Review: Rolls-Royce Phantom - no longer a chauffeur-driven car?

The firm has encouraged owners to take the wheel of the new and modern creation more attune to a younger audience
By Lubna Hamdan
Thu 04 Jan 2018 10:07 AM

As we tested out the new eighth generation Rolls-Royce Phantom on the winding mountain roads across Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, one particular thought kept coming into mind; this is no longer a chauffeur driven car.

It turned out we were not alone in our views. According to Rolls-Royce Motors, the new vehicle is meant to encourage owners to take the wheel, aiming at deserting its long-standing image for a younger, and more modern one. Judging by the lighter, quieter (and smaller) ride, the firm may be on the right track.

Chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös said there has already been a “tremendous” response on the launch, with the order bank “nicely filling,” particularly in the Middle East, where there is strong demand reaching far into 2018, he claims.

Priced at AED1.9m and AED 2.2m for the extended wheel base, it boasts an all-new aluminum underpinning that is lighter yet approximately 30 per cent more rigid than that of its predecessor. The Phantom differs from its heavier ancestor, and feels closer to the brand’s younger models such as Ghost and Dawn in the drive.

Its signature Magic Carpet Ride is coupled with a new 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 engine, also more silent (10 percent) than its forerunner at 100km/h. It helps, of course, to have over 130kg of sound insulation surrounding the car.

But perhaps the most striking element in the Phantom is its new feature, The Gallery, which sees the dashboard situated behind glass, allowing customers to designs and place their own art pieces. These can range from watches to paintings or jewelry. The concept, according to Müller-Ötvös, has panned out nicely in the region due to the popularity of bespoke design among customers.

As for its tremendously changed design, the Phantom appears much more contemporary, as though it is one solid block of aluminum, thanks to very few visible join lines between body panels.

The portrait grille has also been raised, simultaneously positioning the Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet a half inch higher for a more grandeur look, taking inspiration from previous models. For the first time, the grille is integrated into the surrounding bodywork, furthering the clean and modern look of the new Phantom.

As for Rolls-Royce’s next project? So far, it is the Vision Next 100, but the luxury firm is keeping quiet on the date of the release.

“We will bring it at a stage when it is where I would call ‘effortless’ for our customers, so they can even drive it even while being fully distracted. That is probably the level from which we’re going to bring that kind of technology into our cars,” its chief executive stated.

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