Land Rover’s topless Evoque promises to go where no premium ragtop has gone before

Land Rover is giving us a preview of the upcoming Range Rover Evoque Convertible. Billed as the world’s first luxury convertible compact SUV, the topless Evoque was previewed by a close-to-production concept that was revealed in 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show.

Although the test mule depicted in Land Rover’s teaser shots is fully camouflaged, we can tell that the convertible Evoque has changed little in its transition from a concept car to a production model. Pictures of the Convertible with the top up aren’t available yet, but it’s expected to gain a power-folding cloth soft top that’s lighter, cheaper to build, and more compact than a retractable hard top. The cabriolet will be all but identical to the regular Evoque Coupe from the rocker panels up to the belt line.

Land Rover engineers have made extensive modifications to the Evoque Convertible’s body in order to offset the loss of structural rigidity that occurred when they chopped off the roof. The changes are invisible to the naked eye, and they allegedly don’t affect the way the Evoque drives. As a result, the Convertible boldly promises to be as capable off the beaten path as an Evoque hardtop, including in its ability to drive through nearly 20 inches of water. Land Rover’s Terrain Response technology helps motorists get over even the biggest obstacles mother nature can throw at it.

The modifications won’t extend to the engine bay. Like the hardtop, the Convertible will launch with a Ford-derived 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine tuned to make 240 horsepower. A handful of modern engines designed in-house by Jaguar-Land Rover will likely be added to the lineup a little later in the production run.

An official debut date hasn’t been announced yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible in the metal for the first time next month at the Los Angeles Motor Show. Regardless of where it’s launched, it will land in showrooms across the nation next spring as a 2017 model. Expect the Convertible to carry a sizable price premium over its hardtop counterpart.

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