Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. unveiled the Phantom Coupe at a press preview in California, its third model from a common platform since parent company BMW AG relaunched the brand in 2003.
Under the skin, the Phantom Coupe is closely related to the softtop Phantom Drophead Coupe and the longer Phantom sedan. The Phantom Coupe is expected to have sportier handling than the convertible, thanks to stiffer springs and dampers, anti-roll bars, modified brakes and an automatic gearbox with an electronic “Sport” program.
Besides the roof, other differences between the coupe and the convertible include a posh, fully carpeted interior for the Phantom Coupe. The convertible model has woven fiber floor mats that are rot-resistant if they get wet and an optional teak tonneau cover for the fabric top when it’s down.
So far, virtually every Phantom Drophead Coupe customer has ordered the teak deck as part of a $17,000 option package that also includes a stainless steel hood, company officials said. The Phantom Coupe also will get the optional stainless steel hood but doesn’t need the tonneau cover.
In terms of exterior styling, the Phantom coupe looks like a cross between the Phantom sedan and the convertible.
“We married the rear of the Phantom to the front of the Drophead Coupe,” Tom Purves, chairman and CEO of BMW (U.S.) Holding Corp., said at the press preview on Monday, Feb. 11.
Worldwide deliveries start in June. Pricing is to be announced but probably will be around $400,000 or a bit less, based on suggested retail of $412,000 for the Phantom Drophead Coupe convertible. That includes a $3,000 gas-guzzler tax and $2,000 delivery charge.
The Phantom Coupe will be formally introduced in greater detail next month at the Geneva auto show. Presumably it shares a 6.75-liter V-12 with the other Phantom body styles.
Without disclosing a volume target, Rolls-Royce CEO Ian Robertson said the order bank for the Phantom Coupe stretches “well into 2009.” That probably means a maximum of a couple of hundred cars a year in the United States.
U.S. sales of the Drophead Coupe began in September. Rolls-Royce expects sales of the convertible to average about 200 cars annually.
The new coupe is not to be confused with a smaller, less-expensive sedan scheduled to arrive in 2009. Internally, Rolls-Royce calls it NGS for “New Generation Saloon.” The NGS will be priced at $250,000 to $300,000. In a separate interview last month at the Detroit auto show, Robertson said that the first running prototype of the smaller car had been completed and that the Rolls-Royce factory in Goodwood, England, was preparing to build the new sedan.