Rolls-Royce: We'll Keep Slinging V12s Until the Government Comes and Takes Them Away

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Few automakers clutch tradition with the same vise-like grip as Rolls-Royce. The British motor car builder, which recently debuted a high-bodied car (known in plebian circles as an “SUV”), isn’t planning on following in its rivals’ electrified footsteps just yet.

Oh sure, there’ll be electric cars, even in the coming decade, but the brand’s attachment to 12-cylinder engines — and the upper-crust clout those motors carry — can’t be shaken just because Jaguar and Germany have their sights set on a green stable.

This attitude mirrors Porsche’s devotion to the steering wheel. That said, the brand does have a date in mind for the full electrification of its products.

Are you prepared for 2040? That’s when Rolls-Royce figures the last gasoline-fueled powerplant will disappear from its lineup. A pretty conservative estimate, but Rolls-Royce isn’t known for its enthusiastic adoption of the latest fad. Plus, the brand’s V12s aren’t exactly causing customers to turn up their noses.

Meanwhile, as Rolls-Royce plots a cautious course towards powertrain modernity, upstart British rival Lagonda plans to debut a futuristic electric touring car in 2021.

Speaking to the Financial Times, company CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said that, while electrification would provide a pleasant driving experience, the brand plans to hang on to internal combustion for dear life. He recognizes, however, that government emissions mandates and internal combustion bans will surely make it necessary one day. In that pursuit, France and the UK lead the charge.

“Electrification actually fits extremely well with Rolls-Royce because it’s silent, it’s powerful, it’s torquey, so in that sense it’s a very good fit,” he said before adding, “We will definitely offer 12-cylinder engines as long as we can, as long as it is legally allowed to offer them.”

Currently, the company’s Phantom and Cullinan carries a 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V12, while the Ghost, Wraith, and Dawn make do with a twin-turbo 6.6-liter unit. Müller-Ötvös claims short driving distances — a hallmark of Rolls-Royce lifestyles — means the environment isn’t top of mind for company execs. However, those short distances makes battery power an easy alternative.

“These cars aren’t used extensively, nobody is driving long, long distances, and so the mileage on a Rolls-Royce is lower than the average car would carry,” he said. ”But electrification is the future, full stop. You need to prepare yourself for that.”

[Images: Rolls-Royce]

Steph Willems
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  • Ajla Ajla on May 15, 2018

    "the Ghost, Wraith, and Dawn make do with a twin-turbo 6.6-liter unit" Ima need an "R/R-6.6" decal for the hood

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on May 15, 2018

    How about climate change? Europeans apparently do not care and want US to pay price.

  • Lorenzo Massachusetts - with the start/finish line at the tip of Cape Cod.
  • RHD Welcome to TTAH/K, also known as TTAUC (The truth about used cars). There is a hell of a lot of interesting auto news that does not make it to this website.
  • Jkross22 EV makers are hosed. How much bigger is the EV market right now than it already is? Tesla is holding all the cards... existing customer base, no dealers to contend with, largest EV fleet and the only one with a reliable (although more crowded) charging network when you're on the road. They're also the most agile with pricing. I have no idea what BMW, Audi, H/K and Merc are thinking and their sales reflect that. Tesla isn't for me, but I see the appeal. They are the EV for people who really just want a Tesla, which is most EV customers. Rivian and Polestar and Lucid are all in trouble. They'll likely have to be acquired to survive. They probably know it too.
  • Lorenzo The Renaissance Center was spearheaded by Henry Ford II to revitalize the Detroit waterfront. The round towers were a huge mistake, with inefficient floorplans. The space is largely unusable, and rental agents were having trouble renting it out.GM didn't know that, or do research, when they bought it. They just wanted to steal thunder from Ford by making it their new headquarters. Since they now own it, GM will need to tear down the "silver silos" as un-rentable, and take a financial bath.Somewhere, the ghost of Alfred P. Sloan is weeping.
  • MrIcky I live in a desert- you can run sand in anything if you drop enough pressure. The bigger issue is cutting your sidewalls on sharp rocks. Im running 35x11.5r17 nittos, they're fine. I wouldn't mind trying the 255/85r17 Mickey Thompsons next time around, maybe the Toyo AT3s since they're 3peak. I like 'em skinny.