Rolls-Royce decided to unveil their new "Baby Rolls" at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show. Previously tagged the RR4, the 200EX as it is now known may perhaps be called "Silver Ghost" when it goes into production during 2010. Originally the name "Silver Ghost" was used to emphasise the spooky quietness of the Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP model, that was dubbed "the best car in the world" by Autocar in 1907.
The world’s most famous grille. "We wanted this to be less reminiscent of the traditional ‘Parthenon’ style and more like a jet intake," – Ian Cameron.
Officially described as an "Experimental" model, as you might expect from Rolls-Royce, the 200EX is not just a clay or paper mache mock-up or a stylish concept drawing. This is a proper working example of this future production Rolls-Royce. If it is a baby, then it is a particularly large example. It might not quite stretch to the length of the behemoth Phantom, but at 5.4 metres long it is still a very large saloon. It has been reported and blogged that the 200EX was born out of the recession, but the reality was that the Rolls-Royce designers started developing this car way before the global economy went into meltdown.
The usual Rolls-Royce luxury, but with a more chunky and sporty steering wheel than the Phantom.
With a more dynamic character than the Phantom, even the steering wheel is a little fatter than the svelte Phantom wheel. This suggests that this car needs to be driven, and by many accounts it has been designed to compete head on with its former sibling Bentley and their Continental Flying Spur. It will be suitably more expensive than the Bentley though, weighing in at an expected £175 000, which hardly puts it in the bargain basement. No, this car looks like being another exquisite design, complete with the signature rear mounted coach doors.
The Rolls-Royce signature rear mounted coach doors on the 200EX.
As a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce it is perhaps slightly overshadowed by the Phantom’s commanding presence, but this car looks like it will be as rewarding to drive as it is to recline in. Powered by a new V12 engine, derived from the new BMW 760i power plant this Rolls-Royce will probably not win any awards for economy, but in the best traditions of the illustrious company this is a Rolls-Royce that will command respect, without shouting. A grand car that will be found in the garages of wealthy motorists, even with or without a recession.
"Alluring, inviting, approachable – this car captivates with each encounter" – Chief Designer, Ian Cameron
Official Rolls-Royce 200EX Micro Site