It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of an off-roading Rolls-Royce seemed preposterous, but even a brand as traditional as the British maker of ultra-luxury vehicles cannot sit back and ignore the booming demand for SUVs all across the globe.
That’s why, in a letter written to no one in particular, Rolls-Royce chairman Peter Schwarzenbauer and its CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös confirmed plans for a new model, one that "can cross any terrain" while at the same time coddling its occupants in sheer luxury.
Rolls-Royce doesn’t want you to think of its new model as an SUV—that would be too plebeian, it seems. Instead, Rolls-Royce describes it as being a vehicle that meets the highly mobile, contemporary lifestyle expectations of its discerning customers.
Rolls-Royce says the decision to develop an SUV was driven mostly by the urging of its customers but also the pioneering, adventurous spirit of company founders Charles Rolls and Sir Henry Royce. The duo helped secure Rolls-Royce’s reputation last century by taking top honors in rigorous overland adventures such as the Scottish Reliability Trials, the London to Edinburgh event and the Alpine Trials, so there is some history there.
Not much is known about the vehicle itself but Rolls-Royce has confirmed it will be high-bodied and based on an all-new aluminum architecture. It’s possible some of the internals will be shared with the new X7 from parent company BMW, and it's safe to assume that it will cost more than any other SUV on the market. As for the design, Rolls-Royce design chief Giles Taylor is overseeing the project and has previously hinted that a boxy, chiseled look is likely.
Rolls-Royce says it’s in no rush to develop its SUV which means we’re unlikely to see it anytime soon. The automaker will release more details in the meantime and interact with potential customers, enthusiasts and the media along the way to help gather feedback.