Roll Royce Unveils 101EX Coupe at Geneva
101EX is the latest experimental model to come from Rolls-Royce, hand-built to explore a design direction for a modern coupé. Following the same uncompromising approach employed for the Phantom, the new car is an engineering-led design wrapped in a sleek, rakish coupé body.
101EX shares its state-of-the-art, lightweight, aluminium space frame chassis technology with the other Rolls-Royce models, albeit in a body that is shorter overall. Power comes from the Phantom's advanced, direct-injection, 6.75-litre V12 engine, which delivers unstressed, effortless performance.
Currently there are no plans for 101EX to be put into production. It is an experimental car that explores future design directions, a showcase for the innovative design and high-tech architecture that pervade the quintessential modern Rolls-Royce car.
The handsome, low-slung body of 101EX has been created by the Rolls-Royce design team under the direction of chief designer Ian Cameron. While the space frame technology has been borrowed from the Phantom, 101EX is shorter and lower than that model: the wheelbase is 250 mm shorter and overall length is down by 240 mm. All body panels, therefore, are new.
"The design suggests tremendous, effortless power"
101EX is powered by the same 6.75-litre engine as the Phantom. Using advanced direct fuel injection with variable valve lift and timing, the V12 combines power with outstanding combustion efficiency. Designed to develop massive low-down torque, it delivers 75 per cent of its maximum pulling power at just 1000 rpm, giving the smooth, unstressed performance associated with Rolls-Royce.
"101EX is a very modern, 21st century interpretation of a classic Grand Touring coupé," says Rolls-Royce chief designer Ian Cameron.
The unique exterior design features a discreet, streamlined grille, complete with Spirit of Ecstasy mascot, that flows seamlessly back into the aluminium bonnet and windscreen surround. LED sidelight and direction indicators complement the round xenon driving lights.
Long, elegant coach doors, hinged at the rear, allow easier access to the 101EX interior than conventional front-hinged doors and add considerably to the handsome profile. Each door closes at the touch of a button.
New seven-spoke, 21-inch, forged aluminium wheels are used on the car, making them as tough and as lightest as possible.
The cosseting 101EX interior has been designed for elegance and maximum comfort for all of its occupants, featuring machined aluminium, the finest leather and exquisite rosewood and red oak veneers. Even the side and rear windows have wood surrounds.
"The interior uses traditional materials in a modern way," says Alan Sheppard who, together with Charles Coldham, was responsible for the car's interior design. Front slim-line, bucket-style seats offer outstanding comfort. Rear seating is exceptionally spacious for a coupé, with privacy ensured by the sweeping C-pillars.
"101EX is a response to the interest expressed by current and potential Rolls-Royce clients in a coupé," says Rolls-Royce chairman and CEO Ian Robertson. "It is an experimental car only, but one designed and engineered to a high standard. It radiates refinement, performance and presence."
It is the company's second experimental car in 24 months, following 100EX, which was seen at Geneva in 2004 and marked the company's Centenary. "It shows that Rolls-Royce continues to operate from a position of strength, and that we are keen to explore new directions for the brand," adds Robertson.
Rolls-Royce's first experimental car, 1EX, was built in 1919 and based on the Silver Ghost.
The styling of 101EX is more driver-focused than that of the longer Phantom. According to Ian Cameron, "It is a less formal car, more streamlined, more about the individual."
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