Second-generation Phantom to share hybrid powertrain with new 7-series, as development starts ahead of a planned launch in 2017

These spy shots are the first evidence that BMW is working on an all-new Rolls-Royce Phantom.

The use of very slightly flared wheel arches suggests that there is a next-generation drivetrain under the skin of this test car, but it also shows that that the wheelbase of the next Phantom will be virtually identical to the current model.

With BMW’s next generation 7-series also seen testing on public roads around the company’s Munich HQ, it seems likely that this Phantom is involved in developing some of the driveline components it will share with BMW’s upcoming flagship.

Given the amount of flexibility the Rolls Royce engineering team has to modify and originate unique components, one of the few completely common parts is likely to be a hybrid drivetrain.

Components such as the automatic transmission with its integrated electric motor, the complex control electronics and the battery packs are likely to be shared with the new 7-series, which is thought to be at least 18 months from the showroom.

The new Phantom is not expected to be seen before late 2017. In an interview with Autocar earlier this year Rolls’ design chief Giles Taylor said he had ‘already started sketching ideas’ for the new car.

“I don’t feel boxed in by the [existing] design," he said "We are treading an evolutionary path and have a defining vision of modernity. The Wraith was all about modernising the brand. The fastback profile has a contemporary relevance.

"We are working on how to lay down what we call a ‘charismatic expressiveness’ for our future design language.”

Discussing his team’s thinking on the new Phantom, Taylor strongly suggested that it would be less formal looking. 

“Cars like the post-war Cloud were inspiring in their surfacing, almost baroque,” he said. “Rolls-Royces have always had flair and movement. We’re looking at more charisma and more 
edge in the future.

“I don’t think that the current Phantom is ‘stiff’. I’m a fan of the permanence of the Phantom. But if we are going to take the model forward, we need to retain the Rolls Royce ‘golden section’, a big part of which is the angle of the rear pillar. You get a lot of privacy behind that wide C-pillar. It’s part of the Phantom recipe.”

Taylor also hinted that the new Phantom’s grille, lights and air intakes would be different from those of the current model, saying that there needed to be a “sense of connection and integration of the [car’s] graphics”.

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Our Verdict

The Phantom Series II receives a number of useful tweaks over the original car

The Rolls-Royce Phantom comes with opulence befitting its huge price tag. It is the benchmark for ride quality

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Comments
6

289

16 September 2014
....less of a 'reveal' more of a cover-up I would have said. What does this picture tell us of the new interior?!

14 August 2014
"The use of very slightly flared wheel arches suggests that there is a next-generation drivetrain under the skin" That's a relief. They're going to make it a bit wider - I always thought the current Phantom was a bit small and understated. This will make Lord (sic) Sugar very happy indeed. Will they be available in gold-look paint?

16 September 2014
Nothing, its clearly a mule interior using 7 series bits, talk about a mis-leading headline.

14 August 2014
Just can't see the point in posting pics of test mules.You can get an idea of proportions but not of the styling.Pointless.

16 September 2014
Far too much carpet on the dash for my liking, otherwise lovely.

16 September 2014
And I'll keep the change.

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