LAUNCHED IN SA: The Range Rover Evoque Convertible exudes style and luxury, and no doubt will soon be whizzing all over trendy local streets. Image: Supplied / Citi Press
Johannesburg - The only thing I had to gripe about at the recent inaugural SA Festival of Motoring were the shoes I selected to torture myself in. While my fellow motoring-media journos sailed around in sensible flatties, my chosen heels were five-inch platform ankle booties.
I’m often regarded as a pretty intelligent member of Homo sapiens,but when it comes to footwear, I’ve been known to lose the plot. I usually take a pair of driving shoes to launches, but knowing I was there to look, rather than drive, I left my Merrells at home.
I was soon to discover the newly revamped, 72-hectare Kyalami Racing Circuit in Midrand was no place for my pretentious platforms.
Opened in 1961, Kyalami had its heyday during the 60s and 70s. When it was announced that the track would be auctioned off in 2014 (and that property developers were interested in destroying this historic circuit), Porsche SA’s Toby Venter stepped in with a cool bid of R205 million. The result is a revamped, revitalised and iconic racing circuit.
But boy, did a girl have to walk!
Let’s blame my inappropriate booties on the launch of the new Range Rover Evoque Convertible, the world’s most capable all-terrain convertible – the wheels I was most keen to impress in my toe-crunchers. After all, the Evoque has been associated with high fashion from the outset, when the queen of fashion, Victoria Beckham, was appointed as a creative design executive in 2010, working closely with Land Rover’s chief design director, Gerry McGovern, for over 18 months to come up with her special edition Evoque.
When the Evoque went into production in July 2011, unprecedented sales made the compact SUV one of Land Rover’s most successful models.
We’ve had to wait four years for the Convertible to hit local showrooms since its unveiling in 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show.
Available only in one spec – the Si4 turbo-charged petrol engine with a nine-speed automatic gearbox, the Evoque Convertible exudes all the style and luxury of the straight Evoque, although the soft top’s boot space halves its 550 litres to 251 litres when the roof is down, retracting in just 18 seconds at a speed of up to 48km/h.
I did a quick mental calculation – thankfully, there’s still plenty of space to fill it with retail-therapy spoils.
The Evoque Convertible is powered by Land Rover’s all-aluminium four-cylinder turbo-charged petrol engine. It producers 177kW of power and 340Nm of torque.
READ: SA Festival of Motoring: 10 new cars on show
While she takes one second more to reach 100km/h – in 8.6 seconds, compared to the straight coupé’s 7.6 seconds – her looks make up for it. Blame it on the extra weight of 300kg from the retractable roof and reinforcements.
Face to face with this unique soft-top fashionista, my guess is that Converti-belle will soon be seen whizzing all over trendy local streets.
The Evoque wasn’t the only eye candy at the Jaguar Land Rover stand. The 5.0-litre supercharged V8 Jaguar F-Type SVR (from R2 286 300) also made its drop-dead gorgeous debut appearance. Jaguar’s fastest and most powerful production car ever, with insane figures of 423kW and 700Nm, made me totally forget my burgeoning blisters.
Just across the drag, at the Nissan stand, there was much excitement at the unveiling of Godzilla, the newly upgraded 3.8-litre V6 Nissan GTR (from R1 950 00), offering a whopping 419kW and 637Nm, roaring from 0 to 100km/h in less than three seconds.
By the end of the day, having walked at least 5km, my aching feet screamed for emancipation. There’s even a word these days for my syndrome.
Shoepidity: “The act of wearing ridiculously uncomfortable shoes, just because they look good.”
If the shoe fits, wear it.
Range Rover Evoque Convertible
From R1 002 400