Rolls-Royce Concept Pulls Out All Tech, Luxury Stops

At 232 ins. in length, the Vision Next 100 is 7.2 ins. shorter than today’s Phantom Extended Wheelbase. However, the 670-hp EV provides seating for just two on a sofa-like bench seat positioned at the rear of its rakish cabin.

Greg Kable

June 16, 2016

3 Min Read
Centuryold styling cues stay driverrsquos seat goes in RollsRoyce autonomous concept EV
Century-old styling cues stay, driver’s seat goes in Rolls-Royce autonomous concept EV.

LONDON – Rolls-Royce unveils the Vision Next 100 – an all-electric, autonomous concept car that previews styling, packaging, electronic and engineering ideas being pursued by the U.K. automaker for inclusion on future models – as part of celebrations surrounding the centenary of its parent company BMW.

The futuristically styled Rolls-Royce is based upon a lightweight carbon-fiber structure and is powered by a zero-emissions drivetrain with two 250-kW (335-hp) electric motors – one positioned at the front and the other at the rear, providing the big concept with a total of 500 kW (670 hp).

Drive is channeled to all four towering 28-in. wheels featuring intricate chromed spokes and housed within individual guards.

At 232 ins. (5,900 mm) in length, the Vision Next 100 is 7.2 ins. (184 mm) shorter than today’s Phantom Extended Wheelbase. However, it provides seating for just two on a sofa-like bench positioned at the rear of its rakish cabin.

The front end is dominated by a vertical grille bookmarked by freestanding wheel arches on either side, while the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy, made from hand-cut lead crystal and illuminated from the inside, graces a long, sweeping hood extending more than 78.8 ins. (2,000 mm).

“Our brief to ourselves was to go well over the horizon and not to be restrained by near-term future styling,” says Giles Taylor, head of Rolls-Royce design.

Entry is via an automatically operated rear door and roof that hinges skywards. Occupants can stand up in the car once the roof opens before stepping out, creating what Rolls-Royce refers to as a grand arrival. Light projections on the ground add a “red-carpet” effect.

Without a traditional combustion engine taking up space at the front, bespoke luggage can be stowed under the hood of the Vision Next 100 via panels on either side, which automatically open behind each of the front wheels to reveal stowage compartments.

Dashboard Instrumentation Pared Down to Clock

Drawing on parent BMW’s autonomous-driving technology, the Rolls-Royce concept goes without a driver’s seat, steering wheel or traditional instruments, creating what Taylor calls a completely new sense of space. The only instrument is an analog clock centrally positioned below a panoramic window.

The Vision Next 100 provides occupants with a so-called virtual personal assistant as part of its autonomous driving ability. It acts as a central control and, when prompted, appears on the full-width transparent LED display taking up the space of the traditional dashboard.

“The more time the virtual assistant, or as we like to describe it virtual chauffeur, spends with the occupants, the more it learns about his/her interests and needs,” says Taylor. “It can, for example, suggest favorite restaurants, interesting routes or visits to galleries.”

An integral speech-recognition system allows occupants to call the assistant to tailor their journey.

Eschewing traditional materials such as leather, the Vision Next 100 uses a combination of hand-twisted silk for the carpet and silk fabric as upholstery on the sofa-like seat.

The futuristically styled Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 is revealed at Chelsea’s Round Theatre in London alongside BMW’s similarly named Mini Vision Next 100.

Earlier this year, the BMW brand unveiled its Vision Next 100, showcasing the German automaker’s vision of its future models.

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