The new model, although clearly a response to rival Bentley’s long-confirmed and recently named ‘Bentayga’ SUV, is officially the result of considerable customer feedback.
“Many of our discerning customers have urged us to develop this new car - and we have listened,” the company said in a statement today.
Talk of a new Rolls-Royce SUV is nothing new, although the unveiling of Bentley’s EXP 9F concept in 2013 saw the rumour mill kick into overdrive.
Interestingly, Rolls-Royce has steered clear of confirming that it is in fact developing an SUV, but today’s release - accompanied by a tightly-cropped shot of a Rolls-Royce grille in front of a snowy mountain range - leaves little doubt.
“Today we can confirm that we are developing an all-new Rolls-Royce with exceptional presence, a car that offers the luxury of a Rolls-Royce in a vehicle that can cross any terrain,” the company said.
“A high-bodied car … a Rolls-Royce that is as much about the pioneering, adventurous spirit of Charles Rolls as it is about Sir Henry Royce’s dedication to engineering and innovation.”
“History sets our precedent and our future calls us to action.”
An SUV, then. Even more, an off-roading 4x4 SUV.
The company has also confirmed that, like the new Range Rover line-up, its new model will be built on an aluminium architecture.
Little else has been revealed, although design boss Giles Taylor says the new SUV will be carefully positioned so as to not disrupt the Phantom limo’s place as the true Rolls-Royce flagship.
He also hinted at dimensions, confirming the SUV will be “nearly as long” as the Phantom, while promising a “very proud, very modern” design.
Powertrains are still to be confirmed, although a version of the Phantom’s 6.8 litre V12 could feature, and the company is also known to be well into development of a new hybrid system.
The Rolls-Royce SUV will go a long way toward building the company’s volume and appeal in the Chinese market, which is becoming ever more important to the BMW-owned British marque.
It is the global popularity of SUV models, and the booming Chinese market in particular, that has moved many carmakers to introduce more high-riding options, including those not previously known for playing in the segment.
As for the Rolls-Royce SUV, we should see a debut sometime in 2017.
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