Price from £200,000
On sale 2010
What is it? Rolls’s smallest model, which weighs in at 2.5 tonnes and is 4.5m long
We had our first inkling of the Ghost in the form of the 200 EX at last year’s Geneva motor show – Rolls-Royce bosses used words such as ‘panache’ and ‘bravado’ to describe its styling. By the time the production Ghost hit the Frankfurt show later that year, it was hard to see any real difference between the two and that, we think, is a very good thing indeed.
It might be the smallest model in the range, but the Ghost still looks and feels like a luxury car. Even though it’s 43cm shorter and 42cm narrower than the Phantom, it has almost as much space inside.
Like the Phantom, the Ghost has rear-hinged ‘coach’ doors to allow for more graceful entry and exit from the cabin.
It takes 1200 man days of work to build each car, with seven days alone to paint and polish the body, while the veneer in each is taken from a single tree to ensure it matches.
The Ghost is also billed as the most powerful Rolls ever, with its 563bhp 6.6-litre V12 capable of taking the car to 155mph and from 0-60mph in just 4.7 seconds. Fuel consumption is just 20.8mpg, although an 82-litre fuel tank should provide a reasonable range, while CO2 output is 317g/km. Not cheap to tax, then, but probably worth all of those pennies.
Price from £200,000 (est)
On sale Early 2010
What it is it? The replacement for the ageing Bentley Arnage
The Mulsanne name relates to the Le Mans 24 Hours race, where Bentley took four consecutive victories from 1927 to 1930. However, this is a luxury limo, designed to take on the Rolls-Royce Phantom, rather than a sporty super-saloon. Bentley is confident that it will ‘set new standards in terms of comfort, effortless performance and hand-crafted refinement’. So it’s quite good, then.
The Mulsanne name was last used between 1980 and 1992 on a luxury saloon, but we’re told the Bentley eight-litre Tourer from the 1930s inspired this new model. Coupé and convertible variants could follow later.
Price from £52,500 (est)
On sale March 2010
What is it? The new big cat is, well, big, but is it clever?
The second instalment of Jaguar’s reinvention of saloon cars is almost here, as the world prepares itself for the imposing, all-new XJ. This promises to upset traditional Jaguar fans as much as the XF did when launched two and a half years ago. Gone is the old-school styling and in its place is a dynamic and modern luxury car. The front has an evolution of the XF’s upright grille, but the rear is an all-newtake on how a four-door should look.
It does have something in common with the old XJ, however: a mostly aluminium underbody structure. The new car also gets the latest V6 diesel and V8 petrol engines, as used in the XF and the XK ranges, and enough in-car technology to keep a rocket scientist happy. The new car will come in both standard and long-wheelbase configurations, too.
Price from £54,760
On sale April
What is it? Audi’s bigger, lighter, faster and more efficient all-new A8
Audi hasn’t gone mad on the styling of the all-new A8 – it’s much more an evolution in design than a radical departure.
Although the A8 is bigger than before, clever use of aluminium means it is lighter. So not only is it faster, but also more efficient.
In addition to the one petrol and two diesel engines at launch, a greener version of the 3.0-litre V6 diesel will be available later in the year. Not only will it have average fuel economy of 47.1mpg, but CO2 emissions will be a class-leading 159g/km – beating the BMW 730d by 19g/km.
All A8s will get double glazing, climate control and air suspension, with the option of all-LED headlights also available.