Rolls-Royce executives several years ago pooh-poohed the possibility of a crossover with an RR badge. But CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes in January said a crossover is being considered. Bentley and Lamborghini, convinced there’s a market for $200,000-plus cross-overs, are preparing such vehicles for launch within two to three years.
Rolls-Royce also is facing a direct attack from Mercedes-Benz, whose high-tech S-class family will include a $200,000-plus sedan. The new Phantom — although pricier than the Mercedes-Benz replacement for Maybach — reportedly will be lighter and use more high-tech features to counter Mercedes’ attack.
Here is a look at Rolls-Royce’s future product plans.
Phantom: The sedan will be redesigned in 2016 and will shed weight to improve agility and handling. The next-generation Phantom will share its architecture with parent company BMW Group’s redesigned BMW 7-series sedan and rely extensively on lightweight materials. An all-wheel-drive model using BMW’s xDrive system is possible.
A coupe version is likely to follow in about two years, but the two-door may be smaller and sportier than today’s model. A convertible is inevitable, but details about its size and styling are unclear.
Ghost: The smaller sedan gets a freshening this year with some exterior and interior changes. It also gets the automatic satellite-aided transmission that debuted last year on the Wraith. That uses GPS signals to anticipate which gear the car should be in based on location.
Wraith:No changes are expected to the year-old coupe. A two-door convertible based on the Wraith will go on sale by mid-2016. It likely will get a new name.
Crossover: According to reports, Rolls-Royce will launch its first crossover in 2018. The vehicle likely will use a modified version of the BMW X7 platform.
Expect volume to be low — fewer than 3,000 units a year — and the price to be high — $250,000-plus — to position it above the expected Bentley crossover.