Rolls-Royce has revealed its ‘Vision Next 100’ concept at a special event in London’s Roundhouse.
The concept comes as parent company BMW celebrates its centenary - and looks forward to the next 100 years. Defining the ‘future of luxury mobility’ and codenamed 103EX, it's the marque’s first ever pure ‘Vision Vehicle’. The concept is powered by a zero-emission drivetrain and runs on an advanced suspension that sees the vehicle almost skim across the road surface. Where an engine would once have occupied the entire under-bonnet area of the car, a luggage compartment is positioned just behind the front wheels. This opens automatically on arrival, revealing two personalised Grand Tourer cases.
At 5.9 metres long and 1.6 metres high, it mirrors the dimensions of today’s Phantom Extended Wheelbase, and features a polished metal grille that flows up over the nose, around the base of the Spirit of Ecstasy and along the top of the suspended laser-headlight hoops. The bonnet creates a ‘horseshoe’ as it flows along the top edge of the coach door, while pronounced rear shoulders encircle the rear of the glass canopy and back down the other flank. This dividing line accentuates the car’s two-tone design scheme. The upper section is entirely comprised of dark glass. It flows fluidly creating a glass canopy over the occupants that provides privacy, while the rest of the car is finished in a in a silk-like ‘Crystal Water’ colour scheme. The 28-inch tall but narrow wheels are each hand-built from 65 individual pieces of aluminium, and enclosed to deliver the impression of a futuristic catamaran.
The Vision concept aims to deliver a completely personal, autonomous Rolls-Royce experience, wrapped in a design that the luxury brand describe as a ‘Grand Sanctuary’ for its occupants, one which delivers a ‘Grand Arrival’.
Anticipating the mobility demands of the luxury customer in the future, the vision was brought to life by Rolls-Royce after many months of study and consultation with current patrons of the brand. It makes a ‘bold and definitive’ statement of a future where Rolls-Royce ‘rejects the notion of anonymous, utilitarian and bland future modes of mobility’. Through an understanding of its customers’ the concept is described as ‘effortless, autonomous, spacious and beautiful luxury mobility, as personal as each individual customer’.
In the spirit of the great coachbuilt cars of the past, Rolls-Royce's chassis of the future is hand-built from the most advanced materials. Advanced manufacturing technologies will enable customers to involve themselves even more in the design of the shape, size and silhouette of their personal Rolls-Royce vision. The future customer will commission his or her own concept. Rolls‑Royce will design and manufacture this personal vision of each customer and make every one a 'unique Bespoke masterpiece'.
For the Vision concept, the British luxury brand has taken inspiration from its ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ emblem that has adorned the front of Rollers for 105 years - modelled on Eleanor Thornton - and transformed for the future into the ‘Voice of Eleanor’. Here, Eleanor is digitally connected to every aspect of her owners’ lives, becoming their virtual assistant and chauffeur. Imbued with her own artificial intelligence, she works intuitively to advise her owners on itineraries, schedules and options before they leave home, reminding about appointments and tasks and making suggestions. Eleanor will ‘bring’ the car around when called upon and safely delivers her passengers to their destination, having already predicted the situation and surroundings that await them.
Once onboard the futuristic cabin - with its one-off deep-pile ivory wool carpet - the most modern handcrafted fine-line Macassar wood panelling encircles and sweeps across the interior from the coach door, continuing around behind the OLED screen and up beside the second passenger to the side of the silk sofa. The coach door and clamshell canopy glide closed to envelop them in ‘uninterrupted silence and luxury’.
In the era of the stately carriage, their elevated position, suspended as they were on large wheels, allowed occupants to stand before stepping out in a ‘graceful and dignified manner’. With that in mind, as the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 comes to a halt, the glass canopy lifts to allow the occupant to stand whilst providing shelter from above and behind. Then, in one movement, the single coach door sweeps open and a step emerges from below the running board. As a final flourish, a red light is projected, carpet-like, from the underside of the step as a welcome.