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Future models - Rolls-Royce - Phantom - Drophead Coupe

First look: Flip-top Roller close to 100EX

Brushed steel: The bonnet is machined steel for a high-lustre finished.

Rolls-Royce expands Phantom line-up with luxury cruiser

15 Jan 2007

GIVEN the wave of new concepts at the Detroit motor show, Roll-Royce’s new Phantom drophead coupe was almost overwhelmed but its statuesque presence still managed to make a big impact.

With prices starting at $US407,000 ($A518,000) the convertible is now on sale in Europe, using the Phantom platform as its base.

However, the convertible uses 1300 new parts especially developed for the convertible and is the first convertible to be offered by Rolls-Royce since 2002, the last being the Corniche.

The convertible will be hand built alongside the Phantom at Rolls-Royce’s manufacturing plant at Goodwood on the south coast of England.

The two-door, four-seater is a less formal interpretation of classic Rolls-Royce design, borrowing elements of the 100EX experimental concept car shown in 2004.

Using the lightweight rigidity of an all-aluminium spaceframe, it marries modern technology to a sleek, streamlined convertible body.

50 center imageThe exterior lines echo the timeless styling of the great Rolls-Royce cars: a long bonnet, large-diameter wheels, short front and long rear overhangs and the quintessential dynamic line descending along its flanks.

Inside, the design emphasises the airy openness of top-down motoring, embracing the elements.

Rolls-Royce chief designer, Ian Cameron, said the convertible uses a number of features first seen on the 100EX like the brushed steel bonnet and A-pillar and the teak decking for the rear hood cover.

The brushed steel is machine finished to give a uniform grain before undergoing extensive hand polishing to achieve a perfect sheen.

At the rear, the teak decking is treated with a carefully blended mix of oils to preserve a natural finish and a long lasting lustre that is as beautiful as it is hardy.

Front opening coach doors have been homologated for the new car and add considerably to the ease of access to the rear seat, as well as to the overall aesthetics.

Unique to Rolls-Royce, the doors dramatically transform the convertible’s looks, giving a side profile reminiscent of classic sports cars of the 1960s.

Crucially, they also aid the overall stiffness of the body as the rear hinged doors allow for an uninterrupted A-pillar.

Luggage is housed within a picnic boot, a split tail compartment that opens in two parts giving easy access to the 315 litres of space.

The lower tailgate provides a comfortable seating platform for two adults when lowered.

Careful engineering of the folding soft-top roof means that it stows in a relatively small space resulting in a luggage compartment that remains unaffected regardless of whether the roof is up or down.

The fabric hood is the largest of any modern convertible car and it is acoustically insulated against the elements and outside noise.

Five layers of material ensure that the cabin remains a serene space, even at speed. Lined with cashmere it has been tailored to stow in a relatively small space.

The convertible’s advanced aluminium chassis is lightweight and exceptionally strong, it impacts positively on ride comfort, handling and safety. Hand made, it requires more than 140m of welding in each chassis.

Power is supplied by the same 6.75-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine found in the Phantom saloon, giving brisk performance and a 0-100km/h time of 5.7 seconds.

Rolls-Royce chairman and chief executive, Ian Robertson, said the convertible would attract new buyers to the marque.

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