When Rolls Royce announced that it would officially be developing an SUV, there were many skeptics who felt that an SUV might ruin the brand’s heritage. Fellow British luxury car maker, Bentley, suffered a bit of the same skepticism and is considered by many to not be a real Bentley. So there are many RR and BMW fans that feel the same will apply to the SUV from Goodwood.
However, Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group’s design boss, assures us that the future Rolls Royce Culling SUV will be a very classy SUV that will stick with the brand’s heritage. “You can be assured that it will not be a monster truck, don’t worry”.
van Hooydonk does admit that creating a Rolls Royce SUV that fits the SUV bill but also keeps within the brand’s heritage is no easy task. “It was somewhat daunting to do an SUV for that brand,” However, van Hooydonk does go on to say that a Rolls Royce SUV isn’t actually that far out of the brand’s wheelhouse. In fact, many of the original vehicles made by RR had higher ride heights than normal and were rugged enough to handle some rougher roads. “There are a lot of stories to tell about Rolls-Royce,” van Hooydonk told Top Gear recently at the Concorso d’Elegance. “When the brand started, typically the cars had a lot of ground clearance and huge wheels, and were used by Maharajas and other people to drive from Europe to the Far East.”
The reason for the more versatile nature of those Rolls Royces was that our current automotive segments didn’t exist, so companies just made cars that needed to be made and weren’t worried about brand images. Plus, roadways weren’t anywhere near our current standard. “That was a time when the automotive world had not even figured out these different segments or categories – they were just cars. And there weren’t many good roads either,” said van Hooydonk. “When we dug into the history of Rolls-Royce, we struck upon these kinds of cars and thought, there might be a way.”
So, despite the detractors, it seems as if Rolls Royce and BMW are committed to staying true to the heritage of the brand and understand the difficulties that come with developing such a Rolls Royce SUV.