Rolls-Royce to unveil experimental car at show
Geneva, February 22, 2009
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will unveil its latest experimental car called 200EX at the Geneva Motor Show on March 3, according to a statement.
The 200EX is a design study for a contemporary four-door saloon and shows the direction for RR4, a new model series from Rolls-Royce due for production in 2010.
Experimental models have always played a significant role in the history of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, from the first — 1EX, built in 1919 — to the most recent — 101EX, built in 2006. Unlike a concept car, the experimental models developed by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars have always been fully functioning vehicles, residing in a tangible world of wood, leather and metals rather than clay and foam. EX cars offer designers and engineers the opportunity for real-world innovation and have been used to showcase new components and engineering techniques as well as exterior and interior designs.
“Modern automotive engineering is a balance of creativity, innovation and application. 200EX is an opportunity to assess these new ideas”, explained Helmut Riedl, director of engineering.
“200EX is a touring saloon with more than a little panache and perhaps more bravado than one might have expected from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars,” said Ian Cameron, chief designer. “What you see is a modern car that is immediately recognisable as a true Rolls-Royce, even from angles that obscure the grille and Spirit of Ecstasy. Design elements such as the elevated prow, long bonnet, short front overhang, sharply raked A-pillar and elegant tail give 200EX an air of informal presence — powerful but unobtrusive.”
The exterior design is dominated by large, uninterrupted surfaces, while finely sculptured horizontal lines add definition and geometric precision. In combination, the upward-sweeping sill line and low-cut roof create a powerful profile. The tapered rear is enhanced by powerful shoulders and flanks that draw in sharply, narrowing as they flow from the rear wings to the tail-lights.
The rear-hinged coach doors give the car a natural presence and sense of theatre. Revived in 2003 on the Phantom, this signature feature lends added functionality and style to the design. Opening through a generous 83 degrees, the coach doors offer the widest rear access in the car industry as well as providing the warmest of welcomes to those about to step inside.
At the front, a pair of LED headlamps flank the latest evolution of the world’s most famous grille. “We wanted this to be less reminiscent of the traditional ‘Parthenon’ style and more like a jet intake,” said Cameron.
The sides of the intake have been curved inwards and the vanes set back into the opening. It’s a more dynamic form that moves on from the design first seen on the Phantom Drophead Coupé.
The exterior of 200EX is finished in darkest tungsten, which contrasts with the silver satin finish applied to the bonnet and a-pillar. Seven-spoke, 20-inch wheels complete the visual impact of the exterior.
Within 200EX, interior designer Alan Sheppard has accomplished a contemporary atmosphere. The space is filled with natural light, which brings in a real sense of the outside world. However, substantial doors and a high shoulder line ensure that occupants feel cosseted and protected. In the rear, the intimate ambience of the lounge seat is emphasised by its position behind the c-pillar, heightening the sense of privacy.
Naturally, the finest materials have been used. Elegant, frosted lamps and chrome door handles feature, while details include traditional violin key switches, eyeball air vents, opaque dials and refined instrumentation.
“As with any Rolls-Royce, detail is crucial,” said Alan Sheppard. “We want the lasting impression for owners to be that their car was made just for them by someone skilled and caring.”
The dashboard has been kept deliberately clear; it is spacious in its design and has an in