This is the 281bhp Range Rover Evoque Autobiography Dynamic. That long-winded name might lull you into thinking this is just a new trim level, but not so fast. This Evoque, with its highly tuned turbocharged engine, upgraded brakes, and retuned chassis system, is the hot hatch of Evoques. It's on sale in late 2014, priced at more than £50,000.
At last! A fast Range Rover Evoque to beat the Germans
Hold your horses. The Evoque Autobiography Dynamic (let’s call it AD for short) may be the fastest Evoque yet, but it’s some way behind the Mercedes GLA45 AMG and Audi RSQ3 on paper. Both of those cars develop well in excess of 300bhp, while the Evoque AD has ‘only’ 281bhp.
Mind you, that’s still a whopping 49bhp more than the punchy Evoque Si4. Plus, there’s 295lb ft on tap from the 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-pot – a 44lb ft increase over the ex-range topping Evoque Si4 model. Put it another way – this 4x4 crossover more same power than a VW Scirocco R, Seat Leon Cupra 280, or a Vauxhall Astra VXR. Very serious performance cars, in other words – none of which benefit from 4x4 traction.
Just a petrol Evoque with the wick turned up?
Not so. The nine-speed (yes, nine-speed) ZF automatic transmission has had a software recalibration, aimed at sharpening its responsiveness either in automatic ‘Drive’ mode, or when controlled by the steering wheel’s paddleshifters.
Though no official figures have yet been announced, the vast spread of ratios should mean the Evoque AD has considerably better acceleration and touring mpg figures than the 7.1sec 0-62mph/36.2mpg Evoque Si4. Then again, it’s likely see a hefty price bump from that car’s £46,650 too…
A hotted-up Evoque with a clever gearbox, then?
There’s more. Larger front brake discs measure a hefty 350mm, up from 300mm. The car’s suspension has been refreshed too, employing firmer spring rates, new settings for the adaptive dampers, and tweaked geometry.
Land Rover claims the result is the Evoque AD is just as comfortable as a normal Evoque (despite riding on 20in alloys as standard), while boasting keener turn-in and improved agility. Does it stand a chance of keeping up with those 276bhp hot hatches we named earlier. Consider CAR’s quizzical eyebrow well and truly raised…
Aiding that ambitious claim is a trick learned from the other side of the Jaguar Land Rover empire. The Evoque AD borrows similar ‘Torque Vector by braking’ tech from the Jaguar F-type R Coupe, which uses brake pressure to juggle momentum across the axles during an understeer situation, helping drag the car back onto line – or prevent running wide in the first place.
Making its debut in the Evoque AD, but set to roll out across the Land Rover range, is the ‘InControl’ apps interface. Apps from your smartphone as displayed on the car’s central infotainment screen, optimised for in-car operation, according to Land Rover.
You’ll be able to download Land Rover InControl compatible apps and check for updates via your smartphone. The system works with Apple iOS and Android devices – we’ll get a hands-on look at the much-needed JLR infotainment refresh at the Geneva motor show in March 2014.