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Rolls-Royce set to drop the top again

Open for business: Rolls-Royce’s Wraith coupe is believed to be the base of a new open-top tourer being readied for launch in 2016.

New-generation ‘Corniche’ based on Wraith coupe confirmed by Rolls-Royce

6 Aug 2014

HOLLYWOOD millionaires, get excited – one of the favourite cars of the movie industry elite is set to make a comeback in 2016.

Rolls-Royce has confirmed that it is putting the finishing touches to a new open-top tourer that promises “the perfect marriage of modern Rolls-Royce luxury, style and elegance with an engaging and exhilarating driving experience”.

It says the “drop-head tourer” will build on the success of its current models – Phantom, Ghost and Wraith – when it arrives in mid 2016, potentially as a rival to the Bentley Continental two-door convertible.

“The new car is currently undergoing a rigorous process of prototype testing as it enters its next stage of development,” Rolls-Royce said in a statement from its Goodwood headquarters in England.

British news reports suggest the car is based on the Wraith coupe, which itself was based on the entry level Ghost sedan. In turn, the Ghost owes its platform to BMW’s 7 Series.

Although no name has been mentioned, Rolls-Royce reportedly has a working name of Wraith Drophead Convertible, but Britain’s Autocar says the company is considering reviving the well-loved Corniche nameplate.

The Rolls-Royce Corniche was sold as a two-door coupe and convertible from 1971 to 1995.

Powered by a 6.7-litre V8, the Corniche was also sold as a Bentley in the days when the two brands co-existed.

The new model is expected to get the same underpinnings as the Wraith, which currently is powered by a twin-turbo 6.6-litre version of BMW’s V12.

Producing 465kW of power and 800Nm of torque, the engine drives the rear wheels via ZF’s ubiquitous eight-speed automatic transmission.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive officer Torsten Müller-Ötvös confirmed the development of the new model, saying it would be a “thoroughly contemporary interpretation of a pinnacle drophead tourer which will introduce even more discerning men and women to Rolls-Royce ownership”.

Rolls-Royce chairman Peter Schwarzenbauer said the announcement of a new Rolls-Royce model was always a seminal moment in the automobile industry.

“When it arrives in 2016, this elegant and sensuous new car will build on the success of our current models and will play a key part in fulfilling Rolls-Royce Motor Car’s commitment to long-term sustainable growth,” he said.

In Australia, the Wraith coupe sells for $645,000 driveaway. While a convertible version almost certainly will add a sizeable price premium, it will still be short of the most expensive drop-top in the Rolls-Royce range, the $1,075,000 Phantom Drophead Coupe.

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