Evoque Convertible becomes first luxury compact SUV convertible under the sun

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Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled the Range Rover Evoque Convertible in an artificial sunrise ceremony in London(Credit: Jaguar Land Rover)

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Using state-of-the-art projection technology, Jaguar Land Rover attempted to transform a cold autumn night in London into a golden summer day for the launch of its new Range Rover Evoque Convertible. The four-seat, luxury crossover's lightweight fabric hood gives it the honor of being the world's first luxury compact SUV convertible.

The unveiling took place outside the Central Saint Martins building in Granary Square, Kings Cross, London at the University of Fine Arts under 400,000 lumens of light and amidst color-changing fountains. First floated as a concept in 2012 before getting the production nod in March, more details on the Evoque Convertible will likely come when it debuts at the Los Angeles Auto Show at the end of the month.

With bodywork unchanged from the Range Rover Evoque Crossover (with the exception of the roof), the Evoque Convertible has the same footprint, and same capabilities as its coupe counterpart.

This Range Rover’s roof lowers in 18 seconds and raises in 21 seconds at speeds up to 30 miles per hour (48 km/h), with the top stowing away roadster-style, disappearing completely once folded away with no rear pillar or cross bars visible. In the event of a rollover, support beams pop up from behind the rear headrests.

The trunk can house up to 251 liters (8.8 cubic feet) and an optional center pass-through opening allows longer objects to enter the rear seating area. The luggage space remains the same whether the roof is up or down and is unimpeded by the roof’s operation. The Evoque Coupe sports roughly 549 liters (19.4 cubic feet) of room by comparison.

Seating and interior space for the Range Rover Evoque Convertible are virtually the same as the Range Rover Evoque Coupe (two-door) model, with about 866 mm (34 in) of rear seat legroom. Those who find the entry and exit into the rear seats of the hardtop Evoque Coupe cramped will perhaps find things a bit easier with the top down.

The Evoque Convertible is the first vehicle in the luxury crossover class with a top-down option, and few competitors in any crossover segment have found success with a convertible. This includes most recently Nissan with the Murano Crosscabriolet convertible, which was produced for only three years (2011-2014) to deafening silence from consumers.

If, however, the sophisticated looks and solid drivetrain of the Evoque Coupe are any indication of market acceptance, we can expect that the Evoque Convertible will find a small but well-heeled following. The Evoque four-door has sold about half a million units since its introduction just a couple of years ago.

The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, nine-speed automatic transmission and offroad-ready drivetrain (utilizing Land Rover’s Terrain Response system) have been popular among the upper-crust buyer, and perhaps a few of them will want to take the top off as an added bonus when the Evoque Convertible goes on sale in mid-2016.

The video below shows the vehicle's unveiling.

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