Rolls-Royce diminishes the brand: Tungsten

, Posted by Sports Cars Fans at 9:19 AM

Rolls-Royce has announced a special edition of the Phantom, to be called the Tungsten. At least six of the model are headed to the lands of Arabian oil wealth, complete with dark paint similar to that of the 101EX concept car and new seven-spoke wheels, just like the concept car.

It’s the same way that they’ve sold Chevy’s for years. Take a model that’s been on the market for a while, doll it up with a few cosmetic extras, call it a special edition and wait for the suckers to walk in the showroom door.

The suckers, in this case, will get “Smoke Grey” leather with navy accents, Rosewood veneer, and metallic trim to accent the instrument panel. But the real specialty of this special is roof that uses fiber-optic lights to create a simulated star-filled sky on the headliner above the back seat – sorta like those lights they put in the Escalade stretch limos.

You also get silver key fobs.

Of course, tarting up a car was never beneath the Rolls-Royce brand. Rolls-Royce used to do it regularly for Indian maharajas’ and created some of the most garish concoctions on four wheels (and, in at least one instance, six). And, in reality, the Tungsten Rolls-Royce isn’t particularly garish. A car in multiple shades of grey can’t be garish. Actually, it looks rather good.

But there’s something demeaning about selling a brand so lofty as Rolls-Royce, so lofty that it’s usually called a “marquee,” in the same fashion that pedestrian carmakers use to move “the iron.” The whole essence of Rolls-Royce is class, at least in appearance if not reality.

But, no. BMW has adopted for Rolls-Royce the marketing tactic of the Town Car: signature editions.

No class, there.