In 2003 Rolls-Royce shook off the dust that’d settled on its shoulders and reinvented itself with the ultra-chic Phantom. The Ghost, Wraith, and recently revealed Dawn have since taken their spots in the lineup, prepped for Phase II of Rolls-Royce’s revival, which will revolve around an all-new, all-aluminum modular architecture developed from scratch that will underpin all future Rolls-Royces.
We’ll first see the lightweight, adaptable componentry on the second-generation Phantom, which should debut next year. There will again be standard- and extended-wheelbase versions of the Phantom, but the Phantom coupe and drophead will be discontinued. The price of the sedan will stay about the same, and the BMW-sourced V-12 will still be the only available engine. The next Phantom’s design is said to be more modern and more imposing, and we expect to see a taller radiator grille, a more sculptured front end with rectangular headlamps, more striking signature C-pillars, and slightly less formal flanks with a longer and more naturally flowing lower character line.
The all-aluminum architecture will then make its way under Rolls-Royce’s forthcoming SUV, project Cullinan, which is due in 2017 and will adopt its axles, brakes, and all-wheel-drive system from the upcoming BMW X7. Then the modular platform will be used for the Ghost when it’s renewed in a few years time, and it might also be used for a smaller Rolls, which so far exists only on drawing boards. About the size of a 7 Series, this “Silver Shadow for 2025” proposal would cater to customers who want a cossetting interior but prefer a less ostentatious exterior and a more environment-friendly powertrain.
Another new piece of the Rolls-Royce revival could be a state-of-the-art coachbuilding division that makes one-off models. The first étude we may see is a Landaulet edition or Sedanca de Ville version of the next Phantom. We could also see a stunning two-plus-two proportioned like a famous art deco car, a super-long-wheelbase two-seat convertible with an electrically assisted V-12, or a shorter, smaller all-electric high-performance drop-top. Don’t be surprised to see a design exercise testing the waters sometime before 2018.
To make the coachbuilt concept work, Rolls-Royce would have to extend its Goodwood facility, but there is allegedly no need for an additional building complex. The relatively inexpensive retooling means it would only take a few hundred units to make the coachbuilt concept profitable, seeing how none of the models mentioned would cost less than $1.1 million, some considerably more. Between its all-aluminum modular architecture and proposed coachbuilding division, Rolls-Royce seems very keen to keep that dust from settling ever again.