2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom EWB first drive: Best gets better
The task of replacing an icon like the Rolls-Royce Phantom isn’t for the faint-hearted. This is the longest-serving nameplate in the company’s history, enlisted since 1925. Further, the previous generation ‘Phantom VII’ was the car that helped relaunch the company under modern BMW ownership and, unequivocally, represented the pinnacle of automotive luxury for its entire 14-year lifecycle.
Rolls customers may not want regular updates to their vehicles, but when a new model does come along, it needs to move the game on significantly.
The Phantom has always made a big statement on the road. It would be difficult for a four-door, four-seat saloon that measures nearly 6 metres in length, 2 metres in width and is taller than most SUVs, not to. Yet despite those gargantuan proportions, you do wonder at the grace in which the Phantom moves through lesser traffic. For grandeur, no other modern vehicle comes close.
This is a very stylish, exquisitely finished car with some technical might – the LED headlamps, for example, offer a 600m throw of light – and a healthy injection of classicism to respect the Phantom lineage. The rifle-bolt linear lines of very early Phantom models have been softened slightly to embrace a more expressive, almost 1930s vibe. The formerly bluff front grille has been integrated into the body while a chromed character line now connects vast bonnet to windscreen, the rake of which is much faster than before.