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Revolutionary Range Rover

FEBRUARY, 04, 2011

It’s no exaggeration to say that the Range Rover Evoque was one of the must-see cars at the recent Paris Motor Show. After all, for the first time in 40 years, Range Rover was showing a vehicle that could actuallybe ordered without four-wheel drive. But its technical specs were probably of less interest than its radical, chopped-roof look, which is so different that it takes a while to wrap your mind around it. The Evoque is nearly half a metre shorter than the current Range Rover Sport and 187mm lower – in fact, it looks like a team of hot-rudders decided to build a custom Rangy, except that there’s nothing chintzy about it. It still exudes pure, British upper-class. “The Evoque helps define a new segment for premium compact SUVs that are more stylish and sporting,” said Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover at the first public showing of the car in Paris. Indeed.

BMW may have done a toe-in the- water exercise with its X6, but the Evoque ignites excitement among young buyers – something mainstream Range Rovers haven’t achieved in great numbers in the pastfour decades. It was interesting to climb aboard the two-door version exhibited at the show. Access to the rear seats isn’t brilliant, but a four-door version’s on the way. Surprisingly, with such a crew-cut roofline, the view out from both front and back seats is just fine, with no feeling of claustrophobia. When it arrives here – probably not before late 2011 – it will have a choice of front- and four-wheel-drive, and turbocharged engines in both diesel and petrol form, as well as all the latest gizmos like park assist, Bluetooth audio streaming and surround camera technology. Its styling’s already growing on us.

Also shown in Paris, the Jaguar CX- 75 concept car manages to pull together all 75 years of the Coventry company’s history and morph it about 20 years into the future. Shades of cars like Jaguar’s XJR-9 1988 Le Mans winner are #owed enticingly into slivers of LED lighting features, while the car’s mechanical underpinnings are other-worldly. Think four electric motors, each with a 145kW output, for a total of 580kW – and, of course, zero emissions! Then there are two gas turbines adding another 140kW, which will be used to recharge the battery pack. The manufacturers reckon the C-X75 will run 0-160km/h in 5,5 seconds and 0-300km/hin 15 seconds – about the time it takes a Tata Indigo to reach 100km/h. The range is said to be just 110km, but it can be extended to 900km by running easy and using the turbines. Okay, guys, now relax – it’s just a concept at this stage…

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