The extremely provocative 103EX Rolls Royce just landed in the States for the first time!
A glitzy gala at the Santa Monica airport will introduce this striking vision of future luxury to well-qualified buyers this week, along with the Dawn and Ghost II that are available to buy today.
Why is this concept so freaky? Or, to put it even more bluntly, “ugly” as many Facebook.com/carrevsdaily fans noted?
Part of the reason its design is so striking and such a shock to the system? The Vision Next 100 premise.
This is not a 10-year look into the future, but aims to see what we’ll be driving a century from now. As such, there are numerous elements that just seem unusual in 2016. See the BMW Vision 100 and MINI Vision 100 for other odd looks into the future.
And bask in this silhouette. The ultra-long wheelbase and exaggerated hoodline are divine. The enveloping, teardrop-like cockpit sitting right at the tail of the vehicle. The luggage compartments ahead of the doors, and the streamliner nose. Pairing a classical, vertical grille to a smooth-flowing underbody and shrouded wheels was never going to be easy on the eyes. The hardest part of this car’s design to digest is around its grille. Ducted inner vents are huge air channels painted body color, living beside the minimized Parthenon grille in an odd and unhappy-looking way. ‘Pinched’ does not often equal ‘elegant,’ unfortunately.
One of the most striking elements, of course, is that this fastback coupe is indeed a limousine. Just a single bench seat in the back — as RR envisions a fully-autonomous future. A bit disheartening to see no steering wheel or driver’s seat in their vision of the future, even if it is a realistic prediction.
We’re sure there are good ideas in here. But the wrapper of the 103EX is still a bit hard to take. Better than BMW’s Vision 100, though, that is for sure. Arriving to a red-carpet event the 103EX today, if that were somehow possible, would absolutely stop the paparazzi from their usual starlet focus. And make them zoom out their lenses to capture in the entire machine on film! Or at least in one digital frame…!
2016 Rolls-Royce Concept 103EX
ROLLS-ROYCE VISION NEXT 100 MAKES NORTH AMERICAN DEBUT
103EX – the future of luxury MOBILITY – arrives in North America
“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
The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, codenamed 103EX, today made its North American debut at the historic Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. 103EX is the marque’s first ever pure ‘Vision Vehicle’ and defines the future of luxury mobility. It 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’.
03EX is one of four visionary creations announced by the BMW Group in Munich on 7 March 2016, as it launched its centenary celebrations.
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.
103EX is the vision of the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars design team, led by Director of Design, Giles Taylor. In the spirit of the great coach-built 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.
The Legacy of Eleanor
The ‘Voice of Eleanor’ inhabits 103EX, 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. Ever vigilant, ‘Eleanor’ safely delivers her passengers to their destination, having already predicted the situation and surroundings that await them.
The Grand Sanctuary
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. 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.
The Grand Arrival
The very size of 103EX announces the importance of its precious cargo. At 5.9 metres 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. 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.
“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.”
– Ends –
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.