Rolls-Royce shows 'small' model

  • 19-Mar-2009 11:39 EDT

The Rolls-Royce RR4, due in 2010, is likely to draw heavily on the 200EX experimental car. (Newspress)

Rolls-Royce unveiled the 200EX experimental car at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, which the BMW subsidiary described as a design study for a contemporary four-door saloon that shows the direction for RR4, a new model series from Rolls-Royce due for production in 2010. The 200EX follows on from the 2006 101EX, which set the scene for the Phantom Coupe launched in 2008.

The same group of designers and engineers, under Chief Designer Ian Cameron, is responsible for the 200EX. Their design brief was simply “to create a modern, lithe, and dynamic Rolls-Royce that bears all the hallmarks of the great cars that have gone before it: effortless performance, unparalleled refinement, exquisite quality, and confident design.” Cameron described the 200EX as “a touring saloon with more than a little panache and perhaps more bravado than one might have expected from a Rolls-Royce Motor Car.”

Despite the modern interpretation, 200EX carries many design features that mark it as a Rolls-Royce—such as the elevated prow, the long bonnet with short front overhang, and raked A-pillars. The car carries the rear-hinged rear doors, first seen on the Phantom, too, which Rolls-Royce claims gives the widest rear access in the car industry. The doors open to 83 degrees.

LED headlamps flank the modern interpretation of the Rolls-Royce grille. “We wanted this to be less reminiscent of the traditional 'Parthenon' style and more like a jet intake,” said Cameron.

There are plenty of traditional features in the interior such as the violin-key switches, eyeball air vents, and black steering wheel, which itself incorporates a number of violin keys and a roller-ball control. The interior is finished in natural grain Crème Light leather, with Cornsilk carpets, cashmere blend headliner, and Santos Palissander wood veneer.

The 200EX is 5399 mm (212.6 in) long, 1948 mm (76.7 in) wide, and 1550 mm (61.0 in) tall, and it's built on a 3295-mm (129.7-in) wheelbase. In other words, it is small by Rolls-Royce standards.

It has 255/45 R 20 tires at the front and 285/40 R 20 at the rear. Drivetrain details released were limited to the engine; it is a V12.

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