All models will have hill-start and hill-hold to aid smoother getaways, and four-wheel-drive versions will also have Hill Descent Control to limit speed down steep slopes.
The Evoque will be the first Land Rover product with electronic power steering (another fuel-saving measure) and there’ll be the option of Magna-ride – continuously variable damping, controlled by magnetic fluid in the shock absorbers.
‘This car’s a bit like the Range Rover Sport to drive in some respects,’ says Dietsch. ‘It gives you comfort on the motorway, but lets you have a bit of fun on the twisty bits.’
The electrics are very similar to those in the latest Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and the Land Rover Discovery 4, so anything that’s available in those cars will be offered in the Evoque.
‘We wanted luxury, not gimmickry,’ McGovern says. ‘It had to have a sense of occasion. It’s the same ingredients you’d find in other Range Rovers, but cooked in a different way.’ There’ll be three versions: Pure will have an off-road bias; Prestige will be the premium model; and Dynamic the sporty option – with different colour palettes and body adornments.
The Evoque fits in perfectly with McGovern’s aim to retain the functionality of Land Rovers and Range Rovers, but with more sustainability and desirability.
There’s every chance it will become Land Rover’s top-selling model: the company has already taken 500 deposits from eager buyers, even though production at the Halewood factory on Merseyside doesn’t begin until the end of May 2011. ‘The number of people this is going to bring to the brand who’ve never been in one of our dealerships before is just staggering,’ says Dietsch.
It’s fair to say that the motoring world was left speechless when Land Rover recently announced that it would be involving fashion guru and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham in future projects, but the company’s design director Gerry McGovern describes it as ‘a potentially massive coup. She brings something important – a different point of view,’ he says.
‘She’s a sophisticated lady, a family person and she has carved out her own successful career to critical acclaim in the cut-throat fashion business. ‘She’s been a Range Rover customer for years, she’s a consumer of premium products and she has impeccable taste.’ So how is the arrangement going to work? ‘Well, she’s not going to be designing a new interior for us, although there might be special editions with her,’ says McGovern. ‘She won’t be involved with Land Rover, only Range Rover.
‘She’ll come along from the consumer perspective and give us her input on things like finishes, colour and trim and merchandising and accessories.’