2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead review

* Updated Phantom cabriolet driven * On sale now * Priced from 352,720...

2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead review
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Richard Bremner
12 Jun 2012 10:43

The Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe has been given significant upgrades for the first time since its launch in 2007.

The front bumper has been restyled, there are new adaptive LED headlights and the front grille frame is now in one piece for a tidier look.

Meanwhile, the biggest mechanical change is to the automatic transmission; it now has eight speeds instead of six, which helps improve fuel consumption by 10% and cut CO2 emissions from 385g/km to 347g/km.

Performance is unchanged, so the Series II Drophead powers from 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds. However, buyers who want more can now order a dynamic pack to extract more performance.

For the interior, the biggest change is a much-needed update of the BMW iDrive-derived infotainment system. The bigger screen now provides 3D maps, guided tours and improved route planning, as well as front-, rear- and top-view cameras.

The Drophead cannot yet park itself, however, nor does it provide blindspot detection, lane-keeping or radar-controlled braking.

What's the 2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe like to drive?
With the roof down on a sunny day, this Rolls-Royce feels gloriously indulgent; its scale, comfort and silently delivered power making a treat of every trip.

The eight-speed transmission's shifts are barely detectable, and it always finds the right gear when brisk acceleration is required.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead now with eight-speed auto gearbox

Despite its size, the Drophead is easy to handle because you sit high and the steering is surprisingly accurate.

It's a more agile car than it looks, too, cornering briskly despite some roll.

The ride is, for the most part, pillowy, although the huge 21-inch alloys sometimes send tremors through the seats and steering wheel.

Large wheels can upset the serene ride

What's the 2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe like inside?
The cabin is as sumptuous as you'd expect, while the dashboard is a deep-lacquered homage to the carpenter's art.

Hand-crafted, sumptuous interior

The cabin's abundance of leather and rich detailing make the Drophead a pleasure to step into, even if the rear seats are a bit confined and the hood takes time to rise or fall. That's forgivable when you consider the volume of fabric to be folded beneath its teak deck-lid.

There's no wind deflector, so you get some air-swirl in the cabin, but it's far from uncomfortable.

Should I buy one?
If you're one of the few people lucky enough to be able to spend more than 350,000 on a car, then absolutely. The Phantom Drophead Coupe feels incredibly special and remains the ultimate four-seater cabriolet.

That its tranquil progress is matched to unexpectedly potent acceleration and surprising dynamic powers only adds to its appeal.

There isn't a more imposing drop-top than the Rolls-Royce Phantom

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Richard Bremner