Building on the 100EX concept that debuted at the 2004 Geneva auto show, Rolls-Royce has unveiled a convertible version of its Phantom sedan, dubbed the Phantom Drophead Coupe. Unlike the concept car, whose engine held an outlandish 16 cylinders, the Drophead uses the Phantom sedan's 6.8-liter V-12.
Features include a rear trunk gate that flips down for what Rolls-Royce calls "picnic" seating — the world's priciest tailgate party, perhaps? — and a camera mounted up front for better parking visibility.
Iconic Rolls-Royce elements include a descending beltline (in contrast to most convertibles, whose lines typically ascend toward the tail), as well as a short front and an enormous rear overhang. The automaker says the sedan and convertible share no major exterior panels, though they look similar enough that Rolls-Royce aficionados will easily identify the tree this Drophead fell from.
Up front, the grille and hood carry a softer profile than that of the hard-nosed Phantom sedan. The doors are hinged at the rear, which is sure to make for a show every time they're opened. Run-flat tires hug the Drophead's 20-inch wheels, and 21-inch wheels are optional.
The four-seat interior comes drenched in wood, leather and chrome. Rolls-Royce says it avoided bleaches, stains and lacquers in favor of natural surfaces. Even the convertible roof housing can be adorned with more than 30 pieces of teakwood.
A 15-speaker stereo broadcasts music through nine channels. The seats boast flat leather surfaces designed to be wiped free of moisture — though you'll want to put the top up at the first sign of rain, no doubt.
Under the Hood
The Drophead's 6.8-liter V-12 makes 453 horsepower and 531 pounds-feet of torque. Working through a six-speed automatic transmission, the drivetrain allows the Drophead to reach 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds. That's impressive; it's about as quick as an Infiniti G35 in a car that weighs as much as a Ford Expedition.
Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are standard. A rollover protection system can automatically deploy reinforced bars from behind the backseat head restraints. Seat-mounted, side-impact airbags and active front head restraints are also included.