The Phantom weighs a mighty 2.5 tonnes. However, its aluminium spaceframe saves around 300kg compared to that of a more convention steel structure. The Rolls is powered by a BMW-sourced, 6.8 litre V12 engine, paired with an eight-speed gearbox, and has more than enough 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. It’s possible to add a dynamic package, which gives you stiffer suspension, weightier steering and upgraded brakes, but it hardly seems worth it in a car like this – that just isn’t the point.
Some bumps cause the steering wheel to quiver in your hands but, overall, the ride is sumptuously comfortable. Despite that huge body being hauled over poor UK road surfaces, it stays nicely controlled most of the time; neither undulating roads nor continuously broken surfaces have a detrimental effect.
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.
On the road, the Rolls does what it’s supposed to very well, but a Mercedes S-Class rides as well and handles slightly better, although much of that is to do with its considerably lower kerb weight. A Jaguar XJ is better to drive again, but neither it, the Audi A8, the Range Rover or more expensive rivals from Bentley mange to ride quite as nicely at the same time.