What’s new on the Rolls Geneva motor show stand?
Just one car, but one enormous car with two doors and a hard roof: the Phantom Coupe is the final Roller to complete the Phantom range. It was never going to look any different to the 2006 teaser codenamed 101EX, but it really didn’t need to. And what a way to celebrate 103 years of manufacturing and worldwide sales growth of 25 percent.
Rolls deserve a standing ovation for retaining the hundreds of twinkling fibre optic lights in the Starlight headlining. This alone makes the Coupe cooler than the drop head.
What were they thinking?
You only need to look at the figures to see why Rolls tooled up to build a fixed head Coupe. Two thirds of sales of the drop top are reported to be new customers to the brand and last year Goodwood whittled out 1010 cars. Most headed to America, followed by Russia, though sales are up 50 percent in China. As a result the factory was expanded over Christmas and Rolls are looking to recruit several hundred new dream weavers.
Once again the Coupe utilises father Phantom’s aluminium space-frame but with a 250mm shorter wheelbase and a shaved roofline. Suicide doors, 6.75-litre 48-valve V12 and 21-inch rolling stock as per usual.
The real difference with the Coupe comes from the chassis. According to Chief Exec Ian Cameron this is the stiffest Rolls ever. ‘More sporting, but not a sports car’ he assures the heaving Geneva crowds.
In order to make it hug meanders better the Coupe features beefier anti-roll bars, stiffer rear dampers and modified spring rates. Body roll is consequently reduced and the steering has been tuned to suit. To enhance its sporting credentials the hand stitched leather steering wheel is thicker and features a Sport button which activates a more lively autobox.
In the spirit of a GT, the Coupe has also been equipped with a fuel tank(er) that carries a range of over 372 miles.
In a nutshell
The new Corniche for the new BMW/Goodwood Rolls. Not pretty, but the ultimate Phantom menace. Tally ho, mo fo.