Rolls Royce has been a synonym for opulence and refinement in the auto world for more than a century. Together with Bentley, its arch rival, Rolls Royce is still holding the torch for all the forgotten luxury automakers that didn’t make it past the great recession. Rivals they may be, the history of Bentley and Rolls Royce is more intertwined than most are truly aware of. In 1931, Rolls Royce actually acquired the Bentley brand before de-merging from the parent company Rolls Royce Limited in 1973 due to bankruptcy and nationalization of the parent company in 1971. Both Rolls Royce and Bentley were later sold to Vickers which subsequently sold the brand to Volkswagen in 1998. In a rather complex turn of events that ensued, it was BMW that ended up with the rights to market Rolls Royce cars, while Volkswagen kept Bentley, the original Crewe assembly and the iconic L Series V8 engine. So, it’s actually Bentley Motors who holds the right of succession over the Rolls Royce brand, but that’s largely insignificant in today’s heavily globalized and exclusively profit-oriented automotive business. In that light, let’s turn to the present and take a look at what the 2019 Rolls Royce lineup has to offer.
The Rolls Royce brand has marketed a total of 3,362 cars on the global level during 2017 which is roughly one-third the result of their Bentley counterpart. More than one-third of this total, or 1,373 units to be more precise, were U.S. sales. Despite trailing Bentley by quite an observable margin, the Rolls Royce brass still have plenty of reasons to be happy. The upcoming 2019 Cullinan SUV should see to the gap’s reduction. What’s more, the U.S. sales deficit might end up being completely annulled in the process. Also, 2017 was the best year for the veteran automaker in the U.S. despite having somewhat shorthanded offerings due to the Phantom’s absence from the market. Projections for MY 2019 are even better due to the already-mentioned Cullinan’s arrival. It would seem the luxury brand will record its best year sales-wise after almost 115 years on the market.
What’s Hot In the New 2019 Rolls Royce Lineup
05. 2019 Cullinan
After months of speculation, one of the most anticipated vehicles of 2019 is finally upon us. It’s been a while since the Rolls Royce brand has invested so many expectations on one particular vehicle, but here they are. The ultra-luxury Cullinan SUV should help them surpass their best-selling-year record with ease and build a healthy foundation for future investments. The company’s very first SUV and very first all-wheel-drive vehicle will be drawing power from an unsurprising choice of engine. The company’s 6.75L twin-turbo V12 should be good enough here for 563 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of twist. All that power will be routed to the ground via an 8-speed ZF-sourced automatic gearbox. Although sounding quite straightforward, the contemporary drivetrain boasts a number of tricks up its sleeve such as the ability to remain in second gear, which could be very useful for getting the 3-ton beast up a steep grade. This is done via the push of a button and shows that the British automaker paid attention to the off-road capabilities of their first-ever SUV.
Although set to compete with the Bentley Bentayga and other mainstream luxury crossovers and SUVs, the 2019 Rolls Royce Cullinan will likely be in a league of its own. The Brits are stuffing it with top-notch materials and the latest technology, which is more than evident from its curb weight of around 6,150 pounds. Another first for Rolls Royce is the Cullinan’s touchscreen display, which states their intention of going hand-in-hand with the times. On the other hand, the large SUV comes with more traditional suicide doors, and a surprising touch at the back. That’s where it sports optional tailgate-mounted jump seats worthy of a “behind the scenes” TV set. Rear interior seats, on the other hand, can be had in two available configs: a lounge with a bench seat or conventional captain’s chairs. Even the base mid $300,000s Cullinan will be one of the most luxurious vehicles available on any market, but the British are still leaving plenty of room for upgrades.
04. 2019 Phantom
The Phantom name stems from the mid-twenties, making it one of the oldest surviving nameplates in the auto industry. At the moment the Phantom is going through its eighth generation, and prospective buyers couldn’t have chosen a better time to jump on board the ultra-luxury full-size saloon’s train. With a generation shift only recently occurring, the 2019 Rolls Royce Phantom will be only the second of many model years for the Phantom VIII. The status symbol of handcrafted luxury cars is the first of many future Royce’s sitting on the company’s new Architecture of Luxury platform. The ride quality is as exceptional as always, and the interior is pretty much what you’d expect from a $450,000 car. Not to mention the numerous customization options which could raise the price tag almost by double. Compared to the outgoing Phantom VII, the new model dons some rather aggressive curves and a definitively more contemporary look. Regardless of how it looks and feels, the upcoming Rolls Royce Phantom will be exclusively sought after by people that don’t really care how much it’ll cost them.
Under the long flat hood and behind the new radiator grille beats the heart of a 6.75L twin-turbocharged V12 mill worthy of 563 horses and 664 pound-feet of torque. Despite weighing between 5,500 and 6,000 pounds depending on chosen options, the 2019 Phantom is still capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. The highly-advanced 8-speed ZF automatic transmission does its best to keep the Phantom under 2,500 rpm and turbo-lag is almost non-existent. The choice between a conventional and extended wheelbase model (8.6 inches longer) will likely dictate whether an owner or a chauffeur are behind the wheel. Almost everything about this car is perfect, but then again, anything else for that kind of money would have been a disappointment.
03. 2019 Black Badge
If you’re unfamiliar with the name, the Black Badge isn’t a model to begin with. Instead, it’s a special edition line for a trio of Rolls Royce vehicles including the Ghost, Wraith, and Dawn. As its name would suggest, the Black Badge is nothing other than a blacked-out version of a conventional model that’s available at an extra price. Before further dissecting what the BB brings to the table, other than a more menacing look and 16 coats of hand-painted black, let’s consider it from an investment perspective. Rolls Royces are already as rare as they come, and these special edition models are even further limited to roughly 15 percent of total production per model. That should doubtlessly increase their value as they mature, so what’s an additional $45,000 for a $310,000 Wraith, for instance, when it could potentially make you double that a decade down the line?
Every Black Badge Rolls Royce takes at least 70 hours of hand-work to complete. Apart from a mandatory black paint job, Black Badge models come with lots of high-gloss chrome. They also feature unique dark interiors of which the Ghost’s Tailored Purple and Black two-tone option really stands out. A $9,175 bespoke audio system is also a part of the package, and so are 21-inch jet-black carbon-fiber composite wheels and a glossy black Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament. The wheels themselves took four years to develop and are made out of no less than 22 layers of carbon-fiber cloth. Performance is another one of the Black Badge’s strong suites. Although BB models share the same 6.6L twin-turbo BMW V12s as conventional units, they make more power than their colorful siblings. The Ghost makes 604 hp instead of 562 hp, the Dawn generates 593 hp instead of 563 hp, while the BB Wraith produces the same 623 horsepower as a conventional unit, albeit by throwing in additional 52 lb-ft of torque. All three units also receive a special version of the 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox.
02. 2019 Wraith
The 2-door grand tourer coupe is the main reason behind the Phantom coupe’s demise, but we won’t hold that against it. After all, the Ghost-derived luxury fastback is the quickest Rolls Royce currently available. Its BMW-sourced 6.6L twin-turbo V12 makes as much as 624 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of twist. Make that 642 pound-feet for the aforementioned Black Badge Wraith, which accelerates to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.1 seconds. The conventional Wraith, on the other hand, does it in 4.3 seconds or thereabouts. Not to mention they weigh around 5,500 pounds each. Apart from a different amount of torque, the two also get a different ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic, whereas their respective top speed remains the same, being drag limited at 155 mph.
The 2019 Rolls Royce Wraith’s biggest visual exploit is its fastback roofline which matches extremely well with the coupe’s two-tone paint job. Don’t let the coupe demeanor fool you, though. The wraith feels and is bigger than most crossovers on the market, if not taller. The interior is every bit as lavish as it is the case with other Rolls Royce models. That shouldn’t really come as a surprise considering the Wraith starts from just under $310,000. The Naim audio system, full leather upholstery, real wood trim, and accustomed set of tech features is what’s also included in the high-priced package. Couple that with impeccable performance and almost sporty handling (as sporty as it gets in such a heavy car) and you have yourself one of the potentially better Rolls Royces for years to come.
01. 2019 Dawn
The 2-door luxury convertible is another Ghost-derived Rolls Royce car. Or, if you’d really want to be specific, an F01 BMW 7 Series-derived car. Without a doubt, it’s the most opulent production convertible money can buy at the moment, and the amount of money you’d need for one comes to at least around $340,000. Despite having exactly the same wheelbase as the Wraith, the new 2-door Rolls Royce Dawn for 2019 is slightly longer. The two share a lot of structural elements but the British say the Dawn boasts no less than 80 percent of its own body panels. Compared to the discontinued Phantom coupe, the 2-door is almost a foot shorter but still more spacious. At the same time, it’s more nimble and more at home in traffic.
Just like the Ghost and Wraith, the Dawn, too, boasts a BMW-sourced 6.6L twin-turbocharged V12 engine. In this instance, the V12 makes “only” 563 ponies in conventional and 593 horses in Black Badge models. Moreover, the convertible weighs almost 5,800 pounds which now makes it both heavier and less powerful than the Wraith coupe. Regardless, the new Rolls Royce Dawn is more than powerful enough to offer respectable effortless acceleration and a comparably effective top speed. Then again, this shouldn’t even come into question when it comes to Rolls Royce cars. Every single one of them.
What’s Not In the New 2019 Rolls Royce Lineup
01. 2019 Ghost
Introduced in late 2009, the Rolls Royce Ghost is currently the oldest car by far in the ultra-luxury British automaker’s lineup. That doesn’t mean it’s outdated, though. Rarely a Rolls Royce car gets outdated, but we simply had to make this observation here. Considering the full-size 4-door sedan hasn’t been fully redesigned in almost a decade, and the fact the company isn’t able to address that issue due to shifting their entire focus to the Cullinan SUV, the 2019 Ghost must be filed under the “to avoid” category. Considering it costs north of $300,000, I’m extremely confident most of us won’t have any trouble doing just that.
Joking aside, the 2019 Ghost is still one extremely capable land yacht. The Series II update from 2014 made sure it’s also competitive with its Bentley Flying Spur rival. The BMW-sourced 6.6L twin-turbo V12 works its magic here as well. The 2019 Rolls Royce Ghost makes 562 hp and 575 lb-ft of twist in its conventional form, and 604 hp and 620 lb-ft in the Black Badge version. It’s worth noting that conventional long wheelbase units have 605 lb-ft of rotational force to throw around, while their power output remains intact. An updated Ghost would be a smart move for the British automaker, but that is unlikely to happen until they sort out everything there is to sort on their priority-one model, the Cullinan.