Auto blogSun, 02 Jun 2013 13:01:00 EST
The on-again, off-again discussion regarding the rumored Rolls-Royce SUV seems to be back in the "maybe" camp now. In February, we heard that Rolls-Royce was considering adding an SUV, but then in April, another report said that these rumors had been shot down. Automobile is now saying that this ultra-luxury SUV could be determined by the success of the equally uncertain BMW X7 (on which the R-R SUV would be based), which we've heard little on since 2011.
Although the article is based solely on speculation, there are some interesting details about such a potential Rolls-Royce, including a plug-in hybrid drivetrain using a twin-turbo V8 (not a V12) and a chassis and body built in South Carolina with final assembly taking place in Goodwood - where all Rolls-Royce cars are built. We could also assume that a green light for a Rolls-Royce SUV would be based on the success of rival SUVs like the Bentley Falcon and Maserati Levante.
Seeing as it adheres to the exotic car template we've known for years, it should surprise no one that the next model from Rolls-Royce will reportedly be a convertible version of the Wraith. When the coupe is on its way to dealers at the end of this year, company CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös has told Autocar that the British luxury marque start applying itself to the convertible.
At no time will they apply themselves to an SUV, though. Still sticking to its brand-value guns, Müller-Ötvös says that an SUV wouldn't have that trademark Rolls-Royce feeling and that such a vehicle hasn't even been discussed. Having heard this before from other brands, we can't help but suspect that one day in the future we'll hear the phrase, "Oh, but this is the Rolls-Royce of SUVs."
The investment in an SUV would also mean a huge investment in the factory at Goodwood, however, since Wraith production is expected to need three shifts and raise levels to near capacity. And forget about building anything from The Spirit of Ecstasy somewhere else, Müller-Ötvös saying, "Rolls-Royces are built in Goodwood."
While there isn't too much competition in the "vehicles priced more than houses" market, automakers still have to keep their products fresh, and it looks like the Rolls-Royce Ghost could be getting a slight facelift for 2014. Like the rest of the Ghost, these spy shots show that Rolls-Royce even makes exquisite body camouflage as it takes a close look to really see that any material has been added to the face.
From what we can tell, though, it looks like the Ghost might be getting a nip/tuck to the front end. This will bring its appearance closer to what we saw on the Rolls-Royce Wraith - the coupe version of the Ghost that debuted back in March at the Geneva show - reshaped headlights that feature LED running lights and also what appear to be LED turn signals. More minor changes to the Ghost include restyled door mirrors that might get some aero tweaks, as well as a smooth rear fascia devoid of visible exhaust outlets.
What we don't know is whether the Ghost will also be getting the more powerful version of the V12 found in the Wraith that produces 624 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, versus the current Ghost's 563 hp and 575 lb-ft.
Among the harvest of premieres at the Shanghai Motor Show was a special-edition Rolls-Royce Ghost to celebrate the 1913 Austrian Alpine Trials. Four Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts entered the race a century ago, and in completing the 1,820-mile challenge flawlessly earned the sobriquet "The Best Car in the World." The new Ghosts commemorating the feat represent two firsts for the brand: Rolls-Royce has never created a bespoke homage to one of its own cars, and it has never released a car with a black grille.
Those two features, as well as blue paint and black wheels, are in tribute to James Radley's privateer entry in that 1913 race that drove alongside the three factory teams. Other special features include the coachline (pinstripe) that evokes the four cars from the 20th-century race, and inside, a color-matched headliner, a clock with the rally stages and times, and topographical inlays on the front fascia and rear picnic tables.
The 20-Ghost Club will be reenacting the event this year, the parade including Radley's 1913 car. It kicks off in Vienna, Austria on June 14. For the time being you can read the press release below and check out the high-res photos above.
Rolls-Royce has unveiled a special version of its extended-wheelbase Ghost, called FAB1, with the hopes of helping to raise more than one million pounds (roughly $1.5 million) for a UK charity named Breast Cancer Care. Over the next year, the FAB1 Million Project will see this pink Ghost used to raise money by renting it out for special events and occasions with all of the proceeds going to the charity.
More than just a pretty pink paint job, though, this Ghost demonstrates some of the bespoke options you can order from Rolls-Royce, including pink carpeting, pink leather, pink center caps and even a pink umbrella tucked into the door. The full press release for this Ghost can be found below.
It's not often that we get to talk about a new Rolls-Royce, what with the fact that the company's current model line is basically made up of two vehicles. But that all changes here at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, with the introduction of what might be the most emotional Roller of modern times, the Wraith.
The new two-door Rolls is effectively a Ghost coupe, and it stands to reason that this is Royce's answer to the Bentley Continental GT, albeit at a higher price point. Much higher, actually - the 245,000-euro - $320k USD - price of entry for the Wraith is about $100,000 more than a Continental GT Speed coupe. Woof. And to our eyes, all that extra money isn't buying you much in the looks department, as the collective opinion of the Autoblog editors on-site in Geneva is that it's more imposing than elegant.
But the Wraith will no doubt be a special, exclusive, impressive machine for anyone who plunks down that sort of cash. For starters, it's powered by a V12 that puts out an impressive 624 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque mated to an eight-speed ZF "Satellite Aided" transmission. This nifty cog-swapper actually works with GPS to not only pre-select the right gear for the portion of road you're on, but for the next portion of you'll be driving on, as well. That, friends, is cool.
Bentley may have rounded out the redesign of its Continental line of cars with the new Flying Spur four-door's debut at this week's Geneva Motor Show, but Rolls-Royce has shown up in Switzerland with the Wraith, a GT coupe version of the Ghost sedan that moves the brand one step closer to having an answer for everything that wears a Flying B.
The Wraith's natural combatant would be Bentley's Continental GT Coupe, though as all Rollers come in orders of magnitude more expensive than their already costly competitors from Crewe, the new coupe's €245,000 initial starting price will be $100k USD more than the base price of the most expensive Continental, a GT Speed coupe.
What your CEO bonus money will get you is a 624-bhp V12 engine cranking out 590 pound-feet of torque. The sprint to 60 miles per hour will pass by in 4.4 seconds, with a unique 8-speed ZF automatic transmission snapping off shifts using a new Satellite Aided Transmission technology that works with GPS to pre-select the right gear for not only the road you're on, but the road you'll be coming up on ahead.
In its fourth and final teaser before the 2014 Wraith is introduced next week, Rolls-Royce has released another image of the car showing a distinct fastback appearance. We've seen this car teased in its profile before, but that image had a heavy shadow over the rear of the car obscuring what should be the Wraith's defining element.
Rolls-Royce motorcars aren't exactly known for having overtly sporty proportions, but this could all change with the Wraith's styling. Judging by the teased drawing and official words from Rolls-Royce, the coupe's roofline will flow practically in a straight line from the A-pillar back to the rear of the car. With such a design, the Wraith could well become one of the world's most elegant and expensive hatchbacks, though it may also have a conventional hinged trunk opening.
Over the last month, we've also seen a rear shot of the car as well as glimpse of what the interior has in store, but the two images showing the car's profile give us our best idea of what to expect when the car is unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. Until then, you can check out our winter testing spy shots and read a brief quote from Rolls-Royce design director Giles Taylor in the press release posted below.
Those of you that took our tip and tuned in for last night's Academy Awards may have caught the latest iteration of the famous Grey Poupon commercials, featuring a pair of Rolls-Royce sedans and their condiment-loving stewards. The update to the 1981 commercial was only shown in part on television, however, as the mustard company directed viewers to its website to see the entirety of the Lost Footage spot. Of course if you didn't bother then, you can just scroll down to see the full-length two-minute commercial here.
As you're viewing, note that the Grey Poupon marketers did not, it would appear, get official sanction from Rolls-Royce this time around. While the Rollers in the commercial have all sorts of James Bond-like accouterments, they don't appear to have the official Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornaments, for example, and they have restyled lights and grilles. Check out the new spot below, and see if it stacks up to the iconic Pardon Me original.
Rolls-Royce may be working on a new, mega-powerful roadster for 2017. CAR reports the convertible would conceivably boast a V16 engine. Of course, the report gets a little muddled here, with CAR saying the engine would be very similar to that of the one that powers the Bugatti Veyron - the French machine makes use of a W16 mill. Even so, the article says the Rolls-Royce version could put down around 700 horsepower. Design wise, we're told the creation will feature a suitably long nose with the passenger compartment pushed far to the rear.
Of course, 2017 is a long way off, and the thought of a 16-cylinder, naturally aspirated engine bowing under the crush of ever more stringent government fuel efficiency and emission regulations seems unlikely. We'll just put this one in the wait-and-see file for the time being. In the interim, you can hop over to CAR for a closer look at the magazine's rendering of the would-be roadster. If a V16 convertible does happen, look for a smug look on Rowan Atkinson's face.
Oh, and about that SUV? There's not much to report, though CAR does note that officials are keeping a close eye on rival Bentley and its plans for a luxury utility vehicle. Rolls brand boss Harald Krüger has even gone so far as to admit "we're regularly debating whether to take action."