Rolls-Royce 200EX

It's the mini-me Rolls-Royce Phantom - a new smaller, more dynamic saloon

Rolls-Royce is downsizing at the Geneva motor show. The 200EX – a mini-me Phantom, if you will – is the latest new product as the marque’s range expands into new areas and with more variance than ever.

The Swiss Rolls is technically a concept, but the production saloon will vary little by the time it hits roads in 2010.

It’s described as a ‘modern, lithe and dynamic Rolls-Royce’ and gets a brand new V12 engine, although no performance information is available yet. Rumour has it the 12-cylinder unit will be six litres in size and boast around 450bhp, a similar figure to the Phantom but in a smaller and more sporting car.

Size-wise it’s 435mm shorter than the 5834mm Phantom, but with a largely similar wheelbase at 3295mm. It’s 42mm narrower and 82mm lower than its bigger brother, making it a bit less intimidating, but still a proper sized car – think LWB 7-series, despite this being the ‘baby Rolls’.

Perhaps most importantly the passenger experience is very much in the vein of the Phantom, with entry gained through suicide rear doors and into a highly opulent cabin. Technology levels are ramped up a little from the traditional Phantom with an iDrive dial sitting conspicuously in the centre console.

The price is expected to be around £175K when the production car goes on sale in 2010, with coupe and convertible variants on the horizon. There are some traditional Rolls-Royce model names rumoured for use, too – hedge your bets on Silver Ghost, the current favourite…

And if you’re wondering on how well positioned Rolls-Royce is to invest in launching a near-£200K new model, the company had a pretty successful 2008. Sales stood at 1212 units. Not a huge number, admittedly, but it’s 20 per cent up on the 1010 cars sold in ’07. Forecasted production for 2009 shows further increases on the horizon.

The production saloon will be at the Frankfurt motor show later this year, with the 200EX taking pride of place at Geneva from March 3. Read the rest of the Geneva motor show highlights, and come back to for live show reports when the doors open to the press on the 3rd.

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