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Rolls's baby is go (2009)

Published: 03 October 2006

Baby Rolls-Royce: the lowdown

Rolls-Royce will extend its line up with a smaller limousine, as revealed in CAR magazine (July 2006). Rolls-Royce boss Ian Robertson has confirmed that the new model will be smaller than the Phantom limo, and cost between €200,000 to 300,000. 'It will be launched within the next four years,' added a company statement. However, CAR can reveal the full story behind the new model, shown here as an artist's impression. Dubbed New Generation Saloon (NGS), the saloon will be spun off the next BMW 7-series, scooped today by CAR Online. Launch is pencilled in for 2009, and the baby Rolls will take on Bentley’s Flying Spur, with a likely £150,000 price tag in the UK ($250k Stateside). Although 2006 is set to be a record year for the Phantom (with around 800 units sold), Rolls-Royce badly needs the NGS to help make it profitable around 2011. Rolls expects to shift around 3000 NGS a year. The Goodwood factory will be extended to cope with final assembly of the saloon, although parts including the painted bodies will be shipped in from Bavaria.

Baby Rolls: design and concept

Insiders say the New Generation Saloon will have the character of a 'modern Silver Shadow'. But it will be closer in size to the colossal Silver Seraph. The look and dimensions are downscaled Phantom. Expect the NGS to measure around 5500mm, fractionally shorter than a standard Maybach, with a massive 3500mm wheelbase. Although the engineers are tinkering with Phantom-style rear coach doors, the smart money is on a more conventional entrance. The proportions will include a very short overhang – reduced from the new 7-series' – although the rear overhang will stretch from Goodwood all the way to London. Unlike the Shadow and Seraph’s chunky and geometric rear ends, NGS should feature a more elegant behind. It will store at least 500 litres of luggage, and the fuel tank will swallow at least 85 litres. Expect the NGS to roll on 19- and 20-inch wheels.

Baby Rolls: under the skin

While the Phantom is made of aluminium, the NGS will have a conventional steel body. The likely minimum weight is 2300kg, and with its stately proportions and 0.34 drag factor, the NGS is going to require some shifting. That's why it'll run a petrol V12, like its big brother. BMW's new twelve-ender labelled N74 remains a 6.0-litre unit, but peak power should climb from 445 to 544bhp. Expect 0-62mph in around 5.4sec, and a top speed limited to 155mph. Turbocharging may be employed to match rivals like the 612bhp Maybach 57S, which would also put some clear blue water between the NGS and BMW's forthcoming 760i. But that would make the Phantom look a little inadequate, too… The NGS will be spun off the 7-series' rear-drive platform. High-tech ingredients should include automatic cruise control, adaptive cornering lights, multi-media ICE, head-up display, rear-seat entertainment, keyless entry and go, widescreen in-dash monitor, top-grade hi-fi, softclose doors and, of course, self-aligning wheel centres. Options include two different roof systems (one with polychromatic glass), three different types of rear seats as well as a variety of exterior and interior lighting modes to match your mood. And naturally each NGS will be trimmed in the most exclusive materials, with limitless personalisation.

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