Not to mention its first true concept car period.
We get that BMW reaching its centenary in 2016 is a pretty big deal. It's rare to find a company that's been running for 100 years, and that feat for BMW is made even more amazing when you consider the company came oh-so-close to falling under in the years after the end of World War II. That said, we do think BMW is being a bit too self-aggrandizing in the celebrations. First we had MINI commemorate 50 years of BMW's presence in Italy, and now we've got this: the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100.
Distance the Vision Next 100 away from the BMW commemorations, though, and what we're left with is a very intriguing teaser of what may be in store for future Rolls-Royce models. And it seems the luxury car maker has a very radical overhaul in mind, with perhaps the most obvious example of this being the exterior design. People have criticized more recent Rolls models for being too flashy and chintzy, but the Vision Next 100 takes that to a whole new level, with its pontoon-esque front fenders, semi-enclosed wheel arches and slim chrome grille. The LED lights are also pretty distinctive and are perhaps the main elements we'd expect to be carried over to a future Rolls. As soon as the next Phantom, perhaps?
The rest of the Rolls-Royce concept is equally outlandish, albeit not as crazy as the exterior. The luggage is stored under the hood, where there would be a V12 engine if the car didn't already have two electric motors with a combined output of 671-hp that, in theory, endow this futuristic Rolls with a silent and effortless turn of speed. Such power isn't controlled by human beings, however. Instead, a Cortana-esque "virtual chauffeur" called "Eleanor," named after Eleanor Thornton, who is claimed to have inspired the design of Rolls-Royce's iconic Spirit of Ecstasy figurehead. There is still an adherence to tradition, though. The interior is all handcrafted out of high-end materials, and there's even an analogue clock in the dashboard.