Earlier this year Rolls-Royce announced it would be replacing the current Phantom saloon in 2018 – and now the manufacturer has released a cryptic teaser image showing development has commenced on the eighth-generation car.
The current Rolls-Royce Phantom has been sold largely unchanged since 2003, with the range later expanding to include Extended Wheelbase, Coupe and Drophead Coupe models. The new Phantom will arrive alongside the new Cullinan, which the brand hopes will capitalise on the luxury SUV sector and rival the likes of Bentley’s Bentayga.
The image – taken from the home of Rolls-Royce, in Goodwood West Sussex – shows the all-new aluminium architecture, which will underpin the Phantom and Cullinan, as well as all other future Rolls-Royces. The Phantom will bring advanced entertainment and safety features from the latest BMW 7 series, while retaining Rolls-Royces unmatched interior quality.
There has still been no announcement as to whether the Phantom will follow the industry’s trend of downsized turbocharged engines – though we expect the traditional V12 engine layout to be utilised in some form or another. Engineers have previously hinted a plug-in hybrid powertrain would be offered, too.
In the meantime, demand for the current Phantom models remains strong. With all fifty of the final Phantom Coupe, and Drophead Coupe ‘Zenith Collection’ cars being snapped up.
Rolls-Royce dealers and customers from around the world are requesting further bespoke collections and one-off examples of the Phantom Extended Wheelbase before the line closes at the end of December.
After the luxury brand announced it would be testing its new car platform on the road, our snappers caught the next-generation Phantom saloon being put through its paces in disguise. Even though this is a very early production mule, it's clear to see the evolution of the Phantom's classic shape.
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It's unmistakably Rolls at the front, with the bluff nose, iconic grille design and LED headlamps. The bonnet is vast, appearing even longer than the current car, while the windscreen is a bit more steeply raked.
Side-on, it looks taller than you might expect, while the rear-hinged back doors remain. Look closely at the roof and you'll see the shark-fin antenna from the BMW 7 Series, while the rear window shape and bootlid profile is more sloping than ever.
The current Phantom has been on sale since 2003, with the Bentley Mulsanne rival receiving only a facelift and tech update in 2012. The long overdue replacement will bring with it advanced safety and entertainment tech from the latest 7 Series, but should retain the peerless Rolls interior quality.
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The MEB modular platform under the skin is an aluminium space-frame architecture, set to be shortened from this LWB Phantom for use in the SUV. BMW's expertise will likely bring carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) to help keep weight down further.
We still expect the Phantom to retain a traditional V12 engine layout, but there's not indication yet whether Rolls will follow the industry trend and introduce turbocharging. Engineers have previously hinted a plug-in hybrid powertrain will be offered, too.
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