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Rolls-Royce SUV will use aluminum-intensive, bespoke platform

Rolls-Royce Phantom Nighthawk
For click-counting online media types, the speculation over whether Rolls-Royce would build an SUV is the stuff dreams are made of.

But now that Rolls has confirmed that it will build an SUV, it’s time to start speculating about what that vehicle will be like.

The latest tidbit is that the Rolls SUV will use an aluminum space-frame chassis not shared with any models from parent company BMW.

That comes from Rolls CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes, who recently told Automotive News Europe (subscription required) that the SUV will make extensive use of aluminum.

Rolls isn’t usually that concerned with keeping the girth of its vehicle in check, but some weight-saving measures are probably a good idea here. It’s not hard to imagine an SUV from the company that builds the nearly 6,000-pound Phantom generating its own gravitational field.

While some components will be shared with the upcoming BMW X7, the SUV will also be mostly Rolls designed. That contrasts the approach taken with the brand’s last all-new models – the Ghost sedan and Wraith coupe – which both ride on the BMW 7 Series platform.

Oetvoes said the Rolls SUV won’t be a genuine off-roader, but it will be capable of “going from the opera to the Alps, with enough room for passengers and all of their gear.”

An early design was shown to about 50 U.S. Rolls owners last year, but as we reported previously, finding a look that stays true to the traditional Rolls identity may prove difficult.

The first test mules of the Rolls SUV are expected to hit the road over the next few months, ahead of a targeted 2018 on-sale date.

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