Rolls-Royce adds a satellite-linked navigation system and parking sensors to the Silver Seraph, the famed automaker's only U.S. model.
With the new parking distance control feature (borrowed from BMW), sensors in the front and rear bumpers sound audible alerts when the car comes close to hitting objects.
Rolls-Royce and fellow British luxury marque Bentley have long been part of the same company, but the two will be under new ownership starting Jan. 1, 2003.
In a bidding war over Rolls-Royce a couple of years ago, Volkswagen thought it had beat German rival BMW for control of this luxury icon. However, what VW got was the aged Rolls-Royce factory (and the Bentley name). BMW outflanked VW and bought rights to the Rolls-Royce name.
When 2003 rolls around, BMW gets control of the Rolls-Royce brand and Volkswagen takes over Bentley. Until then, Rolls-Royce & Bentley Motor Cars will produce, sell and service both marques worldwide.
As a corporate twin to the Bentley Arnage, the rear-drive Silver Seraph has the same 122.7-inch wheelbase and 212-inch overall length (a few inches shorter than the Lincoln Town Car). A selection of 27 exterior colors is available.
Rear passengers enjoy more room this year from a reconfigured layout. The rear seat moves back to give occupants more legroom during the drive, but can also move forward and closer to the doorway to make for an easier exit. Rolls says crafting the interior woodwork alone takes 150 hours in the hand-built Silver Seraph.
The new navigation system uses global positioning satellites to help drivers find their way with voice commands and a 6.5-inch display screen that pops out of the dashboard.
Under the Hood
The Silver Seraph uses a BMW 5.4-liter V-12 engine with 322 horsepower (also used in BMW's 750iL sedan) that Rolls says propels the vehicle to 60 mph in 7 seconds and to a top speed of 140 mph. BMW also supplies the five-speed automatic transmission and traction control.