Used 2002 Rolls-Royce Corniche Review

It's hard for us to recommend spending 360 grand on a car, but if you've got your heart and your wallet set on this most expensive Rolls-Royce, who are we to talk you out of it?

what's new

The Corniche is unchanged for 2002. Note that this is the last year of production at the Crewe plant. BMW will take ownership of the Rolls-Royce name in 2003, and production will shift to a new plant in Goodwood, England.

vehicle overview

How easy is it to go through $360,000 these days? In the big picture, it's really chump change (big picture meaning federal deficit or Louis Anderson's donut money). After a shopping spree yielding a couple of full-length sables and perhaps an obscure Gainsborough, you'll barely have enough left over for dessert at The Cheesecake Factory. Be smart and use your money wisely; commission a Rolls-Royce Corniche instead.

A Rolls-Royce convertible is a symbol of luxurious hedonism worldwide. Each Corniche is custom-built to order, increasing the unlikelihood of committing a fashion faux pas, for no one else in the world will be driving the same car as you are. Each car is individually commissioned to the needs and tastes of the owner. As it is, only a few hundred even exist. When you place your commission, a merry band of craftsmen will start on hand-finishing the fine wood veneers with crossbanding and boxwood inlay, hand-stitching the Connolly leather and matching the Wilton wool carpets in any shade your pampered little heart desires.

The Corniche comes in one configuration. Standard with your coach are a powered retracting fabric hood that stows beneath flush-fitting chrome decking, a six-disc CD changer mounted in the front seat armrest with an eight speaker audio system incorporating a remote control for rear seat passengers, four-channel ABS and Automatic Ride Control (ARC), which provides computer control of the suspension dampers to optimize ride comfort and handling.

Also at your beck and call are 325 horsepower and 544 foot-pounds of torque, compliments of the tried-and-true turbocharged pushrod 6.75-liter V8 powerplant mated to a four-speed automatic. Considering that it must motivate an 83-inch wide, 212.8-inch long, 6,030-pound vehicle, its zero-to-60 time of 8 seconds can be considered fleet.

With a turning radius of almost 40 feet, this is no nimble sports car, nor does it aspire to be. No, it is an institution in and of itself, and holds rank and file as the ultimate boulevardier. Rolls expects to sell about 200 of these per annum, and the quota for this year has already been met. Go ahead and place an order for next year, though -- it takes about four to five months from the time the commission is made to the time it is delivered to your door. That's before any special requests are made.

If you want the distinction of owning one of the last all-new models to be hand-built from the Crewe, England, factory, you'll have to act fast. As of 2003, the institution will become part of BMW, at which time cars will be crafted in a facility situated at Goodwood, the estate of Lord March.

And if you're ever in a situation where you have to defend your purchase, you can always say, "Hey, it's the car in which geeky Farmer Ted learned how to drive in 'Sixteen Candles'!"

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.