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First look: Rolls' 101EX concept

Coupe de grace: Rolls-Royce's expected 101EX Concept-based flagship is on its way.

BMW is preparing a Phantom-based uber-luxury hardtop spun off its 101EX concept

3 Mar 2006

ROLLS-ROYCE has unveiled a second "experimental" car that is destined for production.

The hand-built 101EX hardtop points to a forthcoming two-door coupe that will sit alongside the 100EX-based convertible due for release in 2007. Examples have already been seen undergoing testing in Europe.

Visually the coupe borrows heavily the juggernaut styling of the convertible but the roofline is lower than the Phantom and there is a shallower glass area.

It uses the same lightweight aluminium construction developed for the Phantom, although the body is 240mm shorter.

A full four-seater, the coupe also sticks with the forward opening twin coach doors, which add to its rakish looks.

The streamlined styling starts at the front with the famous grille, discreetly reclined, and extends back across a brushed aluminium bonnet and windscreen surround.

The rest of the sleek bodywork is finished in dark tungsten. Massive new 21-inch forged aluminium wheels complete the exterior look.

Inside, the cosseting interior features precisely machined aluminium trim highlights, hectares of lush leather and enough rosewood and red oak veneers to worry anti-wood chip protesters.

50 center imageA quant touch is the special roof-lining, which consists of hundreds of fibre optic cables woven into the headlining to give the impression of a star-filled night sky.

Power, as they say in Rolls parlance, is more than adequate with a 6.75-litre V12 under the bonnet.

The company chairman and chief executive, Ian Robertson, said the 101EX employed the same engineering philosophy as the Phantom "balancing high technology with hand craftsmanship".

"It illustrates the position of strength from which we operate and points the way for potential new models," he said. Precisely!

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