A Step Above The Rest

For decades, the Rolls-Royce Phantom has been the benchmark for how silent, at ease, and costly a luxurious sedan can be.

It is a person of couple of autos that doesn’t have to contemplate price. With a commencing value of $475,000, the new 2023 Roll-Royce Phantom is less about its particular person skills and far more about how they appear collectively to deliver a exceptional driving working experience. With its closest competition costing half as a lot, this opulent machine can not just be excellent. It has to be the finest.

There is also growing competitors on its home turf. Earlier, the delta between a Ghost and a Phantom was sizeable, but with the introduction of the former’s most recent era, that gap has shut drastically. This recent innovation begs the problem: is the brand’s flagship nonetheless a action higher than the rest? I lately flew to Las Vegas for a drive into the Valley of Fireplace to find out.

The eight-generation Phantom is now in its sixth product calendar year, and Rolls-Royce not long ago refreshed it with the introduction of the Series II. If it appears strikingly very similar to the auto that debuted back in 2017, you’re not erroneous. This update is far more evolutionary than groundbreaking, concentrating significantly less on exterior updates and much more on readily available interior choices. In accordance to Rolls-Royce, the Sequence II is significantly far more customizable than the vehicle it replaces.

This new aim has not stopped the British carmaker from applying some exterior alterations. These include new wheel choices, a tweaked headlight structure total with laser-cut starlights, and an current Pantheon grille. A very clear indicator that you are looking at a Collection II is the new horizontal line that begins in the headlights and matches up correctly with the updated grille. It accentuates the entrance end’s already squared-off design and style.

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Photo: James Lipman

The freshly accessible wheel selections don’t depend on a company-as-common technique to styling. Consider the 22-inch Cast Painted Disk Wheel alternative as an case in point, a nod to 1920s style. This $13,000 set represents a serious risk supplied how visually placing they are, nevertheless their chunky style and design fits seamlessly with the Phantom’s proportions. There is a very similar adventurous concept likely on in the interior, where by a new limited Platino trim features a completely silk inside. These new extras intention to increase the range of one particular-off cars rolling off the production line. According to Rolls-Royce, the purpose isn’t to promote a lot more cars and trucks but greater-worth types.

Even though Rolls-Royce did not engineer the Phantom with pace in mind, that does not stop it from becoming correctly swift. A 563-horsepower twin-turbocharged V12 sends enough ability to the rear wheels by using an eight-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to its 664 foot-lbs of torque output, even this 5,700-lb sedan can reach 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. However, these on-paper stats give little insight into how the Phantom essentially drives.

What makes the Phantom’s driving expertise is just how smooth it is, regardless of the driver’s inputs. Clever tuning delays throttle reaction so that this sedan doesn’t wake up and dash even if you mash the fuel. Instead, it progressively delivers ability as its speedo climbs. The same goes for its eight-speed transmission, which shifts just about imperceptibly in the history, even all through huge open up throttle. There is no way to transform gears manually, and compared with the Black Badge Ghost or Cullinan, there is not a “Low” mode to extract a much more intense demeanor.

There is a enjoyable disconnect from the highway. Even as you cross triple-digit speeds, no wind or road sounds permeates the Phantom’s cabin. It is startlingly quiet guiding the wheel, quickly dulling out a 130 mph operate and making it experience a lot more like 65 mph. The only correct sign of acceleration is a muffled bark from the sizable V12 up front. Even this delicate reminder of interior combustion will vanish soon as the 9th-gen Phantom will be totally electric.

Quietness apart, the Phantom is very easily the most relaxed vehicle I have ever tested. To say it glides in excess of pavement is an understatement. There are times at the rear of the wheel exactly where you eye a pothole coming up, brace for it, and almost nothing occurs. It is almost as if the car flattens the highway ahead. This is all thanks to the Phantom’s self-leveling suspension, which scans the pavement’s floor and adjusts the car’s dampening accordingly.

Also Examine Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge Highway Journey: 1000 Miles In A Billionaire’s $500,000 Day by day Driver

The Phantom’s steering is easy. Its bodyweight is unusually light like you could practically blow on it and convert. Rotating the wheel by grabbing on to its skinny spokes is like waving your hands underwater. Even if you want quick and sharp movements, you get a dampened, slowed-down expertise. It doesn’t translate any of the road’s imperfections. As an alternative, it builds on the foundation set by the seem deadening and suspension to disconnect you from the outside entire world.

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Phantom entrepreneurs expend most of their time puttering between extravagant restaurants and 5-star resorts, probably in congested metropolitan areas throughout the globe. This is the place Rolls-Royce’s rear-wheel steering program arrives into engage in. It effectively shrinks the car’s wheelbase, enabling it to dominate limited spaces, building it experience significantly additional like a common massive sedan than the luxurious land yacht it genuinely is.

The Phantom is a car its proprietors will want to generate. In spite of getting a sizable luxury sedan, it isn’t best savored from its back again seats. Regardless of whether crossing a crowded metropolis, tackling a large highway, or even on a scenic winding road, the Phantom presents a satisfying driving practical experience.

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The Phantom’s seemingly unlimited interior customization solutions make each car’s character exclusive. Regardless of whether it be a a lot more typical just take with wood panels or a much more modern day interpretation with shiny finishes, every Phantom is a clear reflection of its owner’s creativeness. With the introduction of the Sequence II, approximately each and every panel, surface, and substance are customizable.

Tech-clever, the Phantom II stays typically unchanged and follows a very similar format to what we see in the Ghost and Cullinan. In front of the driver sits a 12.3-in electronic instrument cluster with a few gauges and a 10.25-in retractable infotainment display in the middle. New to the Phantom is the Rolls-Royce Linked method, which interacts with the brand’s non-public Whispers app to supply vehicle facts this kind of as location and affliction.

Irrespective of whether you sit in the plush chairs powering the wheel or recline in the second row, the Phantom provides heating, cooling, and many therapeutic massage options for all. The rear seats can be productive with their retractable picnic tables or comfort-focused with optional elevating footrests. Buyers can also opt for between a conventional row of seats or two particular person kinds.

Presented its level of customization, the Phantom can now be far more expensive than ever. In spite of its $475,000 base price tag, the two autos I examined and rode in price tag $628,300 and $651,450, respectively. On the other hand, extra than more than enough choices are obtainable to get even nearer to $700,000. Provided its larger degree of customization and significant pricing increase, this is how the Phantom now differentiates itself.

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Image: James Lipman

Like the Phantom, the Ghost is also an opulent, silent, and comfortable sedan. It gets most of the way there to what a Phantom provides from a driving viewpoint. Having said that, the good details let the Phantom to accomplish a stage of disconnect from the real globe like no vehicle I have ever examined. Be it highway imperfections, weather conditions, or city noises, the Phantom dissolves them all. It is as if the outside planet does not subject.

With the Sequence II, the Phantom even further reinforces alone as the head of its home. It previously provides the most lavish generate of any sedan on sale today. With its new customization selections and a person-off possibilities, it dives deeper into the heightened amount of luxurious that defines it. Immediately after all, what makes it possible for the Phantom to be a phase previously mentioned the rest is not what it does, but how it helps make you feel.


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Photograph: James Lipman