Rolls-Royce presents future of bespoke auto luxury with Vision Next 100 Concept

Article by Andrew Christian, on July 12, 2016

Rolls-Royce introduced in London, a vision vehicle that epitomizes the future of bespoke automotive luxury – the new Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100. This new vision vehicle is a personification of what Rolls-Royce sees as the future of luxury mobility as dictated by luxury customers’ personal visions and their desire for an effortless riding experience in Grand Sanctuary that project their power and status with a Grand Arrival.

The Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 is a result of months of study and consultation with current clients. This ensures that this vision vehicle reflects their expressed desire for the carmaker to assure that its plans for the future of luxury personal mobility will still embody the main elements that have ushered the brand to become the preferred marque of the most discerning and powerful patrons in the world. In addition, the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 assures the marque’s present and future customers that in the future, the marque will still reject the notion of anonymous, utilitarian and bland future modes of mobility.

By intimately understanding the demands of its customers in the future, the brand is able to come up with a vision vehicle that is not only very appealing and beautifully luxurious, but one that also provides effortless, autonomous and spacious luxury mobility that is as personal as each customer.

In March 2016, the BMW Group launched its centenary celebrations and announced four vision vehicles: the BMW Vision Next 100, the MINI Vision Next 100, the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100, and the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100.

With the end of production of the seventh-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom -- regarded as "the best car in the world" – the brand has completed the first phase of its revival under the BMW Group. Moreover, the huge success of the brand’s Phantom, Ghost, Wraith and Dawn models have laid a strong foundation for an exciting new chapter for Rolls-Royce, as driven by its restless commitment to always look forward.

Now, the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 allows the brand to explore the future of luxury mobility, providing a clear glimpse of possible needs and wants of its rich patrons in the future. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars design team, led by Director of Design Giles Taylor, presented themselves quite a question that should underpin the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100: "How can we recast luxury for the next 100 years?" This question led the team to further delve into the expectations of Rolls-Royce customers in the next decades and into how the brand sees itself meeting those expectations. Rolls-Royce very well understands that true luxury is deeply personal and that the key characteristic of its past and present models should prove essential to its future.

Thus, the design at Rolls-Royce came up with four key tenets that underpin the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 and embodies the future of luxury mobility: Personal Vision, Effortless Journey, Grand Sanctuary, and Grand Arrival. With the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100, the brand effectively refused to agree to the opinion that personal mobility in the future will be underpinned by utility and function.

The Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 is the marque’s example of a no-compromise, fully autonomous and personalized vision of future mobility that assures a strong emotional link between customers and their car. There could be more personal visions of a Rolls-Royce of the future. After, Rolls-Royce expects customers – their tastes and preferences – would play a big role in the exact design and the configuration of their own cars.

In keeping up with the spirit of the great coach-built cars of the past, Rolls-Royce will create and built the chassis of the future from the most advanced materials and employ a zero-emission powertrain. It is foreseen that, thanks to advanced manufacturing technologies, customers would have a role in the design -- the shape, size and silhouette -- of their personal Rolls-Royce vision.

This means that customers of the future will commission their personal vision while the carmaker will design and craft these cars – thereby heralding the return to authentic coach-building. In a sense, the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 is the vision of the marque’s design team, whose deep understanding of the Rolls-Royce customer of the future and the future automotive world has allowed them to come up with a concept that would not only serve but also augment its owner. Taylor remarked that the Rolls-Royce patron will still be a famous figure in the future, with the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 playing a key role in lives of these patrons.

Exterior Design

As it is, the new Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 is able to dynamically and elegantly personify the future of bespoke automotive luxury. Despite its futuristic appearance and features, the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 still dons a number of elements that define the character of every Rolls-Royce vehicle -- The Spirit of Ecstasy, the long bonnet, the Pantheon grille, and the iconic proportions. As a personification of the future of automotive luxury, the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 features elegant dimensions that convey that importance of its passengers. With a length of 5.9 meters and height of 1.6 meters, the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 has the same dimensions as the Phantom Extended Wheelbase. Moreover, the Spirit of Ecstasy continues to grow in stature, reminiscent of the Phantoms of the 1920s. The hand-crafted Spirit of Ecstasy is mounted on top of the re-imagined Pantheon grille that features the red Double-R badge of an experimental Rolls-Royce. From these Rolls-Royce design icons -- the Spirit of Ecstasy and the re-imagined Pantheon grille – emanate the vision vehicle’s sweeping lines and dramatic surfaces that together give rise to very futuristic exterior Rolls-Royce concept.

Up front, the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 features a polished metal flowing from the grille up to the nose, and then around the base of the Spirit of Ecstasy. This polished metal then continues to the top of the suspended laser-headlight hoops and narrows down to the side of the car’s long bonnet, serving as a border between upper and lower sections of the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100. Then, this polished metal flows along the top edge of the coach door, defining the curve over the car’s pronounced rear shoulder, then wraps around the rear of the glass canopy and continues down the other flank – all creating a stunning 'horseshoe.'

The new Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 comes with a two-tone design scheme. Its upper section is an entirely dark glass that flows as a fastback to create a glass canopy. This dark glass allows no outsiders to view the interior of the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 but enables passengers to have a clear view of the outside environment. In a sense, this dark glass serves as a one-way sun/moon roof, the windows and the bonnet. On the other hand, the lower section is wrapped in silk-like 'Crystal Water' color scheme which has a surfacing that makes it seem that the car is lighter than its actual size. This lower section makes the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 appear to float from any angle it is viewed. Rolls-Royce’s design team was able to achieve this lightness by trimming the car to have the essence of a Rolls-Royce – a feat attained thanks to new propulsion and coach-build technologies that allowed certain constraints to be removed. For instance, the entire area under the bonnet has been removed of the engine, and now has been transformed into a luggage compartment. In adherence to the tenet of effortless journey, the luggage compartment automatically opens upon arrival and disembarkation. Once opened, the luggage compartment reveals two Grand Tourer cases. These cases in the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 are personalized to CS Rolls and FH Royce. Meanwhile, the re-imagined Pantheon grille, acting as the prow of the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100, serves as the front of a fully enclosed hull reminiscent of the form language of Rolls-Royces of the 1920s with its 'boat-tail.' This smooth-bottomed hull -- made from light yet strong materials – seemingly floats above the road surface; though in reality it is suspended from the car’s wheels through exposed arms and struts. The Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 rides on tall yet narrow 28-inch wheels, each hand-built from 65 individual pieces of aluminum. These wheels are enclosed to provide an impression of a futuristic catamaran.

Rising like a cloak over the shoulders at the rear of the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100, the coachwork offers the vaunted Rolls-Royce privacy to the car’s passengers. Moreover, this coachwork provides a sense of forward motion, as highlighted by rising beltline pushing upwards just like those of pre-war Rolls-Royce vehicles. More importantly, while this new design language of the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 allows for better aerodynamics – enhanced air flow and reduced air resistance – its sensual appearance sets the perfect tone for a grand arrival.

Grand arrivals through state carriages and coach-built limousines are typically reserved for persons of importance. However, the importance of these persons is promptly and appropriately conveyed by the carriages and limousines’ exterior design and adornment as well as the luxurious interior appointments. Likewise, the importance of these persons is also conveyed by their elevated position, as though they were riding on large wheels.

In addition, these persons of importance should be able to stand before stepping out. But since modern aerodynamic factors have prompted carmakers to lower the roofline of modern limousines, headroom was lowered and thus the persons of importance have to stoop slightly before stepping out. Taylor and his design team, however, blatantly rejected such restrictions and compromises in the future. This has prompted them to design a vision vehicle that to reinstate the Grand Arrival as it originally was. Thus on the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100, the Grand Arrival is initially signaled by Spirit of Ecstasy and Pantheon grille – both lighting up to emit an ethereal glow from the front of the vision car.

As the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 arrives on its destination, this ethereal glow proliferate from the trailing edge of the front wheel arch to the rear of the single coach door, thereby indicating that a significant event is about to occur. Then, as the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 comes to a halt, the glass canopy -- hinged on the left of the vision car -- lifts to allow the passenger to stand, while still sheltering its occupant from above and behind. Then, the single coach door opens and a step appears from below the running board. Lastly, the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 will project a red light from the underside of the step, offering a red carpet welcome. All is now set for the Grand Arrival of the occupant as he or she steps out from the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100.

Interior Design

The Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 is appropriately prepared by the AI (artificial intelligence) assistant and chauffeur Eleanor for the next trip. As soon as passengers enter the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100, they will find themselves comfortably lodged in a futuristic but handcrafted lounge atmosphere as wrapped by the coach door and clamshell canopy glide. As a Grand Sanctuary, the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 is the most precious and contemporary of materials resulting to a grand feeling of lightness and effortless elegance.

For instance, the interior of this vision vehicle is wrapped with handcrafted fine-line Macassar wood paneling, starting from the coach door, then behind the generous transparent OLED screen and to the side of the beautiful sofa, which is considered as the centerpiece of the vehicle’s spacious cabin. This sofa -- a futuristic interpretation of modern furniture design – is wrapped in the most opulent fabrics: silk and wool. Silk has long been a symbol of ultimate elegance and was used on the 2015 Phantom Serenity. It is also considered as the most natural and sensual of materials. When combined with wool, silk becomes a very desirable material to create a finely textured, ivory-colored luxurious sofa from where passengers express their command to Eleanor. Passengers would surely love and enjoy what is considered one of the sensual touch points within the cabin -- the one-off deep-pile ivory wool carpet woven in London. And since the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 features no physical chauffeur – thus the absence of a physical driver’s seat – a lot of cabin space has been freed up, resulting to a very comfortable and luxurious interior that lets passengers enjoy every journey from one point to another without the hassles of driving. Moreover, the absence of driver’s seat and the steering wheel means an uninterrupted sense of space and powerful position for the passenger within the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100.

A passenger may command Eleanor to provide some visual cues within the cabin. This will prompt Eleanor to switch on the transparent OLED screen mounted on the front wall of the cabin. This transparent OLED screen could display certain information that the passenger may deem very important, including those related to their trip or their programmed destination. This transparent OLED screen could also display information regarding the people they are expecting to meet. Likewise, passengers could ask Eleanor to turn on the transparent OLED screen and tune in to their favorite show for a while. The cabin of the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 also has a finely crafted analogue clock hovering in a central position just above the OLED screen. This clock – reminiscent of Sir Henry Royce's beginnings as an electrical pioneer crafting electric dynamos – reminds passengers that time is the ultimate luxury.

Throughout the history of men, certain symbols convey their status. These symbols have come to include the modes of mobility. For instance, monarchies and emperors express their status and standing through their lavish chariots or their personalized state carriages or coaches. The coach-built Rolls-Royce Phantom IV commissioned for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of one of these vehicles that project the due importance of the passengers they carry. These personalities deserve vehicles that would provide them with a Grand Arrival.

Thus, Rolls-Royce envisions a future where patrons would still want to be treated to such Grand Arrival, the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 elegantly plays that future role. With its dramatic, imposing and futuristic presence, the new Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 ensures a Grand Arrival for its discerning passengers.

Press Release

ROLLS-ROYCE VISION NEXT 100 – A GRAND VISION OF THE FUTURE OF LUXURY MOBILITY

“Today, Rolls-Royce, the world’s leading luxury brand, has defined the future of luxury mobility. The Grand Arrival of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 boldly points to a bright future for our marque where our patrons’ individual demands for complete and authentic personalisation will be met through an exquisite fusion of technology, design and hallmark Rolls-Royce craftsmanship.”
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

“With the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 we were mindful not to dwell on the past. We wanted to be as innovative as possible and at the same time transcend the design history of the marque”.
Giles Taylor, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

In a spectacular event at London’s Roundhouse today, the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 was presented. The car defines the future of luxury mobility. Codenamed 103EX, it is the marque’s first ever pure ‘Vision Vehicle’.

The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 presents an intriguing and aesthetically dynamic vision of the future of luxury mobility – a completely personal, effortless and autonomous Rolls-Royce experience, wrapped in a design that ensures a ‘Grand Sanctuary’ for its occupants, and a ‘Grand Arrival’.

The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 anticipates the mobility demands of the luxury customer of the future. Brought to life by Rolls-Royce after many months of study and consultation with current patrons of the brand, the car represents their clearly expressed desire for an assurance that the marque’s plans for the future of luxury personal mobility will continue to embody the key attributes that have made Rolls-Royce the preferred marque of the most discerning and powerful patrons in the world for over a Century.

With the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, the brand provides just such an assurance to its valued customers – present and future. It makes a bold and definitive statement of confidence in a future where Rolls-Royce rejects the notion of anonymous, utilitarian and bland future modes of mobility. Through an intimate understanding of its customers’ thinking and their demands in the future, Rolls-Royce presents an exciting and highly appealing vision of effortless, autonomous, spacious and beautiful luxury mobility, as personal as each individual customer.

Background
This ‘Vision Vehicle’ is one of four announced by the BMW Group in Munich on 7 March 2016, as it launched its centenary celebrations – THE NEXT 100 YEARS. In addition to being the centenary of the BMW Group, 2016 also represents a seminal moment in the history of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

For Rolls-Royce, the end of production of the seventh generation Phantom – considered by aficionados to be "the best car in the world" – represents the completion of the first phase of the Rolls-Royce brand’s renaissance under BMW Group custodianship. The success of Phantom, Ghost, Wraith and now Dawn serves as the foundation for a bold new chapter.

This highly successful era for the world’s most celebrated luxury brand has been driven by a restless commitment to always looking forward.

In this spirit, the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 is presented – a truly revolutionary, highly authentic exploration of the future of luxury mobility. It provides a fully authentic look into the potential demands and desires of the wealthy connoisseur of the future.

The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 – a vision of the future of luxury mobility
In creating the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars design team, led by Director of Design Giles Taylor, asked themselves the question, “How can we recast luxury for the next 100 years?” Within that question the team found that they had to address two further questions: “What will a Rolls-Royce owner expect of his or her Rolls-Royce in the coming decades?” and “How do we at Rolls-Royce today envision how we meet those expectations?”. These questions allowed the team to dream of the staggering possibilities for Rolls-Royce’s future.

Rolls-Royce intimately understands its patrons and their likely desires and motivations in the future. It understands that true luxury is deeply personal and that the hallmarks of every Rolls-Royce past and present are key to its future. The designers therefore distilled four key tenets that not only underpin the elegant solution that is the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, but epitomise the future of luxury mobility as a whole:

The Personal Vision
The Effortless Journey
The Grand Sanctuary
The Grand Arrival

In presenting the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, the marque has rejected the common notion that the future of personal transport is a utilitarian and functional one. Rolls-Royce has stepped bravely into the future to propose a no-compromise, fully autonomous, coachbuilt, personalised vision to those customers who wish for an emotional attachment to their car. This reasoning led them to the first key tenet: The Personal Vision.

The Personal Vision
The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, as presented in London on Thursday 16 June 2016, is but one example of a number of possible personal visions of a Rolls-Royce of the future. Indeed, in an evolution of the Rolls-Royce Bespoke experience of today, the customers’ taste will influence the exact design of his or her Rolls-Royce and how it will be configured.

In the spirit of the great coachbuilt cars of the past, Rolls-Royce will create the chassis of the future, hand-built from the most advanced materials and powered by a zero emissions powertrain. 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 Rolls-Royce a unique Bespoke masterpiece.

In short, the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 utilises envisioned advances in technology to herald the return to authentic coachbuilding.

The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 is the vision of the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars design team, led by Director of Design Giles Taylor. Their deep understanding of the Rolls-Royce customer of the future and the world in which they will live led them to conceive of a motor car that would serve and augment its patron’s lifestyle in every way.

“The Rolls-Royce patron will continue to be a famous figure in the future,” explains Taylor. I envision that the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 will play a key role in these people’s lives, guiding and conveying them effortlessly through their life’s journey in an exquisite sanctuary where they can reflect in peace ahead of arriving in the grandest style.”

The Effortless Journey, the Grand Sanctuary and the Grand Arrival. The next three tenets and hallmarks of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100.

The Effortless Journey
For the 105 years since her creation in 1911, the Spirit of Ecstasy, modelled by sculptor and artist Charles Sykes, on Eleanor Thornton, has silently guided every Rolls-Royce and its owner through the momentous events of their lives. She has stood as an elegant presence at some of history’s most notable events.

Today, the ‘Voice of Eleanor’ inhabits the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, delivering the dream of an effortless future to her owners. Digitally connected to every aspect of her owners’ lives and her surrounding environment, ‘Eleanor’ becomes their virtual assistant and chauffeur, freeing them of all effort and encumbrance. Imbued with her own artificial intelligence, she works intuitively to advise her owners on itineraries, schedules and options before they leave their residence, reminding about appointments and tasks and making suggestions to ease any anticipated impediments.

She ‘brings’ the car around when her passengers are ready to travel and, whilst conveying her charges to their next destination, helpfully but discreetly makes suggestions and recommendations, briefing them ahead of their arrival so they are ready to ‘perform’. And ever vigilant, ‘Eleanor’ safely delivers her passengers to their destination, having already predicted the situation and surroundings that await them.

This Effortless Journey is enhanced by the hallmark Rolls-Royce ‘magic carpet ride’ delivered through a blend of a futuristic, powerful, zero-emission drivetrain and advanced suspension that sees the vehicle almost skim across the road surface. As a V12 combustion engine is most unlikely to exist in the future, one can only surmise how this Rolls-Royce will be powered. A hint may appear in the Grand Sanctuary that is the interior of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100.

The Grand Sanctuary
“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” Coco Chanel
Already prepared by ‘Eleanor’ for the next journey in their event-filled lives, our owners are met by the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 which awaits their departure. Entering the Grand Sanctuary, our passengers step in unbowed, with consummate grace and dignity, as with the state carriages of old, taking their place on the best seat in the house. Cocooned in the futuristic but handcrafted lounge atmosphere, the coach door and clamshell canopy glide closed to envelop them in uninterrupted silence and luxury.

As one would expect from a Rolls-Royce, the environment of the Grand Sanctuary is crafted from the most precious and contemporary of materials. What is unexpected is the feeling of lightness and simplicity, an effortless elegance.

True to this spirit, the cabin is encircled by the most modern handcrafted fine-line Macassar wood panelling, sweeping across the interior from the coach door, continuing around behind the generous OLED screen and up beside the second passenger to the side of the sofa. This ensures a continuous, beautifully clean and sculptural surface when the screen is extinguished.

The centrepiece of the cabin is the beautiful sofa. The best seat in the house, it is an exquisite, futuristic interpretation of modern furniture design. Clothed in the most opulent fabrics, it gives the impression of floating within the cocoon of the cabin thanks to the artful use of lighting and modern materials.

Inspired by the early regal Rolls-Royces, but also by the ground-breaking work executed on the 2015 Phantom Serenity, the designers used the symbol of ultimate elegance – silk – to clothe the sofa. This most natural and sensual of materials is combined with wool to create a beautifully textured, ivory-coloured luxurious throne upon which our passengers are conveyed, and from which they command.

A final sensual touchpoint within the cabin is the finest one-off deep-pile ivory wool carpet woven especially in London, which our passengers can enjoy as they luxuriate in the ample space created by the removal of the chauffeur.

This sense of space is accentuated as our passengers’ view from their seats is uninterrupted by a cockpit or steering wheel which are now superfluous. From their powerful position within the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players…”.

Should they choose to drop their eyes from that world stage for a moment and ask ‘Eleanor’ for visual cues, she will provide them on the transparent OLED screen that dominates the front wall of the cabin. Here our passengers can view information regarding their journey, their destination and the people they are expecting to meet. Or they may simply choose to retreat from the outside world and be entertained by their favourite show for a while.

Or they may just contemplate the finely crafted analogue clock that hovers in a central position above the screen, which serves both as a reminder of Sir Henry Royce’s humble beginnings as an electrical pioneer making electric dynamos, and of time as the ultimate luxury.

“Rolls-Royce design today is the epitome of elegance,” Taylor comments, “and this elegance is achieved through simplicity of design under which lies the technology that makes our patrons experience effortless.”

The Grand Arrival
Certain truths are constant over time. One of these truths is how the powerful have always understood the symbols through which they express their standing. From the lavish chariots of the Roman Emperors to the individually hand built state carriages and cars of Monarchy – such as the coachbuilt Rolls-Royce Phantom IV used during Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation – such fine vehicles have been designed to project the importance of the individual inside to those waiting outside.

Waiting with bated breath for a grand arrival, the crowds were never anything but impressed by the stately arrival of their idol. In the future, Rolls-Royce believes that its powerful patrons will wish to continue projecting their power and status in such a manner.

This truth is reflected in the most dramatic aspect of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 – its iconic, imposing and futuristic presence which ensures a Grand Arrival for its occupants. Yet whilst it powerfully expresses the future of luxury, it remains constant to the iconic tropes of any true Rolls-Royce: The Spirit of Ecstasy, the Pantheon grille, the long bonnet and the iconic proportions of the entire vehicle.

The very size of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 announces the importance of its precious cargo. At 5.9 meters long and 1.6 metres high, it mirrors the perfect dimensions of today’s Phantom Extended Wheelbase, whilst the ever constant Spirit of Ecstasy grows in stature, harking back to the regal Phantoms of the 1920s. Hand-crafted by the finest European glassmakers of today, she lights the way to the future of luxury. She is poised atop the re-imagined, yet still iconic, Pantheon grille with the red Double-R badge of an experimental Rolls-Royce.

From these timeless icons of Rolls-Royce design flow the graceful, sweeping lines and expressive surfaces that combine to create a completely futuristic vision of a possible Rolls-Royce exterior.

The polished metal of the grille flows up over the nose, around the base of the Spirit of Ecstasy and along the top of the suspended laser-headlight hoops, before narrowing to shoot down the side of the vehicle’s long bonnet, as a dividing line between upper and lower sections of the car. Not stopping at the extremes of the bonnet, this beautiful metal feature creates a beautiful ‘horseshoe’ as it flows along the top edge of the coach door, describes a parabola up and over the pronounced rear shoulder, encircling 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 as a daring fastback, creating a glass canopy over the occupants that provides privacy whilst allowing them to contemplate the majesty of the stars in the firmament above as they glide through the night; a window on the world ahead before resolving itself into the bonnet of the car.

The lower section is more dramatic in its design and in what it achieves. Draped in a silk-like ‘Crystal Water’ colour scheme, its surfacing achieves a lightness that belies the vehicle’s size. This is automotive ‘Haute Couture’. From whatever angle the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 is viewed, it seems to float, whether at rest or in motion.

This lightness is achieved through the paring back of this vehicle to the essence of a Rolls-Royce by the Design team, who were freed from their current constraints by the new propulsion and coach-build technologies now available to them. So, for example, where an engine would once have occupied the entire under-bonnet area of the car, a luggage compartment is positioned just aft of the front wheels.

In conceiving this bold vision of the future of luxury, the designers remain steadfast in their commitment to imbuing every element of the Rolls-Royce experience with effortlessness. The luggage compartment therefore opens automatically following arrival and disembarkation, presenting two Grand Tourer cases. In the case of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, the cases are fittingly personalised to CS Rolls and FH Royce.

The newly liberated Pantheon grille is now the unencumbered prow of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100. It is the front of a fully enclosed and smooth-bottomed hull that echoes the form language of 1920’s Rolls-Royces, with its ‘boat-tail’, and within which the entire accommodation area is located.

Constructed from light yet incredibly strong materials, the hull ‘floats’ above the road surface as it is suspended from the vehicle’s wheels via exposed arms and struts.

The 28-inch tall but narrow wheels upon which the car glides are each hand-built from 65 individual pieces of aluminium, and enclosed to deliver the impression of a futuristic catamaran.

Seen from the side, the coachwork delivers hallmark Rolls-Royce privacy to the occupants as it rises gracefully like a fine cloak over the shoulders at the rear of the car. However, this fine drapery flatters to deceive as this rear shoulder line also imparts an air of powerful but graceful forward motion, accentuated by the rising beltline that thrusts upwards in a manner reminiscent of the great pre-war Rolls-Royces.

Whilst this radical new design language also contributes to an effortless, unruffled journey thanks to improved air flow and reduced air resistance, its unquestioned drama delivers a grand arrival.

Rolls-Royce and the art of the Grand Arrival
In the era of the stately carriage, and even of the early coachbuilt limousine, one was guaranteed an arrival befitting one’s stature. As we have seen, the exterior design and adornment of such conveyances announced one’s importance, as did the luxurious appointment of the interior.

However, one other aspect of such vehicles contributed to their suitability for such occasions: their elevated position, suspended as they were on large wheels. Combined with the high ceiling typical of carriage or limousine, one could normally stand before stepping out in a graceful and dignified manner. Modern aerodynamic considerations meant that even modern limousines’ rooflines had to be lowered, thereby reducing headroom and requiring one to stoop slightly when alighting from one’s vehicle.

Unwilling to accept such stricture and compromise in the future, Giles Taylor and his team set to work to reinstate the Grand Arrival as it should be.

The Grand Arrival of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 is first signalled by the Spirit of Ecstasy and Pantheon grille illuminating to cast an ethereal, otherworldly glow from the front of the car. As this vision of the future gracefully sweeps up to its destination, the ethereal glow spreads from the trailing edge of the front wheel arch to the rear of the single coach door, signalling that something momentous is about to happen. As the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 gracefully comes to a halt, something magnificent occurs.

Hinged on the left of the vehicle, the glass canopy lifts to allow the occupant to stand whilst providing shelter from above and behind. Then, in one effortless 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.

Thus, as in Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’, our guest is framed and ready to step gracefully into the limelight and greet their audience.

“The Grand Arrival gesture of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 creates a stage for our important passengers as they arrive at their ultimate destination,” comments Taylor. “It is an expression of our intrinsic understanding of the possibilities for a true luxury brand and the desires of its customers.”

The Personal Vision, the Effortless Journey, the Grand Sanctuary and the Grand Arrival. Rolls-Royce’s vision of the next 100 years. Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100. A vision of the future of luxury.

Virtual Vision
Rolls-Royce has also harnessed the power of the virtual space to bring the experience of the Vision NEXT 100 closer to those unable to personally see the vehicle in London.

The Vision 360 CGI experience immerses the viewer in a journey from Goodwood, the Home of Rolls-Royce, through to vision of the future of luxury. Viewers can enjoy and explore the fine detail of Rolls-Royce 103EX, guided by the voice of the original Spirit of Ecstasy, Eleanor Thornton, on YouTube 360°.

Topics: rolls-royce, concept

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