The next generation of the uber-luxurious Rolls Royce Phantom may be built with a carbon-fibre bodyshell, if reports from the British automotive media are to be believed.
According to British mag Autocar, Rolls-Royce is currently debating whether it should develop a new carbon-alloy chassis for the new Phantom or simply refresh the existing all-aluminium body.
While keeping the existing architecture is cheaper and simpler, employing ultra-lightweight carbon-fibre for its bodywork could help the Phantom shed many kilos from its corpulent frame.
And less weight means less thirst and improved performance, however the extra cost of carbon-fibre construction may also mean the next Phantom could be the most expensive ever.
There's also the issue of whether parent company BMW can manufacture enough carbon fibre for Rolls Royce, given its Washington, USA composites plant already has its hands full making carbon panels for the i3 and i8.
As for the new Phantom's engine, the current BMW-sourced petrol V12 is expected to carry over, though rumour has it that a plug-in hybrid owertrain using this engine will be developed for emissions-sensitive markets like the USA and Europe.
But there's still plenty of time for Rolls Royce to finalise its plans for the new Phantom. With a debut not expected until sometime in 2017, it will be a couple of years before more concrete details of Rolls-Royce's new ultra-limo trickle out.