The Rolls-Royce Phantom has undoubtedly aged gracefully during its 13-year reign and, despite attempts by the Bentley Mulsanne, Mercedes-Benz S-Class (which competes here in ultra-luxurious Maybach form) and Range Rover to intrude on its heady price bracket, the Phantom remains alluring for anyone who can afford to buy and run it. Aged it has, though, which is why Rolls-Royce is introducing this new Phantom.
Rolls-Royce Phantom features
Looking at these pictures, it might take a few minutes to realise that this is indeed a new-generation Phantom. But while very little has changed in its exterior design, this Phantom sits on an all-new platform designed to make it even more quiet and comfortable to drive – or be driven in – than the old car. Small design changes include a grille that now sits within the bodywork rather than in front of it and a sleeker look at the rear that is said to be inspired by yachts.
This new Phantom is marginally higher and wider than the old car, with slightly less space between its front and rear axles. Despite that, interior space is mostly unchanged, although there is slightly more head room on offer. Boot space has increased slightly, too. As before, a long-wheelbase version of the Phantom will also be offered, and this is likely to be especially popular in Far East markets, where Rolls-Royce exports a lot of cars.
It's interesting to note that Rolls-Royce isn't planning to offer convertible or coupé variants of the new Phantom – those roles having been filled by the Dawn and Wraith respectively. The Wraith, remember, is currently our favourite luxury car for more than £100,000.
Rolls-Royce Phantom engine
The only engine on offer in the new Phantom is a thirsty 6.8-litre V12 petrol – not that high running costs are likely to trouble any prospective owners. Power has increased to 563bhp, but more significant is that its full pulling power is available from just 1000rpm, which is likely to prove useful in getting the 2625kg Phantom up to motorway speeds. Indeed, the new car is capable of sprinting from 0-62mph in 5.3sec, and on to a limited top speed of 155mph. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard.
The new Phantom's engine returns a claimed 20.3mpg combined, with CO2 emissions of 318g/km.
Rolls-Royce Phantom interior
Features include retractable picnic tables and screens in the back of the front seats for rear passengers. Naturally, the new rear centre console includes a drinks cabinet, with space for glasses and decanters. More interior surfaces are now heated – as well as the seats themselves – while owners can place their own artwork behind a special glass panel on the centre console.
Of the more practical features of the new Phantom are a new fully digital 12.3in instrument cluster, which can show navigation instructions and other journey information alongside speed, power reserve (which Rolls-Royce features instead of revs) and fuel and temperature dials. A head-up display is standard and can project the most crucial information directly in front of the driver.
There's also a central infotainment screen that uses a modified version of BMW's iDrive infotainment and navigation system, all controlled via a rotary dial. We already think the iDrive system is one of the best around, so potential buyers should find it easy to use.
Rolls-Royce has used even more sound-deadening materials for this Phantom, meaning it's quieter than the old car at a motorway cruise. In fact, the company says the loudest thing you should hear in the Phantom at such speeds is its analogue clock, which sits on the centre console.
Rolls-Royce Phantom price
At this end of the automotive scale, price is almost irrelevant; but, even so, Rolls-Royce is expected to raise the price of this Phantom to around £400,000 – well up on today's starting price of £322,175 (and a further £53,000 for the long-wheelbase model). At its new price, the Phantom will be more than £150,000 more expensive than the Bentley Mulsanne.
Rolls-Royce SUV to follow in 2019
This new Phantom is more than just the latest version of Rolls-Royce's flagship car; it's also the first of a new generation of Rolls-Royce models. It will be followed in 2019 by the brand's first-ever SUV, currently known as project Cullinan. The four-wheel drive SUV will be powered by a tweaked version of the new Phantom's V12 petrol engine, with a plug-in hybrid version expected to be offered at a later stage. It has four-wheel drive as standard and will provide luxury buyers with a pricier alternative to the Bentley Bentayga.
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