Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph
|Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph|
|Designer||Roy Axe (1991)|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Full-size luxury car|
|Body style||4-door saloon|
|Engine||5.4 L BMW V12|
|Transmission||5-speed ZF 5HP30 automatic|
|Wheelbase||3,117 mm (122.7 in)|
|Length||5,390 mm (212.2 in)|
|Width||1998-2000: 1,930 mm (76.0 in)
2001-02: 1,933 mm (76.1 in)
|Height||1,514 mm (59.6 in)|
|Predecessor||Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit|
|Successor||Rolls-Royce Phantom (2003) Rolls-Royce Ghost|
Development of the Silver Seraph began in the late 1980s, with design work commencing in October 1990. By April 1991, the conceptual design was frozen and approved by the management in June 1991. After several refinements made, the definitive design was reached in 1994. On July 28, 1995 design patents were filed for both the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph and Bentley Arnage utilizing production design prototypes as representations. Development concluded after an astounding 10 years in late 1997, with pilot production models being produced into early 1998 bearing R396 DTU registration plates.
All Seraphs were hand-built at the Rolls-Royce factory in Crewe, England, which stopped making Rolls-Royce models in 2002 but continued with Bentley. The car had a base price of £155,175 in the UK and $220,695 in the US. It was second in cost and exclusivity only to the Rolls-Royce Corniche.
The Seraph was powered by a 5.4 L aluminium alloy BMW V12 engine and was operated via a 5-speed automatic transmission, making it the first twelve-cylinder Rolls-Royce since the 1939 Phantom III. Standard electronics included digital engine management, adaptive ride control and anti-lock brakes.
The body was 65 percent stiffer than that of its predecessor. Aside from the radiator grille, badges and wheels, the Rolls-Royce was externally identical to the contemporary Bentley Arnage, sharing both its platform and body shell. The exterior was available in one and two-tone finishes.
Inside, the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph and the Bentley Arnage were similar but quite distinct from one another. In the Seraph, the gear selector was column-mounted and the gauges followed a traditional Rolls-Royce layout (for example, there was no tachometer). In both cars, the seats and dashboard were upholstered in Connolly Leather, with dashboard trim and folding picnic trays for rear passengers faced with glossy burr walnut veneer.
The Seraph was known for its relatively limited acceleration and comfortable handling, in comparison to the Arnage, which had a twin turbocharged V8 of its own design and firmer suspension. However, the Seraph still had a top speed of 230 km/h or 140 mph.
Park Ward model
An extended wheelbase version of the Silver Seraph, called simply the Rolls-Royce Park Ward, was introduced for the 2001 model year, having originally debuted at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show. The Park Ward (sometimes called the Silver Seraph Park Ward) was extended 250 mm (10 in) relative to the Silver Seraph. The car's extra length was added at its front and rear doors, resulting in more leg room for passengers. It retained the 5-passenger seating of the standard Silver Seraph. Like its smaller cousin, the Park Ward was discontinued after 2002; a total of 127 Park Wards were produced.
A total of 1,570 Silver Seraphs were produced before production ceased. It was indirectly replaced by the Rolls-Royce Phantom in 2003, and then the 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost. The discontinued Bentley Arnage continued to be based on the Silver Seraph until 2009. Bentley is now owned by Volkswagen.
- RAC (7.6/10)
'The Silver Seraph marks a new start for Rolls-Royce in their quest to once more be recognised as manufacturers of the world's best cars. And it's quite a credible effort'
|Rolls-Royce Motor Cars timeline|
|Ownership||Independent||Vickers plc||VW Group||BMW|
|Twenty||20/25||25/30||Wraith||WWII||Silver Dawn||Silver Cloud||Silver Shadow||Silver Spirit/Dawn||Silver Seraph||Ghost|
|Premium||30 hp||40/50 hp (Silver Ghost)||Phantom I/II/III||Silver Wraith||Silver Wraith II||Silver Spur||Ghost Extended Wheelbase|
|Phantom IV||Phantom V/VI||Touring Limousine||Park Ward||Phantom|
|Convertible||Corniche/II/III/IV||Corniche V||Phantom Drophead|
|Coupé||Camargue||Silver Spirit Hooper 2 Door||Phantom Coupé|