Rolls-Royce 'baby' RR4: first official pictures

Published: 28 May 2008

Rolls-Royce has issued two design sketches of the new RR4 – the long-awaited ‘baby’ Rolls. As you might expect from Rolls-Royce, these things are relative: the RR4 will be longer than a long-wheelbase BMW 7-series and is expected to cost £175,000.

Until now, information on the baby Rolls has been scant, but we can finally add some concrete detail to the story. The official announcement from Goodwood confirms:

• RR4 codename
• Launch in 2010
• Smaller than a Phantom
• ‘Powered by a new engine, unique to Rolls-Royce’
• Priced ‘around £175,000’

Rolls-Royce RR4: the design

The teaser images released by Rolls-Royce reveal a caricature of a smaller limo; it retains the imperious, upright grille and long bonnet template set by the Phantom, but adds a slammed glasshouse and – whisper it – a whiff of Chrysler 300C about the C-pillar.

There’s no denying the impact the car will have, though. From these heavily stylised designer doodles, it looks fresh and more contemporary than the regal Phantom. We just hope the production car retains this flavour.

The design chief speaks

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

‘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.’

Click ‘Next’ to read more about the Rolls-Royce RR4

So when will we finally see the new baby Rolls-Royce?

‘The design was signed off in 2007 and engineering development is now fully underway,’ says the announcement. Further design and engineering details will be announced in 2009 before the car goes on sale in 2010.

The Goodwood, England, manufacturing facilities are being rejigged to squeeze in the second assembly line to accommodate RR4 production, with extended paint, wood and leather shops. Rolls-Royce will switch to two production shifts in 2009.

Rolls Chairman Ian Robertson said: ‘RR4 will mark a milestone in the history of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. 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.’

And how much will the RR4 cost?

Forget other publications’ claims that the baby Rolls will cost up to £300,000; the RR4 is going to cost £175,000 – nearly £100k less than the Phantom. ‘We will never build an entry-level car,’ said a spokesman. ‘All our products must be true Rolls-Royces.’

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By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet