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Rolls-Royce says that it has reached a seminal moment in the brand’s 111-year journey – the company today confirmed that it is developing a “car that offers the luxury of a Rolls-Royce in a vehicle that can cross any terrain”. Yes, a Rolls-Royce SUV.

In an open letter signed by chairman Peter Schwarzenbauer and CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes, R-R says that the all-terrain model will be a high-bodied car, with an all-new aluminium architecture to keep weight down. A big departure from the marque’s traditional range it may be, but the SUV is promised to appropriately reflect Rolls-Royce’s brand promise of effortless luxury.

The BMW-owned luxury brand, fresh from a record 2014, says that many of its customers have urged them to develop the SUV, which will embody the values that drove Rolls-Royce’s founding fathers to take top honours in overland adventures such as the Scottish Reliability Trails, the London to Edinburgh event and the Alpine Trials. The open letter pointed out that pioneers and adventurers like Lawrence of Arabia used Rolls-Royces to traverse unexplored deserts and mountains.

This rise of the SUV is well documented, and carmakers are cashing in on the trend, from compact B-segment mass market hi-riders like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 to premium offerings like the Range Rover Evoque, Porsche Macan and Lexus NX. Higher up the scale, Maserati is readying the Levante SUV and Bentley will call its 2016 SUV Bentayga.