Rolls-Royce Phantom 2017 reviews: the ‘utterly exemplary’ luxury saloon
Critics hail high-tech cabin and ‘ingenious’ dashboard gallery
Rolls-Royce’s eighth-generation Phantom saloon is due to arrive later this year - and it's being tipped to become the one of the most luxurious saloon’s in the world.
It's been 14 years since the British carmaker last updated its flagship saloon. The company is eager to release a new model that offers more in-car technology for its younger consumers.
Underneath the bodywork sits a new aluminium manufacturing platform designed to lower the car's weight and improve body stiffness. It's also expected to spawn the company's SUV, codenamed Project Cullinan, which is due to arrive in 2019.
So without further ado, here's everything you need to know about the eighth-generation Phantom:
The Phantom 8 has a more evolutionary design than its predecessor with several visual tweaks. The result is a more modern look.
While the visual changes are subtle, there's an emphasis on aerodynamics that wasn't present in the outgoing model. Either side of the long bonnet are sculpted ducts that run along the wings of the car, helping air flow more easily over the vehicle.
The Phantom 8 is also 30 per cent stiffer than the previous model thanks to its new aluminium platform, says Autocar. While the car's frame is "much lighter" than its predecessor's, the new Phantom is slightly heavier "due to the vast amount of new technology added to the four-door."
Along with its updated architecture, the magazine says Rolls-Royce has fitted the luxury saloon with improved chassis technology. This includes "active stabiliser bars to stop roll" and four-wheel steering "to improve stability and agility".
Interior and tec
Rolls-Royce has completely revamped the Phantom's interior, adding a new feature called The Gallery that lets owners showcase artwork on the car's dashboard. This is joined by a 12.3ins TFT display behind the steering wheel, reports The Verge, along with an analogue clock.
Examples of artwork that can be chosen for The Gallery include a "countryside oil painting" and a "gold-plated 3D map of an owner's DNA", says Car.
The seats have been heavily revised. The magazine says the two rear seats are "angled inwards so it's easier to chat to other occupants without straining your neck." Speccing the "fixed rear centre console gives occupants a "drinks cabinet with whisky glasses and decanter, champagne flutes and cool box."
The new Phantom is also packed with tech. AutoExpress says it uses a stereo camera system "integrated into the windscreen" to scan the road ahead and "adjust the suspension accordingly at up to speeds of 62mph" – improving the car's ride quality.
Buyers can expect an infotainment system that "appears and disappears at the touch of a button", the magazine says. This houses the car's sat-nav and "driver assistance data."
Under the bonnet sits a 6.75-litre twin-turbocharger V12 engine, which Evo says is a similar unit to the one found in the entry-level Ghost saloon. It produces 664lb-ft of torque and 563bhp, although there's no word yet on zero to 60mph times.
The engine is paired to an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, which the magazine says "should also ensure that the Phantom is always in the optimum gear".
Torsten Muller-Otvos, the chief executive of Rolls-Royce motor cars, told The Week that he's a "true believer that electric propulsion is the mid and long-term future of Rolls-Royce. That will happen."
While it's not yet known whether the company will bringing electrification to future variants of the Phantom 8, he said the firm will go electric "within the next decade".
Rolls-Royce has focused on increasing the interior tech and connectivity options in the eighth-generation Phantom, and according to Autocar, the results are evident as soon as you get into its lavish cabin.
The luxury saloon “adopts quite a lot" of the latest vehicle tech from parent company BMW, the magazine says, with more features expected in the future via over-the-air software updates.
As expected in a range-topping Rolls-Royce, the “fit, finish and materials are, obviously, utterly exemplary”.
Although the overall length of the latest Phantom has been reduced over its predecessor, says Auto Express, the company has developed a new aluminium space frame for the car that has increased interior space.
Standard models have “ample legroom” for passengers in the rear, “while the Extended Wheelbase variant is simply cavernous”.
But the standout addition to the new Phantom, the magazine continues, is the “ingenious” gallery feature in the centre of the dashboard. This sculpted section swoops behind the retractable infotainment screen and can be treated like a blank canvas for buyers to “commission bespoke finishes from artists” in order to decorate the saloon’s interior.
The drive, says WhatCar?, is equally impressive. “Despite that huge body being hauled over poor UK road surfaces”, the vehicle “stays nicely controlled most of the time; neither undulating roads nor continuously broken surfaces have a detrimental effect”.
There is “virtually no road noise”, the website adds, and “the mechanical components work smoothly and silently”.
Price and release
Prices are expected to start at £322,175, says WhatCar? - slightly more than the outgoing model. According to the website, that price may rise to £436,055 if optional extras are fitted.
Deliveries are expected towards the end of the year.
Rolls-Royce teases next-generation Phantom
Rolls-Royce has released a teaser image of the next-generation Phantom saloon ahead of its debut in London next week.
It shows only a small part of the front wing, but it's clear to see the car will come with the same narrow headlights as the existing model and the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet ornament.
While the current Phantom has a completely vertical front-grille, much like older Rolls-Royce cars, the new version appears to have a more rounded front end similar to the Ghost saloon and Wraith coupe.
Spy shots posted by Autocar also show the rear end "appears to protrude less" and boasts "a more flush design from the boot lid to the rear bumper".
The design "is an evolution of the current flagship model", adds the magazine, which makes it "instantly recognisable as a Phantom."
In addition, the next-generation luxury saloon "will bring advanced entertainment and safety features from the latest BMW 7 Series", although the mag says it will still have the high interior quality Rolls-Royce buyers expect.
Rolls-Royce is set to unveil the Phantom on 27 July, with orders opening later this year.
Prices will see an "incremental but significant" increase over the current model, says Car, with entry-level cars expected to start at around £330,000.