Rolls-Royce and Bentley Reportedly Preparing New Luxury Crossovers
With a shrinking economy and rising environmental conscience worldwide, the era of Bigger is Better in automobiles is coming to an end. In its place, customers are demanding more compact automobiles, even in the upper echelons of the market, and it now appears that both Bentley and Rolls-Royce are preparing to meet demand with smaller, more versatile products.
Bentley's plans are coming into focus with reports of a new range to be positioned below the existing Continental and Mulsanne. Sources suggest that the project tentatively known as the New Compact Bentley (NCB) could breed a three-door "shooting brake" (think a sportier take on the estate wagon) and a crossover. Both would sell in the $110-130k range, powered by a 4.5-liter twin-turbo V8 driving 550 horsepower to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Rolls-Royce's plans are a little less clear at this point. The most esteemed of luxury marques recently went down-market with the new Ghost, and is tipped to begin outfitting luxury Minis, but is also said to be working on a new compact crossover of its own. Code-named SHRIMP (for Short High Rugged International Metropolitan Project), the new Rolls would be positioned below its current offerings and take the brand into new territory.