WHO’D have thought it? The very idea of a Range Rover with no roof might not have seemed plausible in the past.

But we had already seen deviations from the definitive Range Rover with the creation of the sleeker Sport version and the arrival in 2011 of the Evoque, which provided another classic example of “Why didn’t they think of this earlier?”

The smaller Evoque came with much of the kudos and presence of the big daddy version but with a lower price tag, smaller fuel bills and less demanding parking space requirements.

Now the Evoque comes in convertible form, presenting wind-in-the-air motoring for up to four people with all the Range Rover touches we have come to appreciate.

It’s the world's first luxury compact SUV convertible, combining the bold design and refinement of Evoque with a sophisticated folding fabric roof.

The result is the most capable convertible ever created.

That fabric roof - the longest and widest currently fitted to any vehicle on sale today - is shaped to create a silhouette which remains faithful to the original design. It can be stowed in 18 seconds, and can be raised in 21 seconds, at speeds up to 30mph. A layer of acoustic insulation ensures that there’s more-or-less no noise intrusion when the roof is up, and there’s still 251 litres of boot space.

Safety hasn't been overlooked with a protection device featuring deployable roll-over bars hidden in the rear bodywork. It deploys two aluminium bars within 90milliseconds in the unlikely event of a roll-over.

Elsewhere, you will find the usual Range Rover refinement, including a superb high-resolution 10.2-inch touchscreen with Jaguar Land Rover's next-generation infotainment system, which offers smartphone integration, navigation and a premium sound system.

Land Rover's full suite of lightweight, all-aluminium four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines is available with the potent 240PS Si4 petrol providing outstanding levels of performance and refinement.

Diesel power comes from Land Rover's 2.0-litre Ingenium engines which provide efficient and refined performance with fuel economy up to 55mpg (5.1 l/100km) and CO2emissions as low as 149g/km.

The Evoque Convertible is underpinned by Land Rover's world-class all-terrain capability – including wade sensing if you fancy taking it for a dip - combined with nine-speed automatic transmission.

So popular is the Evoque – it accounts for one in every three Land Rovers sold – that it’s easy to forget just how radical it looked when it first arrived on the scene.

There are more practical models in the Land Rover/Range Rover line up, but that’s not to say this Evoque can’t handle family duties. Front seat occupants sit nice and high and have plenty of space to stash odds and ends, while welcome comforts such as ventilated and massage seats are now on the options list.

The most important change to the Evoque’s driving behaviour comes down to the new engine provision. The Ingenium diesel unit has already proven itself elsewhere, and mated to the nine-speed automatic gearbox it’s a willing companion. Although nine forward ratios might seem like a lot, in truth the Evoque switches between them smoothly to make the most of the generous torque on offer to give pleasingly fuss-free progress. Push harder and the Ingenium unit is a little more vocal but the relaxed cabin ambience isn’t hurt.

Better still is the way the Evoque effortlessly blends a comfortable ride with responsive driving dynamics. Most of the time you simply enjoy the way road imperfections are soaked up without fuss. Conversely on those relative rare occasions when you need to hurry along a challenging B-road the Evoque responds with much more alacrity and accuracy than it has any right to.

It’s still a relatively tall car and the steering is geared for comfort rather than razor responses, but fun it most certainly is. The convertible will put an even wider smile on your face.