Rolls-Royce CEO Throws Shade at the Bentley Bentayga

Torsten Müller-Ötvös is unimpressed with the Bentayga’s Audi underpinnings.

byEric Brandt|
Rolls-Royce CEO Throws Shade at the Bentley Bentayga

The Rolls-Royce of insults was recently dished out by Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös. Automotive News Europe reports that at the Phantom launch in London, Müller-Ötvös said "We are not using mass-manufactured body shells. That limits what you can do on the design side, and it undermines exclusivity massively. You don't want a camouflaged [Audi] Q7 in that segment. You want to have a true Rolls-Royce."

This was a not-so-subtle affront to the Bentley Bentayga crossover which shares a platform with the Audi Q7. Compared to a Rolls, a Q7 is a plebeian vehicle in a completely different class than the automotive elegance and opulence offered by the likes of Rolls-Royce. Müller-Ötvös dropped bombs implying that Bentley has lowered its standards if they’re going to put its name on vehicles derived from a brand as pedestrian as Audi.

The “true Rolls-Royce” the executive was talking about is Project Cullinan, a high-end crossover that has yet to be officially unveiled. This will be the first Rolls-Royce SUV, but the brand prefers to call it an “all-terrain high-sided vehicle.” That sure sounds like an SUV to us, but okay.

Project Cullinan will share a platform with the all-new 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom. While it is sharing a platform, it’s a platform that’s exclusive to Rolls-Royce and not shared with parent company BMW.

If Müller-Ötvös is concerned with ultra luxury brands sharing platforms with lesser marques, he should take a look at his own lineup. The Rolls-Royce Ghost, Wraith, and Dawn have an awful lot in common with the BMW 7 Series. Perhaps we’re about to see the end of a platform sharing era for Rolls-Royce and the brand moving even higher up in exclusivity.