Ghost, Spirit, Shadow, Wraith – Rolls-Royce has always looked to the ethereal for its car names. The Phantom is another that conjures up thoughts of ghostly apparitions and spectral nightmares. However, in reality, the latest Phantom is nothing but a good dream in every single aspect.
To be fair, the Phantom would not suit being called the Rolls-Royce Daisy. It’s 5.7 metres long (almost 6 metres long in LWB form) and over two metres wide. It’s a colossal machine, boasting the ultimate road presence; on the rare occasion when you glance in your mirror and see the Spirit of Ecstasy on top of the iconic pantheon grill, you have one thought only, and that’s to move immediately to the right and let it glide serenely past.
One instance where the Phantom does live up to its name is in its spirited performance. A 563bhp, twin turbocharged V12 with 664 lb/ft of torque is enough grunt for a main battle tank, let alone a luxury saloon, so it’s easy to hustle the big Roller along at a surprising pace. The 0 to 100 km/h sprint is dispatched in a mere 5.3 seconds, not bad for a car tipping the scales at 2,560kgs. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h and courtesy of some ingenious tech, the Phantom can take bends like a sports car. An aluminum space frame chassis is fitted with self-leveling air suspension and electronically controlled dampers, all of which are linked to a windshield mounted camera that scans the road a head and pre configures the spring and damper rates, and the anti-roll bars, for a supreme ride. The gearbox is also linked to a GPS receiver that analyses the Rolls’ location and speed, changing the gearing to suit. Add the night vision system, the laser headlights with a 600 metre range and the active cruise control and you have a car that genuinely thinks ahead.
As Rolls-Royce owners are getting ever younger, the Phantom will most likely be owner-driven and so it can be enjoyed from behind the wheel, or in the vast passenger compartment. You’re surrounded by luxury here, much of it traditional, in the form of soft leather and wood – and some of modern, such as the unique dashboard design, named The Gallery. Here, an artist can be commissioned to create a unique artwork for the owner, which Rolls-Royce’s craftsmen will mount behind a glass cover.
All the doors can now be closed at the touch of a button – essential for those in the rear, as once you’re sat back in the seat, you can’t actually reach the door handle. Sitting under the starlight headliner, you’re aware of your luxury surroundings, but little else. The famous ‘magic carpet ride’ can make you forget that you’re traveling in a car at all, with even Rolls-Royce describing the passenger compartment as a suite. In here you’re cocooned in the world’s finest ‘A grade’ hides with sumptuous, lambswool floor mats underfoot . Hand-crafted wood veneers adorn the huge ‘coach doors’. These are hinged at the rear in order to make entry and exit a dignified process – perfect for Kandura or evening dress.
|Rolls-Royce Phantom Specifications|
|Engine:||V12 48 valve|
|Power:||563bhp @ 5,000rpm|
|Torque:||664 lb/ft @ 1,700rom|
|Max speed:||250 km/h|
|0-100 km/h:||5.3 sec|
Despite its Phantom moniker, the king of the luxury car is an unashamedly happy automobile. Behind the wheel, the feeling of effortlessly driving the most refined car on the road brings you out in a colossal smile. It’s a big car, but surprisingly doesn’t feel it once you get going. Even the huge bonnet makes intricate maneuvering straightforward as the corners are where the Phantom ends – plus you do have the four-camera ‘helicopter’ view, giving the driver a full, top down look at the Roll’s surroundings.
It goes without saying, that the passenger suite is the place to be to really put a smile on your face. Not only do you feel like royalty when getting in and out, but also the feeling of excitement of just seeing your Phantom come to pick you up is palpable. The Phantom also has the rare trait of making people around it feel good too. We live in one of the most Rolls-Royce abundant areas on the planet and it’s always a treat to see one glide down Sheikh Zayed Road, or pull up to the valet parking in the Dubai Mall. In this sense the name does fit, as the Phantom will always have an air of mystery about it.