Rolls-Royce Wraith drop-top confirmed
Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos said: 'The Wraith lends itself very well to a drophead bodystyle – a convertible will be the next model variant we look into.'
While the convertible version of its big brother is called the Phantom Drophead Coupe, it’s likely that Rolls-Royce will choose a unique name for a drop-top version of its new model. Parent company BMW owns the rights to the Corniche name as a trademark, and we’d expect this name to be resurrected for a Wraith convertible.
The Wraith Coupe is expected to be priced from around £235,000. Given the premium that the Phantom Drophead Coupe commands, we’d expect the new convertible to cost from around £270,000. However, since around 70% are expected to be configured using Rolls-Royce's bespoke service, it’s likely that most will cost significantly more.
Muller-Otvos also told What Car? that the company intends to continue using its 12-cylinder engine across the model range, so it’s unlikely the new convertible would be powered by anything else. However, he said that if emissions legislation forced Rolls-Royce to explore alternative powertrains, he would probably 'lean towards a plug-in hybrid'. He has previously called them 'a sensible solution' for the company.
Rolls-Royce previously unveiled an experimental electric Phantom, codenamed 102EX, which was designed to gauge reaction from customers about alternative powertrains. Muller-Otvos said that the response from clients was 'very ambivalent', adding that the torque and refinement from electric was no improvement over the V12 engine.
He played down speculation about a future SUV, saying that while in principle the idea was 'an interesting one', the company had no plans for such a model and was not even investigating such a car.
The company is open to exploring different manufacturing materials, though. When asked if Rolls-Royce could use similar carbon technology to BMW's i3, Muller-Otvos said: 'We would not exclude carbonfibre from production – being so lightweight it would have obvious advantages'.
Muller-Otvos also ruled out a move from the company's factory at Goodwood, West Sussex – despite the fact it is now approaching maximum capacity of 4000 cars a year. He said: 'Rolls-Royce production must be at Goodwood.'
By Ed Callow