Rolls-Royce Wraith drop-top confirmed

* Next Rolls-Royce to be Wraith convertible * Likely to be called Corniche * Future models could be made using carbonfibre...

Rolls-Royce Wraith drop-top confirmed

The forthcoming Rolls-Royce Wraith will also be offered as a convertible, the manufacturer has 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, its 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 wed 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, wed 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, its 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 its 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.'

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By Ed Callow

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