Just hours after Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös announced plans to end Phantom production later this year, spy photographers have snapped new photos of the eighth-generation model.

Set to be launched in early 2018, the next-generation model has an evolutionary design that is instantly recognizable.  Camouflage hides most of the styling details but we can see the model will have a familiar front fascia with a prominent grille that is flanked by rectangular headlights.  Moving further back, there's door-mounted mirrors, rear "coach doors," and thick C-pillars.

Rolls-Royce has been tight-lipped about specifications but the company has already confirmed the Phantom will ride on an all-new aluminum space-frame architecture that will enable the car to be lighter than its predecessor while still maintaining a "magic-carpet ride" quality. The platform will underpin all future Rolls-Royce models but the Phantom Coupe and the Phantom Drophead Coupe will be phased out.  These models will effectively be replaced by the Dawn and Wraith.

Speaking earlier today, Müller-Ötvös said the next-generation Phantom will be "contemporary and beautiful" with "cutting-edge technologies and design innovations."  The executive also noted "Any new Phantom is an historic and important moment in automotive history and we are working hard on perfecting the Phantom VIII.”

Gallery: 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom spied in Lapland

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