Currently reading: World exclusive: Rolls-Royce 'RR4' spied
We've got revealing photos of Goodwood's forthcoming £175k 'baby Rolls'

The most important new Rolls-Royce in a decade is coming closer to a road-going reality, and these are the pictures that prove it. According to Autocar’s information, you’re looking at one of the first full-bodied prototypes for the car known internally at Rolls' Goodwood HQ as ‘RR4’ - the firm's all-new smaller saloon model due to go on sale in 2010.

A Phantom that will fit on your driveway

Our spies have exposed the new smallest Rolls-Royce in its entirety for the first time. These shots, snapped recently in Munich, show how faithfully the new car will adopt the Phantom’s design language (reference the car’s thick C-pillar and suicide rear doors). However, it’s also significantly lower and shorter than a Phantom, has a shorter bonnet, and a much less upright grille, than its bigger sibling.Rolls-Royce’s plans to build RR4 have been public knowledge since the Paris motor show in 2006, when CEO Ian Robertson announced them on the eve of first press day. Construction is already underway at the firm’s Goodwood factory to expand production facilities and increase capacity in preparation for the new car. RR4 should be in showrooms by the end of the decade and, priced from around £175,000, will make entry to one of the most prestigious owners’ clubs in the motoring world almost £50,000 cheaper.

BMW mechanicals; special engines

Unlike the Phantom, which has its own extruded aluminium monocoque skeleton, RR4 will have a steel body structure shared, in many respects, with the new BMW 7-series. As Autocar understands it, the new BMW’s platform is a hybrid of aluminium and steel, and is flexible enough to allow Rolls-Royce to give RR4 a wheelbase, roof height, bonnet height and track widths all of its own.Various chassis, cabin, drivetrain and electrics components will also be shared with the new Seven, but according to one RR source, they’ll be confined wherever possible to those components the owner can’t see.One area where Rolls won’t look to save costs is under RR4’s bonnet. The car will have at least one, and possibly two multicylinder powerplants that, like the Phantom’s 6.75-litre V12, will be exclusive to Rolls-Royce. Developments of the 407bhp 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 from the BMW X6, or the 441bhp 6.0-litre V12 from the current 760i, are possibilities. Neither would be allowed to eclipse the Phantom’s 453bhp and generous 531lb ft of torque though, in order to maintain the brand’s model hierarchy.One company source told us that Rolls-Royce high-ups are even warming towards the idea of a diesel-engined Rolls-Royce. “It would have all the important characteristics of the Rolls-Royce driving experience,” he said – “i.e. plenty of low-range torque and ‘waftability’.”“What’s more, the old-money buyers who might have been put off by the idea of a diesel engine are becoming a much less important part of our customer base.”

Matt Saunders

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Brooklands 23 February 2008

Re: World exclusive: Rolls-Royce 'RR4' spied

BMW (Rolls-Royce) said: “What’s more, the old-money buyers who might have been put off by the idea of a diesel engine are becoming a much less important part of our customer base.”

And why do you think that is BMW? It's because the brand has become tarnished. It all started with the tussle between VW & BMW over ownership, added to the German engines being fitted which led to sales collapsing and i remember it well. Over time, the customers have all become footballers and dodgy rap artists, not the type of customers associated with top drawer prestige gentleman's cars. When Vickers owned Rolls-Royce & Bentley and only made 'expensive' models, in good times they sold around 3200-3300 cars combined per year. In harder times it was usually around 1800 cars per year combined and that was in far fewer markets than they sell in today. Since the Germans got involved, Rolls-Royce & Bentley at best sell around 12-1300 top end cars per year combined and that's in many more markets. If that is considered a success then somebody is having a laugh!! It's only the cheaper cars that are keeping Bentley afloat for example, pity about their customers. Wrong image!!

Jon Hardcastle 1 February 2008

Re: World exclusive: Rolls-Royce 'RR4' spied

scummyplum wrote:

If 'waftability' was the thing, apart from the low cost of petrol, why has diesel not taken off in places like the US and Australia?

Because to travel further than 100 miles, they fly! They are also (in the case of the gun slingers) paying stupidly low prices for petrol, as you point out, and they apart from California, are not very evironmentally friendly.

julianphillips 31 January 2008

Re: Why not a fuel cell?

The only acceptable replacements for petrol in a Roller are Nuclear power or something that involves servants shovelling coal into a furnace.