A battle of British ultra-luxury brands is underway after Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös took a dig at the Bentley Bentayga. Specifically, the Rolls-Royce CEO called out the Bentley SUV for its Volkswagen Group underpinnings.
The Bentayga is largely based on an Audi Q7, with the bodies for the two vehicles built at the same plant, something Müller-Ötvös appears to find hard to swallow. In contrast, Rolls-Royce's upcoming SUV, thought to be called a Cullinan, will be underpinned by the same brand-exclusive platform used by the new Phantom. The aluminum architecture is not shared with BMW, which owns the British marque.
"We are not using mass-manufactured body shells," he recently told Automotive News (subscription required). "That limits what you can do on the design side, and it undermines exclusivity massively. You don't want a camouflaged [Audi] Q7 in that segment. You want to have a true Rolls-Royce."
2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
Rolls-Royce has gone as far as not referring to the Cullinan as an SUV, either. Instead, the brand prefers to call it a "high-sided, all-terrain" vehicle. Additionally, Rolls-Royce promises the Cullinan will still feature poised and hushed driving dynamics even when taken off-road. Engineers have reportedly developed a new suspension system to ensure the brand's promise is kept, while still delivering off-road capability.
Despite the punch Rolls-Royce has thrown, Bentley likely isn't too worried. The Bentayga has been a sales success and the brand is mulling over additional variants to keep the SUV fresh. Those include the possibility of a coupe-like version and a high-performance Speed.
Rolls-Royce will debut its Cullinan in 2018 with the first sales expected to begin in early 2019.