Rolls-Royce's 20 Crown Jewels Under BMW's Reign, Part 2: A Glimpse Into the Future

As Rolls-Royce celebrates the 20th anniversary of BMW's ownership, they wanted to reflect on their legacy of unparalleled craftsmanship and excellence in the automotive industry. Under BMW's influence, Rolls-Royce has not only preserved its rich heritage but also made significant strides in the innovation and engineering of its cars.
Rolls-Royce Boat Tail 15 photos
Photo: Rolls-Royce
In the first part of our cover story, we delved into the rich history of Rolls-Royce and the iconic models that have defined the brand over the first ten years under BMW's ownership.

As we turn our attention to the second part of our journey, we look forward to discovering the more recent models from Rolls-Royce's portfolio and getting a glimpse into the marque's future and its exciting new developments that will shape the brand evolution over the next decades to come.

From the start of the 2010s until the recent launch of the Spectre, the first all-electric Rolls-Royce, to the company's ambitious plans to fully electrify its entire model range by 2030, we will provide a peek into the cutting-edge technology and innovative design that may define the next generation of Rolls-Royce automobiles.

The 2010 Ghost and 2011 Ghost LWB: a new level of success

Rolls\-Royce Ghost, 2010
Photo: Rolls-Royce
The 2010 Ghost revolutionized Rolls-Royce's lineup. Designed with a new generation of customers in mind, the Ghost aimed to appeal to a younger, more dynamic demographic. The car was unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and was immediately praised for its intelligent, stylish design and powerful engine.

Under the hood, the Ghost was powered by BMW's first twin-turbocharged V12 powerplant, a 6.6-liter unit developing 420 kW (563 hp) that delivered a smooth and effortless driving experience.

The contemporary and dynamic approach to the Ghost made it an instant hit among customers, pushing the vehicle to become the company's most commercially successful model.

Later, in 2011, RR introduced the long-wheelbase version of the Ghost, following the same recipe as the one found in the Phantom LWB: the same unrivaled craftsmanship and engineering but with more room for the rear passengers and additional layers of luxurious experiences.

The 102EX, 2011: first battery-electric experiment

ROLLS\-ROYCE 102EX, 2011
Photo: Rolls-Royce
The 102EX, or the Phantom Experimental Electric (EE), was a one-off prototype version of the Phantom unveiled for the first time in 2011 at the Geneva Motor Show.

This vehicle was powered by two synchronous permanent-magnet electric motors mounted on the rear sub-frame. Each unit produced up to 145 kW, resulting in a maximum system output of 290 kW (389 hp) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque. The car also featured a 71 kWh battery pack and even an induction charger which, in theory, allowed the vehicle to be charged wirelessly.

This vehicle marked the beginning of Rolls-Royce's exploration into electric vehicle technology and its suitability to power future generations of its motor cars.

As the world's first super-luxury battery electric vehicle, the 102EX was designed to gauge reactions from clients, enthusiasts, the media, the wider public, and shareholders alike. Furthermore, Rolls-Royce allowed motoring journalists to experience the car firsthand and provide valuable feedback to the company.

Wraith and Dawn, two sides of the exclusive Rolls-Royce coin

Photo: Rolls-Royce
The Rolls-Royce Wraith, introduced in 2013, was designed to embody the spirit of adventure of the marque's co-founder, Charles Rolls. In RR's eyes, the Wraith is its ultimate grand tourer, distinguished by its long, elegant lines and athletic fastback stance, never seen in a Rolls-Royce until then.

In contrast, the Rolls-Royce Dawn, introduced in 2016, was aimed to be the ultimate luxury four-seater convertible. It offers a spacious interior and best-in-class comfortable seating, an ideal automobile for four adults traveling long distances together in serene comfort.

Moreover, the roof mechanism is considered an engineering masterpiece that operates in unexpected silence, functioning at speeds up to 31 mph (50km/h). It perfectly seals the interior space from the outside world, making it as quiet as any other Rolls when on the move.

The Black Badges: a darker twist on the Wraith and Ghost

Photo: Rolls-Royce
The Black Badge Wraith and Ghost are more powerful and dynamic versions of their traditional counterparts, offering a more engaging driving experience while still providing the luxurious and bespoke features that are expected from the brand.

With increased torque, unique suspension, and improved transmission, these vehicles offer a more agile and involving driving experience without compromising the smooth and effortless ride that is synonymous with Rolls-Royce.

The Black Badge models also provide limitless opportunities for personalization using the company's Bespoke services.

The 103EX, 2016: next in line

ROLLS\-ROYCE 103EX, 2016
Photo: Rolls-Royce
The Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100, also known as the 103EX, represented the most revolutionary experiment produced at the Goodwood manufacturing facility.

This car portrays the brand's vision of the future of luxury mobility. It is fully electric with autonomous driving capabilities and advanced artificial intelligence, highlighting Rolls-Royce's commitment to developing state-of-art solutions for luxury mobility.

The 103EX is genuinely a one-of-a-kind vehicle and demonstrates once more the company's willingness to push the boundaries of technology and design.

The 2017 Sweptail: coachbuilding at its finest

Photo: Rolls-Royce

The Sweptail is a one-off luxury two-seater coupé that Rolls-Royce built and showcased in 2017 at Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este as a tribute to the coach-built Rolls-Royces of the 1920s and 30s, highly praised for their bespoke craftsmanship.

Taking inspiration from the racing yachts of the same era, the car features a panoramic glass roof for an unparalleled view of the sky and surroundings and carefully designed doors that conceal a pair of attaché cases, providing a unique storage solution for the car's owner.

The Sweptail was made specifically for one customer and is considered a masterpiece of automotive Haute Couture, and symbolizes the revival of the Rolls-Royce coachbuilding art in the modern era.

The Phantom 8: carrying a century-old weight on its shoulders

Photo: Rolls-Royce
The Phantom 8, introduced in 2017, is a new iteration of Rolls-Royce's most iconic model. The company approached the task of re-inventing the Phantom with great care, considering the changing desires of a new generation of car buyers.

The new Phantom 8 maintains the same royal presence that has made it renowned as the "Best Car in the World" while also incorporating new features and technologies to meet the expectations of modern luxury car buyers.

It features advanced driver assist systems, state-of-art infotainment technology, and a powerful and efficient engine under its long and imposing hood.

The interior is furnished according to Rolls Royce's highest standards of luxury and comfort, making it a worthy successor to the Phantom VII, further carrying on the legacy of one of the oldest and most respected nameplates in the automotive industry.

The Cullinan: commanding everywhere

Photo: Rolls-Royce
The 2018 Cullinan is the brand's first-ever luxury SUV, designed and built to take its owners to the most remote and rugged locations in ultimate comfort with its all-terrain capabilities.

In the case of the Cullinan, the Rolls-Royce Bespoke assistance program allows customers to truly make a car their own by offering almost limitless customization options, from the paint color to the stitching on the seats, to the color of the brake calipers to the design of the grille, everything can be tailored to fit customer's needs.

In 2019, Rolls-Royce introduced the Black Badge variant of the Cullinan, elevating the luxury SUV to new heights with increased performance from the 6.7-liter V12 engine, enhanced capabilities, and a bold, darkened aesthetic.

The Ghost takeover: new codes of luxury

Photo: Rolls-Royce
The New Ghost, introduced in 2020, responds to the evolving needs of a new generation of successful individuals, appealing to both men and women.

It impresses with its elegant lines, modern aesthetics, state-of-art engineering, dynamic driving character, and an interior believed to be a staple of in-car indulgence.

The new Ghost is a sublime representation of understated luxury. It is a perfect blend of simplicity and elegance, aimed at the refined tastes of its precious clientele in an effort to meet their constantly evolving needs.

Aboard the Boat Tail: a coachbuilding future

Photo: Rolls-Royce
The Boat Tail is a unique and highly complex project that took almost four years to complete. It showcases the company's dedication to the art of coachbuilding and its importance as a core aspect of its future direction.

The Boat Tail is the result of Rolls-Royce's latest technical innovations combined with the creative excellence that flows in the brand's DNA which got together and gave birth to a breathtaking one-of-a-kind machine. But still, the automaker made three of these vehicles.

The Boat Tail is built on the Rolls-Royce Phantom platform and features a unique rear end shaped like the stern of a boat and a fixed-canopy roof, which transforms the car from a stylish coupe to an outgoing convertible.

The Rolls-Royce Spectre: Powering into the Future

Rolls\-Royce Spectre
Photo: Rolls-Royce
Although Rolls-Royce has not put it on its 20-car list because production is yet to begin, the launch of Spectre marked a significant milestone for them, as it was the first all-electric production series model in the company's history.

This groundbreaking vehicle represents the start of a new era for the luxury automaker, as all new Rolls-Royce models will be fully electric from 2030 onwards.

The Spectre is considered an essential next step in the evolution of the Rolls-Royce model family and the foundation for all future models. It singlehandedly represents the culmination of the first 20 years of production at the Goodwood manufacturing facility.

As we look back at the past 20 years of Rolls-Royce's history and the great cars that have been produced, it's clear that the brand has not only stood the test of time but continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of luxury automobiles. From the Phantom to the Cullinan and the Boat Tail, each car has pushed the boundaries of design, engineering, and craftsmanship.

With deliveries for the Spectre being just around the corner and plans to migrate the entire vehicle portfolio to a fully electric future by 2030, Rolls-Royce continues to write its own deluxe chapter in the automotive history books. We cannot wait to witness what the next 20 years will bring for this iconic brand.

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About the author: Dan Marinescu
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Since his early childhood, Dan developed an avid passion for cars and, now he sees himself as a genuine petrolhead. His enthusiasm comes from his father, an automotive engineer. They love to reminisce about the days when his dad showed him the inner workings of an engine and why everything does what it does.
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