Rolls-Royce is plotting revolutionary new models – a 16-cylinder roadster and an SUV – as it considers an additional car besides the Phantom and Ghost ranges. The latest CAR magazine – out Wednesday 20 February – is breaking the story, based on detailed information and interviews.
The Goodwood firm is acutely aware of Bentley’s plans for an SUV, and is assessing a counter-move. ‘We’re monitoring the competition’s activities,’ says Rolls-Royce boss Harald Krüger, ‘and we’re regularly debating whether to take action. This applies to all brand segments and technologies.’
The Rolls roadster: first details
But the news that will get enthusiasts’ pulses racing is that of a Rolls-Royce supercar, packing a 16-cylinder engine like the Bugatti Veyron’s. Rolls-Royce has long been mulling over a mighty engine: 2004’s 100EX concept ran a monstrous 9.0-litre V16. Engineering sources are kicking themselves that the V16 hasn’t yet made production: it was ‘a mistake’ not to put it into the Phantom, says one source, to differentiate it from the cheaper but more powerful Ghost.
While the roadster’s V16 would effortlessly summon at least 700bhp, don’t expect Rolls to go chasing world record top speeds like the Veyron. Rolls’ customers are more interested in refinement, luxury and craftsmanship, than topping 268mph.
Rolls’ advanced design have sketched the roadster with a long nose, stubby tail and a raked windscreen, as illustrated in our computer-generated image. The car would have only two seats, and a meticulously insulated soft-top roof. The aluminium spaceframe chassis would be loosely related to the next Phantom’s, which will be on sale by 2016.
Don’t mistake the super-roadster for the forthcoming Wraith, a Ghost coupe which will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show on Tuesday 5 March. This cut-down and stiffened up Ghost will be the most powerful Rolls in history – at least until the V16 roadster makes production. For more info on Rolls’ future plans, read CAR’s four-page dossier, on sale Wednesday.