BOND STREET, LONDON – CENTER OF GLOBAL LUXURY, BONHAM’S played host to the press launch of the new Rolls-Royce Phantom, perhaps the most famous limousine in the world. The first Phantom was launched in 1925, and this eighth version is an all-new platform architecture which is exclusive to Rolls-Royce. Bespoke engineering is an important principle for the brand, one which was highlighted by the Swept Tail one-off commission exhibited at Villa D’Este earlier this year.
Although the new Phantom is a production car, it has been designed from the outset to encourage and respond to personalisation. It is available from launch in two wheelbases and the dashboard incorporates a glass ‘Gallery’ area which provides artists a glass fronted shadow box to display three-dimensional work. Think of it as taking wood inlays and veneers to the next level with depth, lighting and reflectivity.
The rest of the interior design is also very successful, marrying tradition with innovation in a way that looks fresh, modern, and contemporary. Small conveniences have been added such as self closing doors which now work with a brush of the exterior handles. Everywhere is the sense that Rolls-Royce have examined every aspect of the user experience and thought very deeply about the concept of luxury in the future. Less buttons, more functionality, an easier user interface – these are perhaps equally important to modern owners as wood and leather.
Owners will be able to specify their car from a variety of different seating choices, including the more intimate lounge seat, individual seats with occasional armrest, individual seats with fixed centre console and the newly introduced sleeping seat. The new fixed rear centre console incorporates a drinks cabinet with whisky glasses and decanter, champagne flutes and coolbox. In any configuration effortless conversation is aided with the very careful angling of the rear seats. This ensures occupants are able to talk to each other without straining their necks.
The sense of touch is also satisfied by the continued use of the finest and most authentic materials throughout the interior. Every item of switchgear is made from metal – such as the iconic eyeball vents and organ stop controllers, seat and light switches, violin key window switches – glass or wrapped in the finest leather as dials including the new front and rear Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controllers.
The Phantom features a twin turbo V12 with the familiar 6.75L capacity. It has an incredible 900Nm of torque at just 1,700rpm, which moves the car effortlessly and silently, thanks to 130kg of sound insulation. Rolls-Royce are making some bold claims about the unprecedented silence of this car, and we are looking forward to experiencing it for ourselves. In fact, they have even re-written David Ogilvy’s famous advertising slogan “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock” to read “The loudest noise is the beating of your heart”.
It is wrapped in a body which is self-assured and contemporarily surfaced. The grill is now smoothed and integrated into the bodywork to a greater degree, inferring a sense of aerodynamic sensitivity and modernity which the previous P90 generation rejected with it’s very large traditional Rolls-Royce grill. This one is more contemporary but actually a half-inch higher than the previous model, giving the grill a taller shape which echoes both the incredible 103EX concept, but also the James Young era Silver Cloud. The overall silhoutte of the car is more chiselled and less rounded than the P90 and it is undoubtedly a handsome machine, particularly in dark colors.
Stretching back from the grill are hand-polished stainless steel trim lines that break up the form and provide a beautiful detail element up close which runs into the windscreen surround. Additional folds in the bodywork run back from the grill all the way to the tail, accenting the sculptural solidity of the flanks. The height of the Phantom and the seating positions that allows provide a really different experience to any other brand, something that we like here at MOVECTO because it has more in common with vintage Rolls-Royces than with modern low-slung sports sedans. Congratulations to RR for understanding what makes the brand different, and for realising how that makes it more relevant in the modern world.
The new Phantom is an important car for Rolls-Royce. It is the flagship of the range of course, but more importantly the Phantom’s all aluminium vehicle architecture will form the basis of the next generation of new models such as the Ghost and Wraith. We can’t wait to find out how this Phantom feels out on the road.