Some love it, some hate it, but everyone has to admit that the Rolls Royce Phantom is one impressive car in every way. As if that weren't enough, at Detroit Rolls Royce dropped another bomb on us in the form of the pre-production Phantom Drophead Coupe, complete with brushed aluminum hood, teak boot-lid and power suicide doors. But parent company BMW isn't about to rest on its million-dollar-baby's laurels, so it's on to the next project: a smaller sedan positioned downmarket.

We brought you news of the new model in September; now reports suggest that the upcoming "baby Rolls" will actually get its own distinct platform, rather than being based on a modified BMW 7-Series platform or a shortened Phantom. The jury's still out on what engine will motivate the new luxury sedan – options include the Phantom's V12, an existing engine from the BMW range or an all-new powerplant. We can expect some components to come from the corporate parts bin, but not anywhere near the extent that Volkswagen underpins the Bentley Continental range.

Priced between $250k and $300k, the new model will be produced at the company's Goodwood facility in the UK alongside the Phantom range, effectively doubling factory output. Insiders anticipate a 2010 launch, after which we can start looking for the baby Rolls in hip-hop videos and in front of upscale hotels.

[Source: Automotive News via Motor Authority]

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