What can be said about a model that simply represents the pinnacle of automotive luxury and has been around since 1925… other than say hello to the new king on the hill, the Phantom VIII.
It’s of course a new generation – though it can also be called evolution at its best – with adaptation and even more available opulence from the get go, such as the automaker’s “architecture of luxury” and bespoke porcelain roses. Anyone can hear the name Phantom and for the past decades (almost a century soon) tell you it stands for premier luxury. That “Architecture of Luxury” is what Rolls calls its all-aluminum structure premiering on the eighth-generation Phantom – though you won’t be calling it light anytime soon, as the extended wheelbase version is almost 20 feet long, 6.5 feet wide, and tips the scales close to 6,000 pounds.
The traditional 6.75-liter V12 is still under the huge bonnet – though it has been updated for the times ahead, with two turbos for 563 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. That’ll be enough to move the elephant to 62 miles per hour in 5.3 seconds (5.4 in the long-wheelbase version). A double-wishbone front axle and five-link rear suspension, complete with self-leveling air suspension with camera technology that can pre-adjust the levels and four-wheel steering take care of driving dynamics. Rolls-Royce, of course, wants to isolate the owner inside from the outside world – the 2018 Phantom is 10 percent quieter than its predecessor at 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph).
A new feature is “The Embrace” – the automaker’s saying for e describes the new self-closing rear doors, which can be operated from inside or outside: “As the patron settles into the car, an assistant or valet steps forward and lightly touches the sensor on the door handle so it whispers closed of its own accord, enveloping the occupant in ‘The Embrace’.” The interior experience is now enhanced with “The Gallery,” set behind a single piece of glass across the entire dashboard. In front of the driver – instrument panel screen – in the middle is a retractable, 12.3-inch infotainment screen. The rest is up to the “patron” – wood veneers, elegant fabrics, or even silk. But Rolls suggests crazy things such as oil paintings; a gold-plated, 3D-printed map of the owner’s DNA or maybe even a handmade display of roses (whose genetics are the property of Rolls-Royce) in Nymphenberg porcelain.