The New Range Rover
BY ANJA FAHS
(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 2 2015)
The Range Rover Evoque concept already debuted in 2012. Just three years later, at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, Land Rover confirmed that the convertible model is to go into production – the world’s first convertible in the class of premium compact SUVs. First prototypes have already started test runs in a rather unusual place: the over 41 kilometres long ‘Crossrail’ tunnel currently being dug under the City of London.
The largest construction project in Europe provides the perfect testing ground for the Range Rover Evoque Convertible. 40 metres below the streets of London, the Crossrail consortium is digging a new railway tunnel, which will cross the British capital underground from west to east. The first Range Rover prototype was allowed to use the tunnel construction site for a test drive of a special kind: Land Rover engineers extensively trialled a still camouflaged model going top down through the underground. Murray Dietsch, Director of Land Rover Programmes explains: “The tunnels are still under construction, so we had a unique opportunity to explore the vehicle’s all-terrain ability in unchartered territory.”
The images of the test drives are impressive. After the car was lowered by crane into the tunnel, the new model proved inside the 6.20-metre-wide passage that is has genuine Land Rover genes. Even obstacles deep underground cannot stop this newcomer.
For the Evoque series as a whole, trials underground are not entirely new terrain. Even before the launch of the successful range in 2011, the five-door Evoque variant could be seen driving through the Edge Hill Tunnel in Liverpool. Built in the 19th century, it was the first subterranean gateway built right beneath a major city.
Already in 2012, the ambitious first convertible concept of the strong racer caused a stir as it directly tapped into the global success of the Evoque series on the one hand, while on the other hand proving once more Land Rover’s capability to create new market segments.
The concept convertible with a soft top is based on the Range Rover Evoque Coupé. Apart from a fully retractable premium roof system, it is equipped with ROPS, the rollover protection system. Flexibility and versatility are ensured in the concept model in a hatchback that opens downwards and an interior with four full-comfort seats for example. Which features of the concept will eventually be incorporated into the production car remains to be seen.
Further details on this new premium compact SUV Convertible, will be announced by Land Rover later this year. The launch is scheduled for next year.
Picture credits © LAND ROVER