At $1.7 million, the Rolls-Royce Corniche is the most expensive car in Singapore. Everything about it is excessive, but I love it absolutely
You need to be Rolling in cash Rolls-Royce Corniche

JUST what is it like driving a salmon pink Rolls-Royce convertible?

You are never less than extremely self-conscious about the whole experience, but it actually feels fun.

The Rolls-Royce Corniche is not a car. It is an obscenity.

It is obscenely large, obscenely ostentatious and, above all, obscenely expensive.

Yours for $1.7 million, the Corniche is the most expensive car in Singapore. And despite the heart-attack price, I love it absolutely.

Everything about the car is excessive. Its body is so large, it would take half a day to walk a lap around it.

The engine is so big (at 6.75-litres) that coughing up its road-tax bill over 10 years would set you back $130,950, enough for a junior executive sedan.

The engine's thirst is so monstrous that it is slaked at the rate of 25.8 litres per 100 km in city driving, about three times what the average family car would consume.

Just as well then, that the Corniche is aimed at oil-baron types.

All that money buys the finest craftsmanship in the automotive world today. You feel as if you have to wash your hands before touching anything in the car.

The carpeting feels so exquisite that you feel like throwing your shoes and socks out of the window and wiggling your toes in it.

It also looks so posh that you tend to look at the soles of your shoes before climbing into the car, just to make certain that you did not tread on any doggy doo.

Yet, the Corniche is one hopelessly-outdated machine.

The convertible's roof may be lined by mohair, but it shrouds a plastic rear screen.

Even a Mazda Miata has a glass one, these days.

Indeed, the Peugeot 206 CC manages to pack a folding hard top into a body a fraction of the size of the Rolls-Royce's, but you could buy 15 of those cars for the price of the Corniche.

Besides having a low-tech roof, the Corniche is so corpulent that it would probably be left for dead by a Toyota Corolla on a winding road.

And despite being heaved along by a mighty giant of a turbocharged engine, it is slower than Lexus' new convertible, the SC 430.

So, would you really prefer to have one Rolls-Royce over five Lexus SC 430s?

The answer might just be yes.

Even though I have been behind the wheel of some scarily-expensive cars, none of them managed to feel quite like the Rolls.

The Corniche has a magic carpet ride, and it feels so majestic and substantial on the go that you could probably crash into a stegosaurus' bum without noticing.

It really does exude class, too.

One would have thought that salmon pink would give it the appearance of a pimp's personal transport, but the Rolls-Royce has such grace and presence that it wore the colour with dignity.

Add to that the fact that the current Corniche is the last Rolls-Royce before BMW takes over the brand, and it attains immeasurable significance in the minds of purists and those with a bent for automotive history.

Nevertheless, even if I had the means to make such a decision, I like cars in general too much to be able to blow such a huge stack on just one convertible, even if it did happen to be a Rolls-Royce Corniche.

(For the record, I would rather take home a Ferrari 360 Spider, a BMW M3 Convertible, a Lotus Elise and a Triumph 955i Daytona motorcycle).

But if someone out there bought one, I could understand his choice. There are better convertibles than the Rolls, but surely not a finer one.

NEXT WEEK: The Mulliner Bentley Continental and Bentley Arnage Red Label reviewed


Rolls-Royce Corniche

Price: $1,700,000 without COE

Engine: 6,750 cc 16V turbocharged V8

Power: 325 bhp at 4,000 rpm

Torque: 738 Nm from 2,100 to 2,300 rpm

0 - 100 kmh: 8.5 seconds

Top speed: 220 kmh

For enquiries: Call Malayan Motors on 473-7755