Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 Concept Shocks

Making its world debut earlier this month in London, the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 concept certainly turned heads, offering a glimpse into just how today’s designers believe the iconic luxury ride’s street versions may look a century from now.

The somewhat other-worldly-looking car’s official title is 103EX and its design is a striking departure for the brand. Measuring nearly 20 feet long and five feet tall, this fully autonomous coupe is something of a super yacht on wheels. It sports a glass canopy that retracts when the coach doors swing open, and a “Crystal Water” lower surface exterior material designed to make the car look as if it were floating. Should the car ever make it to the production line, it will be powered by a zero-emissions powertrain placed on an advanced suspension, though a company spokesperson declined to elaborate on just what form the engine will take. Rightly so, perhaps. After all, who knows how engines will change over the next century.

Despite the futuristic visual features, there are a few stylistic throwbacks to Rolls-Royce’s earliest glory days. Specifically, the Vision Next 100 retains the same grille and Spirit of Ecstasy look as the historical Phantom from the 1920s. It has the same dimensions as the modern Phantom Extended Wheelbase, but the oversize Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament is based on those of the 1920s-era Phantom. And the luggage compartment in the rear comes with two bespoke “Grand Tourer” cases.

Oh, but the interior – that’s what’s to die for. The inside of the Vison Next 100 is a decidedly lounge-like arrangement featuring a backlit, silk-covered couch; deep-pile ivory wool carpet, Macassar wood lining the cabin and a clamshell canopy reminiscent of a prohibition-era bank bunker. 

And then, there’s Eleanor – an interactive program named for the muse to artist Charles Sykes, who sculpted the original Sprit of Ecstasy that became the Rolls icon a century ago. Eleanor serves as a chauffeur and assistant, much like an automotive version of the iPhone’s Siri program that reminds passengers (or guests, as Rolls likes to say) about appointments and makes suggestions to ease anticipated impediments to plans.

“She brings the car around when her passengers are ready to travel and, whilst conveying her charges to their next destination, helpfully but discreetly makes suggestions and recommendations, briefing them ahead of their arrival so they are ready to perform,” the company says of Eleanor.

“With the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100, we were mindful not to dwell on the past,” added Giles Taylor, Rolls-Royce’s director of design, in a media statement. “We wanted to be as innovative as possible and at the same time transcend the design history of the marque.”

Find out more about the Vision Next 100 in the video below and post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.