Despite its red tyres, matt silver paint and £2,150 premium, the Marangoni Evoque isn’t as crazy as it looks. The heavy fuel tanks are countered by a boost in power and a set of larger brakes to ensure it drives as well as the standard car. The hydrogen and natural gas system is a clever way to reduce emissions, too.
If you thought the Range Rover Evoque looked radical enough already, you’ll be shocked by the Marangoni HFI-R. The Italian tyre manufacturer has fitted a set of red M-Power tyres and a silver carbon fibre bodykit. Yet the biggest tweaks are hidden in the boot.
Open the tailgate, and you’ll see three high-pressure fuel tanks containing hydrogen and natural gas, leaving little room for luggage. Simply flick a switch on the dashboard, and the gases are mixed up with petrol before being injected into the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine underneath the bonnet.
Video: watch our video review of the Marangoni Evoque
The engine itself has been fitted with a larger turbocharger and bigger stainless steel exhausts to help boost power from 237bhp in the standard Evoque to 296bhp. When running on a hydrogen-petrol mix, CO2 emissions are reduced by up to 30 per cent over the standard car.
The flamboyant interior – designed with the help of Italian fashion house Conte of Florence – is just as eye-catching as the exterior. There’s a bright red roof finished in Alcantara, as well as quilted part-leather seats.
But from behind the steering wheel, the driving experience is surprisingly normal. This Evoque may have almost 50bhp more than the standard car, but those fuel tanks in the boot add around 100kg to the kerbweight. That means it feels just as quick as the 7.1-second 0-62mph time Range Rover claims for the standard car.
All the extra weight in the boot has led Marangoni to fit larger ten-piston brakes, too. The effect is slightly more bite initially but they are consistent, no matter what speed you are stopping from. The tuners also felt the Evoque’s well judged suspension was good enough, so the HFI-R still boasts the ability to soak up rough roads, without suffering too much body roll in corners.
This Evoque focuses on style, and the HFI-R delivers a very unique look that will appeal to some, if not all. But there’s no denying the clever tech that cuts CO2 emissions – or, importantly, the impressively grown-up driving experience.