Good oil: Super-rich can’t get enough of Rolls-Royce’s SUV
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While Jaguar Land Rover is laying off staff and Honda is closing its European doors, it seems that producing million-dollar uber-luxo barges and “High Riding Vehicles” for the world’s super-rich is a surefire way of remaining in rude health.
Just ask the catchphrase for all things perfect, Rolls-Royce. The Anglo-Germanic carmaker is building its Cullinan SUV as fast as it can, with 100 per cent of the manufacturer’s capacity to make half-million-dollar-plus vehicles totally fulfilled.
The luxury brand has even had to take on 200 extra production staff at its Goodwood factory to keep up. And remember that, with Rolls-Royce’s extensive options list and customisation offering, almost every Cullinan is slightly different from the last.
So each Cullinan takes a bit longer to build than your average BMW 3-Series. Despite feeling rather bullish about the Cullinan’s prospects (it should easily leapfrog the Dawn to become Rolls-Royce’s biggest-seller this year), the idea when you’re playing — or building — in this rarified air, is to carefully peg back supply to stay just shy of demand.
Rolls-Royce doesn’t want to become a sort of ermine cloak-wearing version of VW. Rolls-Royce sold 4107 vehicles globally during 2018, but the Cullinan won’t represent a massive increase in that number.
Still, we’re sure the Cullinan will become a frequent sight on Dubai and Miami streets, and you won’t be able to get to your Uber outside posh London hotels for Rolls-Royce’s luxo- SUVs clogging the forecourt.
Hybrid supercar no bull for Lamborghini
Photo / supplied
Italian performance car manufacturer Lamborghini is set to unveil a limited-edition hybrid-powered supercar at the Frankfurt motor show in September.
The so-called “eco supercar” is expected to take some of its dramatic styling cues from the Terzo Millenio EV show car and will sit alongside other low-volume specials Lamborghini has pieced together for a handful of collectors over the years, including the Reventon and Veneno.
The hybrid — codenamed LB48H — will be available only to 63 owners; all of whom have already slapped down deposit cheques.
Of course, the Terzo Millenio EV merely offset power from its massive 6.5-litre V12 fossil fuel-burner with an electric motor on the front axle; you’d have to hope any serious stab at a more environmentally friendly supercar by the manufacturer would possibly need to try a bit harder to win some eco credentials.
Or possibly not; despite its over-the-top design study skin, the hybrid supercar is likely to remain very much mid-engined V12 in nature with the Aventador blueprint remaining under the sheet metal.
Lamborghini has also said the hybrid system will only have a range of between 30km-50km on battery-power alone. Still, as long as you live less than 30km from your friendly local club circuit ...
Lifestyle and lap times
The Hyundai i30 N. Photo / Ted Baghurst
It was only a matter of time, and you can’t really blame Hyundai for going there.
UK publication Auto Express says the Korean manufacturer is planning a hotly tuned N version of its Tucson mid-size SUV. With the idea of the performance SUV having become a crucial aspect of any self-respecting carmaker’s roster, being able to deliver a vehicle that shouts “Lap times!” while remaining all about “lifestyle” is the new gold standard.
Hyundai wowed the industry with its genuinely impressive i30 N hot hatch last year (a car which became a “best of the year” contender for a multitude of media outlets, Driven included), so the idea of the same firepower inside a slightly more practical compact SUV skin is a no-brainer.
The model will allow Hyundai to take on the likes of Audi’s SQ5 and the incoming Cupra Ateca performance off-shoot from Spanish manufacturer Seat.
The idea of a Hyundai rivalling Euro models like these might have raised eyebrows five years ago, but not now.
Auto Express says Hyundai insiders are tight-lipped on performance figures, but the Tucson N would need to boast 250kW peak power to be in the race for the world’s fastest school run.
Tucson N aside, what we’re fizzing about is the prospect of a Hyundai i20 N, which is due for release early next year and will take on the Volkswagen Polo GTI and Ford Fiesta ST.
Sounds like fun?
We’re hoping that’ll be an understatement.