Spied: Rolls-Royce's next flagship sedan

There will soon be a new king-of-the-hill in Rolls-Royce showrooms.

Rolls-Royce's Phantom-replacing flagship sedan has been spotted for the first time undergoing shakedown testing in Europe. The new model will be Rolls-Royce's first all-new flagship model in more than a decade.

Although it might not be called Phantom, the new sedan will carryover most of the current car's design cues. However, expect a more squared-off from end with redesigned rectangular headlights. The sedan's thick C-pillars will also be re-shaped.

The new sedan will be just as big as the outgoing Phantom, but it should be significantly lighter thanks to a new modular platform that includes plenty of light-weight aluminum. It's possible that Rolls could even lean on parent BMW for some of its carbon-fiber technology.

The Rolls-Royce flagship will continue to be offered in both long- and short-wheelbase forms, but insiders have revealed that coupe and convertible models will be dropped due to a lack of sales.

Although most automakers are downsizing, Rolls-Royce is sticking with a massive V12 engine for the new sedan. However, it's possible that an eco-friendly plug-in hybrid drivetrain could join the mix later in the car's life cycle.

Rolls-Royce is expected to introduce its next-generation flagship sedan at a major auto show sometime in 2017. When it comes to market, it will carry a starting price just north of $400,000.

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