The Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII
Sitting back and enjoying the deep-seated luxury of the new Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII
Rolls-Royce’s Phantom models justifiably claim to be monarchs of the automotive world, having been in almost continuous production for 92 years
There’s no other nameplate out there that is even close to achieving 100 anni status, so the fact that a vehicle that today costs $530,900 and more, has managed to remain relevant speaks volumes for the strength of the RR brand, and the design and engineering that’s gone into each successive generation of the Phantom.
We are in the idyllic environs of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland to drive the all-new, 8th-generation model, and it follows in the wheel tracks of Phantom VII
Although the Phantom may not appear drastically different from its predecessor at 1st, look closer and you will notice the grille is now integrated into the front fascia and leans it back a few degrees. It formerly stood clear of the bodywork and sat upright. The tapered flanks of the car also create the impression of motion, and the fastback roofline further contributes to this effect.
Power for the Phantom VIII comes from a 6.75-litre V12, but it now features twin-turbocharging, boosting outputs to 570hp and 900Nm to ensure the car offers the ‘waftability’ that’s synonymous with the marque.
Rolls-Royce publishes a 0-100kph at 5.3sec and top speed of 250kph, but these stats are almost irrelevant for a car that trades on stately elegance of its occupants, rather than street draging or lap records on the track
The most obvious visual differences between the old and new Phantoms is the revamped headlight clusters, and these house laser beams that are claimed to be the brightest on offer in any production car, illuminating the road up to 600mtrs ahead.
The RR engineering team’s primary effort has been on insulating occupants from the outside world, and the foundation for this is high-tech air suspension and tires filled with 2kg of ‘silent-seal’ foam to further damp road noise and surface irregularities. There is also a pair of cameras behind the windscreen that scan the road ahead to pre-emptively optimize the suspension for any pots in the tarmac ahead.
The Phantom VIII notes no less than 130kg of sound-deadening material around the cabin, and occupants view the outside world through double-glazed windows in which a pair of 3mm thick panes sandwich an acoustic layer.
The Big Q: What does this feel like from the inside?
Uncanny silence is the overriding impression. Premium limo flagships from other luxury brands are all impressively quiet, but the latest Roller has elevated the game to a new playing field as riding in the back now feels a lot like being transported down the road in an elegantly furnished lounge room. There’s a complete absence of drama.
Each of the 2 rear seats is electrically adjustable, and they can also heat your backside or administer a gentle massage. Each also gets its own air-con settings, and there’s an iDrive-style controller for the pair of infotainment screens concealed behind the picnic tables housed in each the front seat-backs.
There is also a concealed cooling compartment for your drink of choice nestled between the rear seats, and the rear-hinged portals can be closed at the push of a button.
As you might expect, the level of craftsmanship is Tier 1, and every moving part inside the cabin has a lovely, expensive-feeling damping to it. The impossibly deep lamb’s-wool carpets, ultra-soft leather and beautifully burnished wood create an ambiance that suitably lavish for half a million + dollar luxury motorcar.
Rolls Royce Motor Cars is a unit of BMW (OTCMKT:BMWYY)
By Gautam Sharma
Paul Ebeling, Editor