TUESDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2006 – 101EX is the latest experimental model to come from Rolls-Royce, hand-built to explore a design direction for a modern coupe. It is the company’s second experimental car in 24 months, following 100EX, which was seen at Geneva in 2004 and marked the company’s Centenary. Rolls-Royce’s first experimental car, 1EX, was built in 1919 and based on the Silver Ghost.
101EX shares its aluminium space frame chassis with the other Rolls-Royce models, albeit in a body that is shorter overall. All body panels, therefore, are new. In contrast to production Rolls-Royce cars, 101EX’s body is made of carbon-fibre composite. The bonnet and windscreen surround are finished in brushed aluminium, while the door handles and large, oval exhaust tail pipes are hewn from solid aluminium.
The elegant, rear-hinged coach doors are unique to Rolls-Royce. The driver and passengers step in rather than fall in backwards, as demanded in a conventional two-door coupé. The doors close automatically at the touch of a button. Grab handles are ideally placed in the rear to assist exit.
101EX is powered by the same 6.75-litre engine as the Phantom. Using advanced direct fuel injection with variable valve lift and timing, the V12 combines power with outstanding combustion efficiency. Designed to develop massive low-down torque, it delivers 75 per cent of its maximum pulling power at just 1000 rpm, giving the smooth, unstressed performance associated with Rolls-Royce.
The cosseting 101EX interior has been designed for elegance and maximum comfort for all of its occupants, featuring machined aluminium, the finest leather and exquisite rosewood and red oak veneers. Even the side and rear windows have wood surrounds.
Currently there are no plans for 101EX to be put into production. It is an experimental car that explores future design directions.