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Smaller nimbler Roller for Geneva debut


Rolls-Royce will air its new smaller car, the RR4, as the 200EX design study at next week’s Geneva motor show in Switzerland

It says the 200EX which is “a design study for a contemporary four-door saloon” that shows the direction for the RR4, due to go on sale in 2010.

Rolls-Royce doesn’t call its show cars concepts, preferring to call them EX (experimental) models, hence the mainstream-sounding 200EX moniker. 

Helmut Riedl, engineering boss for BMW-owned Rolls-Royce, says the 200EX is “noticeably less formal than previous models. Its size, style and expression broaden the appeal of the car, making it more appropriate for a wider range of circumstances.”

And it’ll have a touch of daring. “The 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,” says Rolls’ CEO, Ian Cameron, who developed the brief for the new model.

“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 (the bonnet mascot).

“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.”
It has rear-hinged back doors that open to 83 degrees to give “the widest rear access in the car industry.” 

The 200EX is finished in Darkest Tungsten paint which contrasts with the silver satin finish of the bonnet and A-pillar. The wheels are seven-spoke, 20-inchers.

Interior designer, Alan Sheppard, says the dashboard has been kept deliberately clear. “It’s spacious in its design and has an intuitive layout.

“The controls are neatly sculptured, with more important functions emphasised by accents of chrome. The soft light of the instrument panel glows through the black-rimmed steering wheel, which itself incorporates a number of violin keys as well as an ergonomic roller-ball control.”

Upholstery is Creme Light leather, with Cornsilk carpets and cashmere blend headliner. The featured wood veneer is Santos Palissander.

It may be smaller than the normal Roller, but the 200EX is a substantial 5399mm long, 1948mm wide,  1550mm high and rides on a 3295mm wheelbase.

The engine is a new V12, and the 20-inch wheels wear unequal-size tyres, 255/45 R20 at the front and 285/40 R20 at the rear.

The gearbox is the ubiquitous ZF six-speed automatic which is familiar to Ford Falcon drivers. It will get specially-developed settings for the RR4.

The EX200 body shape is said to be virtually identical to the RR4 which debuts later next year as a 2010 model and will be sold under a yet-to-be-decided name.

BMW 7-Series componentry will be used in the RR4, including in the basic underlying body structure and the front and rear crash zones, though the wheelbase and other dimensions will be unique to the Roller.

Rolls-Royce expects to sell the RR4 from the end of 2009, and has revised its projected sales figures downwards from the original 2000 a year, citing the state of the global economy.


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