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BMW, MINI & Rolls Rolling Into The Future

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Oct 29, 2016

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

BMW Centennial Celebration at Barker Hanger. The Rolls-Royce Vison Next 100 (103EX) © john_grafman

Article, photos and video by John Grafman
BMW is celebrating its centennial anniversary, and as most would agree Rolls-Royce is dynamic part of this milestone. This champagne filled centennial celebration at the Barker Hanger in Santa Monica is a chance to show off all of its brands, and offers a fantastic glimpse into tomorrow. The mid-October event also marks the last of the seventh generation Phantom production. The model line-up still comprises the Ghost, Wraith, and the Dawn. And, as before, a bespoke model is available for those that desire a model beyond the current range of outstanding and glamorous motor cars.

BMW Centennial Celebration at Barker Hanger, Santa Monica. © john_grafman

On this momentous occasion, the ultra-luxury brand is looking to the future. And, this isn’t just a few years down the road, but rather way over the horizon line. When you start to imagine 25 years ahead into the next stage of transportation, it’s not easy to get a bead on where we will be. Peering over the edge of design it’s a bit fuzzy. However, the Vision Next 100 (aka 103EX) does provide a clear indication of what a Rolls-Royce will be, and what it won’t.

BMW Centennial Celebration at Barker Hanger, Santa Monica. © john_grafman

This is the first RR to be purely conceptual, and as such the 103EX is a landmark for the traditional company. To debut this in Southern California, it indicates just how important this region is to the success of the brand. Giles Taylor, Director of Design for Rolls-Royce, is keen on highlighting the elegance and regal nature of the marque, and the presence all of the R-R cars have. Taylor states, “With the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 we were mindful not to dwell on the past. We wanted to be as innovative as possible and at the same time transcend the design history of the marque.” In our conversation, Giles predicts that many automotive brands will be leaning towards smaller, automated products, which are highly functional, but tend to be more of an appliance. The development of any new Rolls-Royce will not just incorporate the highest level of technology, but to remain identifiable in a sea of all too similar products.

BMW Centennial Celebration at Barker Hanger, Santa Monica. © john_grafman

The 103EX is a grand 5.9 meters, and this concept is residing on the stately Extended Wheelbase Phantom, which is an impressive in proportion to nearly anything else on the road. Yet, the company will still be the savior of craftsmanship and the talent that’s found only in hand built works of art. The expectation is any future products will utilize the most advance materials, and a zero emissions powertrain. While today the design of this concept is polarizing, it is hard to conceive what will be the style in a couple decades, and how this will blend into the landscape. An identifying mark you won’t come across everyday is the red Double-R badge of an experimental Rolls-Royce. While we encourage more of these concepts, as would Giles Taylor and team, it’s a bit of an unnecessary task. The reality is, most of the models are already manufactured in relatively small numbers. Or to put it another way, each and every Rolls-Royce is already something extra special. To see John Grafman's video coverage of the event, go to rolls_royce_103ex_debut. For more information about Rolls-Royce products, go to VISION NEXT 100 PHOTO GALLERY BY ALBERT J. WONG:

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