Aren’t you supposed to be a money-saving site?
Yep, and here we are with a review for the new Rolls-Royce Phantom, one of the most expensive cars to have ever been produced. But stick with us. When you’re offered a test drive of a Rolls-Royce Phantom, you don’t turn it down. And plus, given the level of luxury on offer, there is an argument to be made that the Phantom represents reasonable value for money – even at AED 2.2 million.
Value for money? Come on.
Okay, okay. This is a car reserved the ultra-wealthy. Typical Rolls-Royce Phantom buyers have entire fleets of cars at their disposal – along with private jets and yachts. But, you do get what you pay for – the Rolls-Royce Phantom is said to be the most luxurious car in the world.
So what does that mean?
First off, it’s massive. The Phantom is 227.2 inches longer than a Fiat 500, or for a more relevant comparison, two feet longer than a BMW 7 Series. With it size and length, you imagine it’s going to be difficult to maneuver around town and nearly impossible to park. Happily, if you own one of these things, you’re probably going to have your own driver.
So you won’t be driving it yourself?
Actually, Rolls-Royce claims that when it comes to the standard wheelbase model, 80% of them are driven by their owners. And because of this, parking and handling aren’t actually a concern around tight city streets – not on the sort of streets found in the UAE, anyway. There’s four-wheel steering that effectively shrinks the turning circle, and a communicative but light (and effortless) steering wheel that really allows you to place the car.
How does it feel when it gets out of town?
The Phantom rolls on self-levelling air suspension with air springs that the company says are the biggest money can buy. A stereo camera system reading the road ahead is used to preconfigure the electronically controlled spring and damper rates, and the active anti-roll bars, at speeds up to 100 km/h.
Basically, the suspension is connected to a front-mounted camera that reads the road surface ahead, allowing the computer to manipulate the ride characteristics of the car in anticipation.
All of that means the Phantom feels like it’s simply gliding over the road – no matter what the surface is like. You could be on an undulating hill, or driving over some gravel, and as far as you’d be concerned, the road surface would simply change colour. Nothing from the outside environment can compromise the feeling of serenity inside the cabin.
How’s the rest of the drive?
At great expense, the new Phantom was developed on an all-new aluminum platform bespoke to Rolls-Royce, rather than an upscaled version of an existing BMW platform as used on the Rolls-Royce Ghost.
As a result, the new Phantom is lighter and significantly stiffer, making it more composed over all surfaces. We’ve talked about the impeccable ride, but even in the corners, it remains comfortable yet composed thanks to an electrically-operated roll-stabilization system that replaces the traditional anti-roll bars and effectively props up whichever side of the car is under more load.
Quite simply, this is the most comfortable car we have ever driven. And it’s hard to imagine that anything can ever get better than this. The other contributors are bespoke tyres (Continental tested 180 different sets of tyre compounds before they settled on this one) and 130 kg worth of passive sound insulation.
What about the interior?
With the new Phantom, Rolls Royce wanted to redefine the meaning of luxury in the interior, and it has done that with some style. You can even have your favourite art work incorporate into the dashboard. Elsewhere, it’s all about luxury and convenience. The suicide-doors have been built with high technology so you don’t need to go through the stress of pulling the door after you’re comfortably seated – you just click a button and the door closes itself. There’s an amazingly thick floor carpet, and the seats are more akin to great leather thrones. Naturally, space and light permeates the entire cabin, making for one of the best places in which to send time anywhere in the world – not just in car.
So what’s the verdict?
Like the old one, the new Rolls-Royce Phantom is the pinnacle of automotive engineering and luxury. No detail is too small, and no piece of craftsmanship too refined. It may cost more than most peoples’ houses, but on every inch of the Rolls-Royce Phantom, you can see where your money has been spent.