Luxury motoring with the Rolls-Royce Phantom Series IIBy Chris Walsh
March 16, 2012
The launch of the first Rolls-Royce Phantom in January 2003 gave the public a new insight into the future of ultra-luxury motoring. It pretty much signalled the renaissance of arguably the world’s most famous luxury brand and gave us the first glimpse of a masterpiece that quickly established itself at the pinnacle of automotive excellence.
From launch, the Rolls-Royce Phantom proved itself a worthy recipient of the famous Spirit of Ecstasy figurine. From Pantheon grille to long rear overhang, the design was clearly a Rolls-Royce. Every angle revealed an elegant car with a road presence and ride that managed to help lower the pulse rate.
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Today, the new Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II is available in a choice of styles that should cover the majority of their clientele’s requirements. You can have a standard 4-door saloon if you like, but the Alan Sugar types might like to know that there is also an extended wheel base version too. Otherwise, the 2-door grand tourer or the ostentatious drophead convertible (pictured) might be better suited to the more fashion conscious amongst us.
At its heart, the new Phantom still has a hand-assembled, naturally aspirated 6.75-litre V12 engine. This sophisticated direct-injection petrol engine develops 453bhp, 720Nm ft of torque and moves occupants from 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds onto an electronically limited top speed of 149mph (155mph for Phantom Coupé).
Rolls-Royce has improved the drive train of the Series II Phantom by incorporating a new 8-speed auto ZF-gearbox for all variants. This is electronically controlled to manage the extraordinary power delivered by the V12 power plant. The longer ratio in the new rear differential compensates shorter ratios in some gears of the new 8-speed gearbox, maintaining the same engine speed to augment that all important ‘waftability’, while improving fuel economy.
Arguably the best place to experience Phantom’s ‘waftability’ is from the rear seats where passengers are presented with an inspirational view down the long sweep of the bonnet and onto the Spirit of Ecstasy. A reduction to just three built-in champagne flutes, gives a more modern complement to the car’s sumptuous natural grain leather.
The Phantoms interior really is the perfect environment in which to relax and unwind in welcoming silence. But it can also be a centre for entertainment. The Phantom’s theatre configuration adds two monitors within veneered picnic tables for rear seat passengers which are linked to a multi-media player, mounted in a compartment at the rear of the centre console. The inclusion of AV connectors, a six-DVD changer housed in the lower glove box and USB port in the centre console, means occupants can view separate content wherever they may be seated, front or rear.
It takes 60 pairs of hands and more than 450 hours to design, construct and craft each Rolls-Royce. At the home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, there are around 1,000 employee’s making the world’s finest cars and only the finest materials are used and these are painstakingly prepared so their inherent beauty is displayed to best effect.