Rolls-Royce has taken the wraps off its all-new aluminium Phantom.
The new car is the eighth generation of Phantom since Sir Henry Royce introduced the first version in 1925.
Never a manufacturer to aim low, Rolls-Royce says that its goal has been to create the ‘best car in the world’. The British manufacturer claims that the new car is lighter, stiffer, more quiet and technologically more advanced than the outgoing car.
The Phantom might represent a more classical world, but Rolls-Royce has used the latest technology to ensure that things feel like the good old days inside the cabin.
There is 6mm double skin glazing all the way round the car to cut down on noise – with dense foam and felt layers between the skins – as well as high absorption materials in key locations and more than 130kg of sound insulation.
The Phantom lays claim to being the quietest car in the world thanks to such extensive efforts at all levels of construction. Rolls-Royce has even worked with its tyre supplier to put a foam layer inside the tyre to cut down overall tyre noise by 9db.
The luxury car maker says that when its acoustic test engineer first reviewed the car the noise levels inside were so low they had to test the equipment to see if it was calibrated properly. Overall the new car is 10 percent quieter at 62mph than the seventh-generation model.
What’s under the hood remains no less impressive in the latest Phantom. The all-new 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 engine has been extensively redeveloped from a BMW donor unit and uses twin-turbochargers where the previous-generation Phantom had a naturally aspirated engine.
The new V12 produces 563bhp and peak torque of 664lb-ft is reached at an impressively low 1,700rpm, which means the car has been engineered for large amounts of low-down shove without being raucous and noisy.
The eight-speed automatic transmission is fitted with a satellite system that analyses the road ahead and prepares the car accordingly.
Despite the carefully managed calm, progress can be swift if required – the standard Phantom manages the 0-62mph dash 5.3sec, while the extended wheelbase version gets there 0.1sec later. The car’s top speed is limited to 155mph.
Unlike other manufacturers, who are building shared platforms to cut costs internally and increase profit margins, Rolls-Royce has developed what it calls its ‘Architecture of Luxury’, which will span the entire Rolls-Royce range, including bespoke coachbuilt cars. The manufacturer says that it can now ‘forge long-term relationships with smaller suppliers that will focus on us’.
The new Rolls-Royce platform is a spaceframe setup that can be adapted and scaled to every model in the firm’s line-up – which it will be, starting with this new Phantom.
Inside, more work than ever has been put in to ensure that the Phantom environment remains cosseting and luxurious. Hi-tech touches are swathed in leather and wood panelling to maintain appearances, but there’s a lot happening beneath the cow skin on this new Rolls-Royce.
The most impressive feature is ‘The Gallery’, something Rolls-Royce describes as a ‘wholly contemporary and luxury reinterpretation of a motor car’s dashboard’.
The whole dashboard has been enclosed behind a single piece of toughened glass, through which can be seen the instrument dials, analogue clock and works of art, if the customer so wishes.
The Gallery space can be used to show paintings and other works when there’s no other information required, and Rolls-Royce will work with a customer’s favoured artist to develop bespoke images.
The driver’s instruments are displayed on a digital TFT screen within chrome surrounds, and extra support comes courtesy of a four-camera system with panoramic view, night vision and vision assist, active cruise control, traffic warning and lane-change systems as well as wifi and the latest navigation and entertainment systems.
All levels of comfort have been considered: as well as seat heating, the armrests are also able to be warmed up, as well as the rear pillar of the car by the passenger’s head.
Gallery: 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom
The same level of detail goes for the doors. Rolls-Royce has developed a self-closing door system it calls ‘The Embrace’, which is designed to provide a sense of both theatre and tranquility, as the door ‘whispers closed of its own accord’. You can press the button from the inside, or if you like, a butler can do it for you from the outside.
An electronic picnic table and television screen are hidden behind a wooden panel of the seat in front, and a range of seats are available including lounge seats, individual seats with retractable armrests, fixed centre consoles and what Rolls calls the ‘sleeping seat’.
The new fixed rear centre console incorporates a drinks cabinet with whisky glasses and decanter, champagne flutes and coolbox.
Prices have yet to be confirmed, but we can expect the car to begin at a similar point to the previous car, which started at £318,120. But then we come to the old saying – if you have to ask, you can’t afford it…