The Phantom weighs a mighty 2.5 tonnes. However, thanks to its aluminium spaceframe, that’s 300kg less than it would have weighed if conventionally built from steel. With a BMW-sourced. 6.8 litre V12 married to an eight-speed gearbox, you won’t want for performance.
Given its size, the Phantom is surprisingly wieldy, although it pays to be neat with its responsive and accurate steering and to adopt a steady-in, fast-out approach to bends. Some bumps cause the steering wheel to quiver but the ride is sumptuously comfortable.
You expect a Rolls-Royce to sound like a library on wheels, and for the most part the Phantom is appropriately silent. There's virtually no road noise and the mechanical components work smoothly and silently. However, with the other sources of noise so well suppressed, you can hear a bit of wind flutter.
You don’t enter Rolls-Royce ownership under any illusion, so the enormous purchase prices are to be expected. So are the insane running costs, but again, anyone who can shell out this kind of money for a car won’t really care. You might need to build yourself a new garage, too, because the car in absolutely enormous.
The car was styled in England but engineered in Germany by parent company BMW, so you get the best of both worlds. The cabin materials and aroma are pure Rolls, but fit and finish are on an altogether higher level than in the old days. Assembly standards are superb, and we’ve no reason to fear mechanical problems.
As you'd expect, the Phantom comes with a host of airbags and electronic driver aids to help you avoid smashing up your pride and joy. However, it does lack some of the latest safety aids, like lane-keeping assist and blind spot monitoring.
The Phantom’s classy surroundings are not at the expense of sound ergonomics. The driver sits at Land Rover Discovery level, although rearward visibility is poor to ensure rear passengers get the required degree of privacy. The Phantom’s BMW-derived iDrive system includes front, rear and top-view cameras and a 3D navigation display.
At the back, the Phantom has ‘coach doors’, which are hinged at the rear to make it easier to get in and out. However, because of the car’s height, it takes practice to master the act of swivelling on the seat before stepping out. Space is generous, but the long-wheelbase car offers even more space. The rear seats are not adjustable.
The Phantom is very well equipped, but being an older design lacks some of the latest features such as a head-up instrument and automatic parallel parking. Rolls-Royce’s bespoke programme allows plenty of scope for customisation, however. You can have pretty much anything you want – for a price.
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The Phantom is a fabulously accomplished super-luxury saloon. You might be tempted by the long-wheelbase version, but this gives you all the Phantom you really need.