Shocked, excited and intrigued. Those were the exact 3 words that came to our minds here at Romans International when we heard the news that Rolls Royce was launching a brand new supersized luxury 4×4. Our immediate questions were that, does this go against Rolls Royce’s heritage, core values and brand image and or has BMW (the owner of Rolls Royce) influenced a masterful move for the luxury marque to head into this unchartered territory.
Rolls Royce made the announcement last week in a one page open letter from the Chairman Peter Schwarzenbauer and CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös to all stakeholders, which explained that Rolls-Royce will be taking their time in developing a completely new concept in luxury.
Urged by customer demand to develop a supersize 4×4 as well as the company’s intention to consistently innovate and expand their brand offering, Rolls Royce dealers will aim to see these in showrooms by 2017. The timing for the announcement comes on the back of numerous other luxury brands entering the 4×4 market with the Bentley Bentayga due on sale in 2016 bound to be its main competitor as they both look to capture Range Rover’s crown as the ultimate luxury 4×4.
Could it be a plug-in-hybrid?
Speculation suggests the new 4×4 will feature a developed version of the Phantom’s 6.8-litre V12, which could even be a hybrid considering the much-reported Rolls-Royce’s advancements in plug-in hybrids. It is believed the chassis will be based on an all new aluminium structure like the Phantom space frame which would make it considerably bigger than it’s less expensive rivals. Prices are thought to match those commanded for current models bearing the Spirit of Ecstasy, so customers can expect to pay between £250,000 and £280,000 although nothing is confirmed yet.
As for a name, it’s likely to change somewhat from the codename RR31, but details are yet to be disclosed. Rolls Royce claim that it is more likely to be a name than a number, continuing a theme set by the Phantom, Ghost and Wraith in recent years.
When speaking about the developments, Müller-Ötvös said that that it was important for customers to hear about the news as early as possible so that they can be informed of the company’s enthusiasm for the idea, which means that we will just have to be patient for more news.