Redefining Luxury: The 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom
The word luxurious gets thrown around a lot these days, but what makes a car truly luxurious? When you think of luxury cars, Rolls-Royce is likely one of the first to mind. After all, the British brand is practically synonymous with luxury, as they have produced nothing but world class luxury cars for over a century.
The streets are filled with main mainstream luxury cars from familiar makes like Audi, Mercedes, Lexus, BMW, Acura, Cadillac and so on. The step up between a “mainstream” luxury car and something utterly breathtaking is a Rolls-Royce. You’ll never see the Spirit of Ecstasy on an average. Rolls-Royce based their entire brand image on building uber-luxurious land yachts, which only a privileged few can afford. The iconic brand’s top-shelf model, the Phantom, has been in production off and on since 1925.
Although we’ve seen seven different generations throughout the years, the latest eight-gen one promises to be a game changer. It’s difficult to believe that because the last Phantom generation was so good, but leave it up to the clever engineers and designers at Rolls to wow us all over again. Welcome everyone, to the 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Elegance in Motion
A Phantom is one of those cars which blend in with the environment, yet somehow it still manages to stand out. It’s neutral and understated, yet it has a presence and specialness to it that subtly draws eyeballs to it from even the most car illiterate. Every color seems to suit the Phantom well, though the traditional black or white still do the trick for me. Rolls-Royce’s latest two-tone Premier Silver and Gunmetal color combination is something you’ve got to see in person to fully appreciate.
The more Rolls-Royce decides to change the Phantom, the more it remains the same it seems. The Phantom symbolizes effortless design and style. In fact, it’s the epitome of those things. It’s never trying hard to be something it’s not. You won’t find anything like a Phantom on the road.
With the 2018 Phantom, Rolls-Royce is keen to introduce the Architecture of Luxury. Simply put, it’s an all-aluminum spaceframe architecture that’s bespoke to the new Phantom alone. Unlike mainstream manufacturers which use monocoque constructions that are shared between different cars, Rolls-Royce will utilize a no-compromise approach on the Phantom. The new car is 30 percent stiffer than the seventh-gen Phantom and a lot lighter as well. They also revised the Magic Carpet Ride and the self-levelling air suspension.
I don’t think there’s a single angle from which the Phantom is anything other than remarkable. It’s pure elegance, whether in motion or sitting still. It looks sleek whether it’s driving at 60 or 120 mph.
Unprecedented Comfort and Luxury
With a Rolls-Royce, interior comfort and luxury is everything. They set out to create “the most silent motor car in the world”, and I have no doubt that they’ve achieved it. If you’ve been in a Phantom before, you’ll be familiar with the new model’s interior because it’s similar. It’s more of an evolution rather than a revolution. That being said, Rolls has perfected the cabin to the point where you’re challenged to find any flaws with it.
They’ve also introduced a couple of new features. The first one is something they like to call the “Embrace”. It’s not really a specific feature as much as it is the name for the Phantom’s luxurious cabin environment. Its specific aim is to please and comfort the occupants inside, much more than any other car can. To achieve this, Rolls-Royce used premium materials all-around, and a build quality not present with any other manufacturer. The Phantom’s cabin is so overbuilt you can make at least a dozen “ordinary” cars in the time it takes to finish just one Rolls.
“The Gallery” is the new hot feature on the Phantom and it is as exciting as it sounds. Essentially it’s Rolls-Royce’s reinterpretation of how a dashboard should look. All of the “The Gallery” elements are enclosed in glass, extending across the entire dash. Rolls claims it’s fully customizable too, and you can specify what you’d like to stuff the area behind the glass with.
Riding in the new Phantom is an experience. It completely isolates and cocoons you from the elements. Thanks to high-absorption layers in the headliner, the doors and the trunk, it’s quieter than the last generation by 10 percent. There is no distinguishable wind or road noise inside the cabin at ordinary speeds. The difference between the Phantom and a standard S-Class (excluding S65 AMG and S600) at this point seems as wide as the difference between an S-Class and a CLA-Class.
More Than Adequate Performance
You don’t step into a Rolls-Royce expecting sporty credentials, but you do expect decent levels of performance, especially for the coin you’re dropping on it. After all, a big, luxury limo should be able to back up its looks and comfort with some driving dynamics. Thankfully, the new Phantom is a revelation in that regard as well. The naturally-aspirated V12 has been replaced with a new twin-turbocharged unit, still a V12 though. Power is up to 571 horsepower and torque stands at a massive 663 lb-ft. Here’s the really impressive part however: peak torque arrives at just 1,700 rpm. Remember what I said earlier about it being effortless?
On the road, the V12 dominates the way the Phantom behaves. It’s unbelievably quiet so you’re genuinely not aware it’s even running the majority of the time. V12 engines are inherently smooth by design, and that has something to do with how refined it feels too. Press the accelerator and you’re greeted by performance no car of this size should exhibit. It will sprint to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds and top out at the limited 155 mph in no time at all. If you’re unprepared, it will give you a surprise.
The thing is that it’s not scary or unpredictable. The mountain of torque means the power delivery is linear and progressive. It picks up speed without even trying. It’s only when you see the speedometer that you realize how fast you’re actually going.
I mentioned the new self-leveling air suspension system before and how they revised it, but I’ll touch on it again. It’s a massive cliché to say that it rides like it’s on a cushion of air, but there’s no other way to explain it. It’s got this floaty-like feeling without exhibiting body-roll. It’s weird at first because you don’t get any of the usual road imperfections like you do in a “normal car”. If you see a hole in the road and you hit it, you expect a bump or a shock through the steering wheel. Not so with the Rolls. The Phantom smothers the road with such grace it spoils you for other cars. Get in any other car after the Phantom and it’ll feel like you’re driving a dump truck.
They’ve improved the Phantom’s driving characteristics a lot. You can now genuinely drive it and enjoy yourself, but naturally it’s still the car you’re more likely to be chauffeured in. Sit back, relax and indulge yourself in the fine amenities and materials, as well as the new “Embrace” and “The Gallery” of course. What an incredible automobile.