Not so long ago, Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson bemoaningly hypothesized the demise of big engines as he drove the Aston Martin V12 Vantage. He figured the world’s automakers were headed toward smaller displacement, turbocharged engines. Broadly he was right; most automakers are doing away with larger, normally aspirated engines and replacing them with smaller, turbo units – but not all.
Word has come from Car Magazine that bespoke English automaker Rolls Royce is dreaming up a new roadster powered by a V16 engine.
We’ve seen 16-cylinder concepts before. Cadillac had a go at the V16 game with its aptly named “Sixteen” concept car in 2003. Then in 2004 Rolls rolled out the 100EX concept in with a 9.0-liter V16.
According to the Car Magazine story, Rolls Royce engineers are sickened by the fact the brand hasn’t yet produced a V16, saying that it should have implemented the massive powerplant in the current generation Phantom.
Rolls Royce’s premier competitor, Bentley, has stuck with its turbocharged W12 engine that it sourced from its parent company Volkswagen. Where could Rolls get a V16 from? Perhaps Rolls engineers could simply marry together two V8s from BMW, Rolls’ parent company. Imagine how magical that would be.
Beside the upcoming Rolls Royce Wraith unveiling in Geneva next month, Rolls Royce is also reportedly hot on the trail of Bentley in another way. Bentley recently confirmed its SUV concept would be headed for production. Now Rolls aims to follow suit with its own high-end SUV.
Would the V16 find its way into the new Rolls SUV? Only time will tell. Indeed, that’d be a quick way to make a Bentley beater, though.
One thing we imagine about a Rolls Royce SUV: it’d be simply gorgeous. What we’ve always loved about Rolls Royce is that its cars look every bit the part of the price tag they carry. Bentleys on the other hand – though fantastic cars on road and track – haven’t been sculpted with such passion. While Rolls Royces look like wheeled palaces, reminiscent of their storied past, Bentleys look like little more than big cars. Albeit, very expensive big cars.