evoque returns 68mpg and 109g/km of CO2. That makes it the most economical and efficient car the firm has ever produced. Land Rover has even developed a clever Roll Over Protection System (ROPS) that won’t pop up errantly in extreme off-road situations. There’s a nod towards the full-size Range Rover in the drop-down tailgate, too. Expect prices for the Evoque Convertible to start from around £40,000.
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