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Geneva show: Range Rover Evoque cabrio confirmed

Land Rover confirms convertible version of Evoque premium compact SUV coming in 2016

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Land Rover logo3 Mar 2015

By TERRY MARTIN

LAND Rover has used the Geneva motor show to officially confirm that it will build a convertible version of its Evoque premium compact SUV, with production starting next year.

Jaguar Land Rover Australia confirmed to GoAuto that the drop-top model – billed as the world’s first premium compact SUV convertible – will come to Australia, but a representative said no other information regarding launch timing or pricing was available for now.

GoAuto understands that the convertible – first shown as a concept at the 2012 Geneva show – is likely to arrive either late next year or early in 2017, with production taking place alongside five-door and coupe Evoque variants at Land Rover’s Halewood plant in England.

Few other details have been forthcoming, although Land Rover has taken a proactive response to spy shots of near-production prototypes published on the internet in recent months by releasing its own pictures and a video of a camouflaged convertible testing in the Crossrail tunnels below London – a new 42km network still under construction some 40 metres below the streets of the English capital.

As well as placing the ‘secret’ vehicle in a unique underground environment, Land Rover’s aim was to demonstrate that the convertible will have off-road capability for which the British SUV brand is renowned.

As the video shows, the vehicle was lowered into the Crossrail tunnel network by crane and negotiates a series of obstacles through the 6.2m-diameter tunnels.

“The tunnels are still under construction, so we had a unique opportunity to explore the vehicle’s all-terrain ability in unchartered territory,” said Land Rover’s director of programs Murray Dietsch.

Land Rover did a similar publicity stunt with the five-door Evoque’s launch in 2011, driving the vehicle through the Edge Hill tunnel in Liverpool.

As GoAuto has reported, the heavily upgraded MY2016 Evoque five-door and coupe make their debut in Geneva this week, featuring hi-tech adaptive LED headlights and a new engine line-up that swaps Ford-designed powertrains for the new ‘Ingenium’ petrol and diesel family.

Despite the Evoque Convertible’s world-first tag, Nissan presented a drop-top version of its Murano SUV at the Los Angeles motor show in 2010 and now sells the vehicle, known as the CrossCabriolet’, in the United States.

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