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Rolls-Royce to show smaller RR4 at Geneva 2009

Published: 07 August 2008

Rolls-Royce is preparing to show its new 'baby' model, codenamed RR4, at the 2009 Geneva motor show. CAR understands the smaller Rolls will be displayed in concept guise, similar to the 100EX and 101EX models that foreshadowed Rolls-Royce's Phantom Drophead and Coupe models.

A mathematician might assume, therefore, that the next concept will be badged 102EX, although the company could plump for a new name that reflects the new nature of a smaller Rolls.

Rolls-Royce RR4: the latest scoop photos

Our latest spy photos capture the RR4 out on test on the streets of Munich, where the car is being developed, revealing that there's not in fact much that's baby-like or small about the new, fourth Rolls-Royce model.

That imposingly long bonnet, upright stance and sturdy, privacy-protecting C-pillar are clear to see on these latest prototypes. Will the RR4 keep the Phantom's suicide – sorry, 'coach' – doors? It seems likely, judging from one of the test cars pictured here. But there's no telling what BMW's disguise is designed to do; it could be an elaborate decoy...



Why show the new Rolls-Royce RR4 at Geneva?

The company has a long history of showing landmark cars at the Swiss show. The salon has a reputation for being the glitziest and most prestigious of the European shows – and a fitting debut, therefore, for one of the most significant new Rolls-Royces for a generation.

BMW's stewardship of Rolls-Royce is going rather well, CAR reckons. The Goodwood factory outside Chichester in southern England hand-crafted 1000 cars in 2007, and the new RR4 is a well judged addition to the three-strong range.

The company is currently on a two-week summer recess, and the engineers are continuing to put in the second line required to build RR4. Sources suggest that the eventual target – once the baby Rolls lands in showrooms in 2010 – is to build 2000 cars a year.



Click 'Next' for the full scoop on the new baby Rolls

So is this just a giant 7-series?

'Absolutely not' retort Rolls officials, if you dare pose such a question. But there will undoubtedly be shared components between RR4 and the latest iteration of BMW's techfest 7-series (click here for the full story on the new Seven). The basic platform of the two cars will share many similarities, but BMW is quick to point out that the architecture is flexible enough to allow completely different wheelbases, tracks and other crucial differences.

But this is the financial reality of building even top-end cars in the 21st century. Bentleys, Mercedes, Lamborghinis, Ferraris – all use the scale of their parents' network to leverage cost savings and share technical innovations. And it's not as if these prototypes look anything other than regally Rolls-Royce-like.



What's the plan for the Rolls-Royce RR4 then?

The smaller Rolls will cost between £160,000 and £175,000, we hear, and will come initially with a 6.0-litre V12 according to CAR's sources. Zoom in on these spyshots and you can see hefty brake discs the size of Jeeves's tea tray to haul all that bulk back to a stop.

It's too early to say about rumoured diesel and hybrid variants, but parent BMW has strong expertise in both areas. We wouldn't rule out either for the RR4, in the long run at any rate.

The baby Rolls will sire a whole family of cars, including hardtop and a convertible coupe, just like the Phantom. It's significant that Rolls-Royce officially announced the plan for RR4 by heralding 'a new small model series'.

To read our previous scoops on the Rolls-Royce RR4, click on the links at the foot of this page

To see video of the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe in action click on the video player below

 

 

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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