What is it?
The pinnacle of luxury motoring. From its slightly gauche Bentley wilderness years to revived brand powerhouse and credibility under BMW’s ownership, Rolls-Royce has produced a stunning luxury car. The Phantom mixes modernity and tradition beautifully, particularly following a facelift last year – these cars lose the controversial round fog lamps at the front with a more retro-Rolls rectangular-shaped full LED lights setup taking their place.
Drive or be driven? You’ll enjoy both in the Phantom. It looks and feels weighty, but the V12 does a very convincing job hauling all that sumptuousness around. The spookily quiet 6.75-litre turbocharged 12-cylinder gives the Phantom scary pace, that’s now all the more smooth and genteel courtesy of a new eight-speed automatic transmission. You’ll want the extended wheelbase one though, not for the additional length it brings, but merely because it says you can afford the additional metal. Both ride with truly remarkable composure, the suspension and huge wheels (with always level rich-man’s spinners RR wheel badges) helping smother the pock-marked tarmac. The ride quality is, frankly, amazing. And while the steering is light and accurate, the wheel’s thin rim feels delightfully old school.
The obvious extremities help position the Phantom in traffic, but if that’s a real worry pay someone to shoulder the burden. Hushed refinement and comfort beyond comparison, you could live in it it’s so vast – if you default on your Mayfair mansion house you’ve always got options.
On the inside
Regardless of whether you choose to sit in the front or the back, you’re surrounded by impeccable craftsmanship and ensconced in sumptuous luxury. The seats are like gigantic Lay-Z-Boys covered in the finest, softest leather imaginable, while the wood and chrome’s lustre is so deep and weighty you can’t help yourself from reaching out to touch it. It’s very special in there, feeling every bit as expensive as it is. Don’t drop anything on the carpets if you ever want to see it again, the wool is so deep and thick it’s like luxury quicksand. Rolls- Royce has updated the sat nav to make it more modern as well as amazingly decadent.
Every Phantom saloon now costs at least £300,000 and you’ll easily get it far higher with a few choice options. It’s expensive, and that’s all that matters. You’re more likely to worry about the cost of running your helicopter than your Rolls. At least the latest model is more fuel efficient, though owners will see the advantage in driving range than actually saving money.