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First look: Rakish new Roller is no baby

Aggressive: RR4 has a "more informal presence" than the Phantom.

Rolls-Royce reveals first images of its new "baby", the sub-$500,000 RR4 sedan

27 May 2008

ROLLS-ROYCE has revealed the first images of its new entry-level model line codenamed the RR4, the engineering development program for which is fully underway.

Signed off in 2007, the RR4's more dynamic and youthful exterior design was revealed today in the UK via two styling sketches that clearly show a radically low-slung four-door sedan with Rolls-trademark long bonnet, super-short overhangs and an impossibly narrow daylight opening beneath a sleek, near-flat roofline.

The as-yet-unnamed fourth new-generation model to be developed by the historic British brand under BMW ownership follows the Phantom sedan, convertible and coupe, which has entered production after it appeared at Geneva in March.

Smaller and more affordable than the V12-powered Phantom sedan, which carries a $915,000 sticker price here, the "baby" Roller is expected to be priced between $400,000 and $500,000 when it goes on sale globally in 2010.

50 center imageThe RR4 will be built on a separate new production line to the Phantom model series at its "completely reconfigured" Goodwood manufacturing facility, which will also feature extended paint, wood and leather shops and next year adds a second shift as full production gears up.

It will also be built at R-R's refurbished Sussex plant and is expected to sire a model family similar to the Phantom's. Rolls-Royce has confirmed the initial sedan version will be powered by a new engine, unique to the brand.

"Effortless performance and standard-setting levels of comfort and efficiency, executed with the utmost care and attention, remain fundamentals of Rolls-Royce design," said chief Rolls-Royce designer Ian Cameron.

"The RR4 has a more informal presence than the Phantom models with a greater emphasis on driving. In design terms this is expressed through its slightly smaller dimensions and more organic form, yet with powerful, purposeful proportions. It is a true and uncompromising Rolls-Royce in every sense." The RR4 will be positioned as the next step up from BMW's own 7 Series sedan flagship, which itself will be replaced by a new model to appear at the Paris motor show this September.

Rolls-Royce says its newest model - which won't be as large as the 5834mm-long, 2550kg Phantom, but won't be compact either - will fill a vacant luxury market niche between the Phantom family and Bentley's model range.

Aimed at a larger, younger audience than the Phantom sedan, which is itself expected to be replaced in 2013, the RR4 is expected to further reduce the average age of Rolls-Royce customers, which has dropped by more than 10 years to the high 40s since the Phantom was released in 2003.

The RR4's production approval was revealed last September in Munich by BMW AG chairman Norbert Reithofer.

"RR4 will mark a milestone in the history of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars," said RRMC chairman Ian Robertson.

"The business continues to go from strength to strength and the introduction of this new model will expand the appeal of the brand. We look forward to this next chapter with anticipation and confidence." Likely to be the subject of a slow-release reveal campaign during 2009, the RR4 is expected to lift Rolls-Royce sales by three to four times from 2010.

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