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Range Rover Evoque emerges faithful to LRX concept

Evocative: Range Rover's all-new Evoque is not to be confused with the Lotus Evora, Exige or Elise - or even the Lamborghini Estoque.

All-new Range Rover Evoque emerges more than a year ahead of Australian sales

2 Jul 2010

LAND Rover has whipped the covers off the final production version of its long-awaited ‘baby Rangie’, which will be called the Evoque when it goes on sale in Australia next September – a year after its official global public debut at the 2010 Paris motor show.

Unveiled at an exclusive event in London last night to mark the 40th anniversary of Range Rover and shown in just one official image, the all-new compact wagon remains true to the edgy LRX concept – first seen at the 2008 Detroit show - by featuring just three doors, although a five-door derivative is also under development.

Land Rover, which now describes the all-new Range Rover Evoque as a coupe, previously said the all-new compact luxury crossover will be the smallest, lightest and most fuel-efficient Range Rover ever produced.

All-wheel drive and 2WD versions have already been confirmed, including an entry-level variant that the company has vowed with emit less than 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

No further details were provided at the model’s London reveal, but the Evoque has again been described as a “global car” that will create up to 1000 jobs at Land Rover’s Halewood factory near Liverpool, before going on sale in more than 160 counties.

An Australian release has been officially confirmed for late in the third quarter of 2011, within months of the Evoque’s release in the UK.

Last night’s invitation-only party at The Orangery in Kensington was attended by sultry celebrity Victoria Beckham, who has her own fashion label and was introduced by Land Rover design chief Gerry McGovern as the newest member of his design team – although the former Spice Girl’s exact role remains unknown.

“I'm incredibly excited to be collaborating with Range Rover,” she said. “I'd like to thank Phil and Gerry for such an incredible opportunity. I like to take on a challenge and I'm ready for it.” Land Rover managing direct Phil Popham said the Evoque will be as luxurious as other Range Rover models, including the flagship Vogue and Discovery-based Sport.

“Today is a very special occasion for Range Rover,” he said. “Not only are we celebrating 40 years of the brand, we are also demonstrating our exciting future by showing the all-new Range Rover Evoque.

“Range Rover is one of the most highly regarded and iconic vehicles in the history of motoring and has been a continuing success since we first introduced it in 1970.

“The all-new Range Rover Evoque is an important step for the future continued success and growth of the brand. Customers can be confident that the new car will be premium, luxurious and just as special as the other Range Rover models.”

24 center imageLeft: Range Rover LRX concept. Below: Land Rover LRX concept. Mr Popham said the Evoque – a nameplate apparently chosen for its universal appeal, despite its similarity with names worn by some Lotus models also built in the UK – was expected to attract a younger new audience to the Range Rover brand.

“Its sporting looks and unique qualities will open the brand to a new group of customers who may not have considered a Range Rover product before,” he said.

“It was important to give the car a name that was instantly recognisable through language and cultural boundaries throughout the world. We wanted to create a new name which was innovative and different - a name which implies exclusivity and arouses emotions.

“Evoque is cosmopolitan and cross-continental, sophisticated and matches the car’s urban elegance,” he said.

First revealed as a Land Rover concept, the LRX-badged show car later became a Range Rover in a tactical move that allows the British off-road vehicle maker to price and position the Evoque higher than Land Rover’s entry-level model, the $49,990 Freelander.

Indeed, the Evoque appears far more stylish – and is unlikely to offer the utilitarian versatility of - the Land Rover-badged Discovery and Freelander, both of which should also remain more off-road capable.

“The Range Rover is an iconic design that has stood the test of time and it's not difficult to see why,” said Mr McGovern. “Like the current version, the original Range Rover is such a simple and memorable shape that is easily recognisable.

“The all-new Range Rover Evoque marks a bold evolution of Range Rover design, providing customers with a desirable, premium and compact car like SUV.

“In 2008 we introduced the LRX concept car. After a positive reception worldwide, the natural step for the business was to turn the LRX concept car into reality. Tonight we wanted to show the world that we have stayed true to our word and delivered a car that completely represents the spirit of the LRX concept.

“The all-new Range Rover Evoque will resonate with customers on an emotional level. Its unique silhouette accentuated by the distinctive falling roof and dramatic rising waistline creates a modern and relevant execution of the familiar Range Rover design language.

“This car makes a powerful statement of the Range Rover's brand intent to appeal to a wider audience.

“It was always our intent to stretch the Range Rover brand to appeal to a bigger audience and this vehicle will appeal to customers who had never even considered Range Rover before. The design is key to that - it’s like no other Range Rover we’ve seen before but it’s still unmistakably a Range Rover,” he said.

The Volkswagen Golf-sized Evoque will go on sale initially as a three-door all-wheel drive model, most likely powered by the Freelander’s PSA-sourced 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine matched with the first manual transmission in a Range Rover since 2002 – at least in Europe.

The AWD diesel Evoque should return average CO2 emissions of around 140g/km, but the front-drive version that follows will lower that to less than 130g/km.

Eventually, however, the Evoque is also expected to be available as a plug-in hybrid.

Land Rover has confirmed its first diesel-electric hybrid model will become available in Europe in 2012, before hitting European roads in 2013 – based on the Rangie Sport. Land Rover says it will test its first diesel hybrid prototype, called the 'range_e', by the end of this year.

With an upgraded version of Land Rover’s existing 3.0-litre TDV6 diesel engine aided by a circa-25kW electric motor and matched with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, the hybrid Rangie Sport’s goals are to achieve a driving range of 32km using electric power only, emit less than 100g/km of CO2 and to accelerate to a top speed of around 190km/h.

European reports suggest the Evoque will match the diesel-electric Range Rover Sport ‘range-e’ by being fitted with a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain by 2015.

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