Paris show: baby Rolls on the way
28 September 2006

Do you find the Bentley Continental GT too common and the Rolls-Royce Phantom too big? If you can wait a few years Rolls has just the answer.

At the Paris motor show earlier today (28 September) Rolls chairman and CEO Ian Robertson let slip that the firm will build a smaller model alongside the Phantom.

The new model will most likely be a saloon - though a convertible and coupe are also possible - and will go on sale within four years. It is expected to cost from around £175,000. Robertson described it as "above Bentley".

Unlike the forthcoming convertible, due next year, the new car will use a new chassis unrelated to the Phantom's aluminium spaceframe. What's more, it will also use a unique drivetrain. While BMW-owned Rolls is keen not to stress the link with its parent firm, it is most likely that the new Rolls could use a modified BMW powerplant.

While the exact powertrain is yet to be decided, Robertson assured us that the new car will not use a diesel engine, and that it would be an "authentic" Rolls-Royce.

The new car may also use rear-opening coach doors, as on the Phantom, as they are considered to be a Rolls-Royce feature. The car is already being designed by Ian Cameron and his team at a secret location in the UK – not the former bank near Hyde Park in London that was used when creating the Phantom.

In the past few days the Rolls-Royce factory at Goodwood has received planning permission to extend its hours of operation – suggesting that the new car will be built at this site. It is believed that the firm will run two shifts instead of the current one. Although annual sales of the Phantom have not been as high as initially expected, the more costly long-wheelbase version is selling twice as well as predicted, meaning the factory is far from idle.

The new Rolls-Royce convertible goes on sale next year, while the accompanying coupe - shown as the 101EX concept at Geneva this year – is a near-certainty for production. Together with the Phantom and the new car, these are likely to push Rolls production from around 800 cars a year to up to 2000.

More stories from the Paris showLancia's British returnAlfa's super-sexy supercarThe new AvengerThe Corolla's successorWe check out the JoysterSkoda Joyster Q&AThe next TwingoChevy's diesel WTCC carFord crosses overRenault's small 4x4Volvo C30 in detailFastest hybrid in the worldAudi unveils the R8

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