Countdown to ecstasy
The Evoque has the right ratio for the occasion
NINE-eight-seven-sixfour ... It’s not a preschooler showing off his numerical skills— rather, it’s a typical gear sequence in the Range Rover Evoque’s skip-shift function to wash off speed for smart cornering or kick down for snappy overtaking.
And, yep, the countdown starts at nine. Range Rover claims aworld first with the next Evoque’s nine-speed automatic transmission, just one of the techno jewels in the drivetrain.
In the brand’s bag of tricks to “enhance agility and further improve fuel efficiency”, the ZF-built auto is abetted by what the engineers callActive Driveline, which on petrol models cuts drive aft when the Evoque is motoring steadily from about 35km/h. It takes 300 milliseconds for the on-demand 4WD to reconnect.
It also packs a pair of clutches in the rear-drive gear instead of a differential, the better to send torque to the wheel with better grip, Range Rover says.
In common with its 2014 model range stablemates, the Evoque (due here in March) fairly bristles with driver assist gear.
To the customary lane sensing and parking electronics, it adds a wading sensor (to display the depth ofwater the vehicle’s traversing, should one have to detour on theway to the polo) and InControl, a remote security and tracking app (possibly of use to ladies-who-lunch when they misplace the car post retail therapy).
Its hill descent control is something to savour, and Carsguide did just that last weekend at the Schonwald ski jump in the Black Forest.
So did Jaguar LandRover research and technology boss Wolfgang Epple. After hailing the Evoque’s sales success— 170,000 to date— he put his mouth where his money came from, punched in the descent parameters on the touchscreen of a threedoor, got Frau Epple in beside him and rolled down the ski landing slope.
The gradient falls away to about 45 degrees. Edging down it at somewhat north of 5km/h (pictured), with forward vision limited to the track immediately ahead, it feels like 90.
On sealed forest roads, the Evoque’s paddle-shifters enabled some nifty throttle work on corners— there was always that extra ratio up or down.