Rolls-Royce SUV Depends on BMW

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Rolls-Royce wants an SUV, but the determining factor will be whether it can piggy-back on a BMW platform.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom is the size of an SUV. Even in standard wheelbase form, the Phantom is longer than a Range Rover, Audi Q7 or Cadillac Escalade, and it's not much shorter, either. But the British automaker (and its parent company BMW) has been batting around the idea of a proper SUV (or crossover, anyway) for some time now. The latest reports indicate that the plans could be back on the table, but after adapting the Phantom's platform for the purpose was ruled out, the fate of the high Roller will apparently depend on the fate of another model altogether: the BMW X7.

BMW has been considering a competitor to the Mercedes GL, but Rolls will need to wait for its parent to decide first. While the X7 would be a seven-seater, the Rolls-Royce version would accommodate four or five in considerable luxury. The shape is tipped to take the form of an elegant tall shooting brake rather than a rugged truck. While Rolls-Royce buyers expect a V12 these days, a twin-turbo V8 may be more suitable for this model. As for the nameplate, with the names Phantom, Ghost and Wraith already in use, we could see Rolls reviving the Spirit, Shadow or Seraph nameplates, but then this all could end up nothing more than an apparition.

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