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First look: Bouncing ‘baby’ Roller set for Geneva

Geneva birth: The Rolls-Royce 200EX 'baby' will line-up beside the bigger Phantom from 2010.

Rolls-Royce 200EX designed to chase a younger clientele

20 Feb 2009

IT MIGHT be Rolls-Royce’s new ‘baby’, but that doesn’t mean it is small. The Rolls-Royce 200EX production-ready concept, to be unveiled at the Geneva motor show on March 3, is larger in most critical dimensions than parent company BMW’s new long-wheelbase 7 Series flagship with which it shares some underpinnings.

The long-awaited V12 four-door saloon is the basis for a new model series due for production next year, slotting under the 2003 Phantom and becoming the second all-new model to reach production since BMW took the helm.

The final production model – to be christened at the Frankfurt motor show later this year – is expected to be priced between $400,000 and $500,000 when it goes on sale in 2010.

At 5399mm long, the big baby Roller is 187mm longer than the stretch ‘L’ version of the BMW 7 Series. The wheelbase is also 85mm longer at 3295mm.

50 center imageTo be built at Rolls-Royce’s Goodwood plant, the new car will be powered by a “new-generation” V12 engine, no doubt sourced from BMW.

With styling that is almost racy compared with the Phantom, designers have set out to broaden the appeal of Rolls-Royce. However, it shares family design cues and signature features – such as the rear-hinged rear doors – with the bigger Roller.

The “coach” doors open through 83 degrees, offering what Rolls-Royce calls “the widest rear access in the car industry as well as providing the warmest of welcomes to those about to step inside”.

At the front, a pair of LED headlamps flank the latest evolution of the world’s most famous grille, which designer Ian Cameron described as “less reminiscent of the traditional ‘Parthenon’ style and more like a jet intake.” “200EX is a touring saloon with more than a little panache and perhaps more bravado than one might have expected from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars,” Mr Cameron said.

While the interior retains the leather-and-wood drawing-room of all Rolls-Royces, the design team says the 200EX has been modernised for a new, contempory ambience.

The 200EX name – which will not make it into production – echoes the nomenclature of experimental Rolls-Royce cars since the first – 1EX, built in 1919 – to the most recent, the 101EX, in 2006.

The show car, which is said to be near-identical to the production model, is finished in Darkest Tungsten, with silver satin finishes on the bonnet and A-pillars.

Meanwhile, the flagship Phantom is also getting a lift, with a facelift set to go into production in the next few weeks.

Rolls-Royce says its designers have harmonised the front the car with that of the Phantom Drophead Coupé and Phantom Coupé, giving the sedan a new streamlined front bumper integrated with a shallower grille finished in stainless steel.

Bigger 21-inch alloy wheels are standard, and two other wheels designs in forged alloy are optional, in either painted or part polished finishes.

Door handles get LED illumination, while rear-seat passengers will have a new auxiliary audio and visual connectivity to the 12-inch monitors mounted in the picnic tables.

New front and rear door cappings with integrated grab handles and new bi-directional double reading lights in the C-pillar provide additional illumination.

Controls for the rear climate control, volume control and electric windows have been repositioned, in a wood veneer panel in the door.

Read more:

First look: Rakish new Roller is no baby

First drive: Phantom opera rolls on with Coupe

Drophead gorgeous: New Roller flagship hits Oz

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