Why change a formula that has made the Phantom the world’s best luxury car?
"The best car in the world" is a slogan that has accompanied the Rolls-Royce Phantom ever since the original model launched in 1925. So when the seventh-generation luxury limousine arrived in 2003 as the first Phantom developed under foreign ownership, expectations were quite high.
Fortunately, BMW perfectly understood what made a Phantom "the best car in the world," so the seventh-generation model not only carried on the tradition of its forerunners but took it to new heights with unprecedented sales all over the world.
Fast forward to 2017 and Rolls-Royce is ready to give the wealthy and the famous a new Phantom. The eighth-generation model is finally here and, as always, it promises to set the standard of luxury for many years to come.
A new, all-aluminum spaceframe platform
You may not realize by looking at it, but the 2018 Phantom is truly revolutionary. Rolls-Royce states it is shifting to "an entirely new luxury business model," unlike some luxury manufacturers that are sharing platforms with mass market automakers.
That's because the latest Phantom is built on a new "Architecture of Luxury" all-aluminum spaceframe platform, which will underpin every future Rolls-Royce model, including Project Cullinan, the next Ghost, Wraith, Dawn, as well as future coachbuilt projects.
As a result, no future Rolls-Royce will be of monocoque construction, with the new platform being scalable to the size and weight requirements of different future models, including those with different propulsion, traction, and control systems.
Better ride, handling, and 10 percent more silence
The new platform is about 30 percent more rigid than the previous Phantom's spaceframe architecture, allowing for improved levels of comfort when it comes to ride, acoustics, seats, as well as exterior appearance and interior space.
The latest-generation self-levelling air suspension, the new double-wishbone front axle and five-link rear axle, as well as the addition of four-wheel steering, contribute to "effortless" ride and handling, according to Rolls-Royce. Despite the 22-inch wheels, the Magic Carpet Ride also improves thanks to the lighter architecture, with the Phantom receiving a stereo camera system in the windscreen that sees the road ahead and adjusts the suspension proactively up to 100 km/h (62 mph).
Rolls-Royce claims the new Phantom is also "the most silent motor car in the world," thanks to all-round 6-mm two-layer glazing, more than 130 kg (286.6 lb) of sound insulation, and use of high absorption materials, among other things.
The result is a 10 percent quieter Phantom than its predecessor, which already was a benchmark for silent motoring.
The 6.75-liter V12 adopts twin-turbocharging
As always, the Phantom gets a V12 engine, but it's an all-new one, despite boasting a familiar 6.75-liter capacity. It uses a twin-turbo design that contributes to a low-end torque output of 900 Nm (664 lb-ft) at just 1,700 rpm and a peak power of 563 hp. The result is a more silent operation, with the satellite-aided ZF 8-speed automatic transmission also said to contribute to a seamless driving experience.
A British institution, but with 21st-century tech
The Electronic Architecture of the new Phantom is the largest ever component produced by the BMW Group. It manages an array of systems such as the Alertness Assistant, a four-camera system with Panoramic View, all-round visibility including helicopter view, Night Vision and Vision Assist, laser headlights, Active Cruise Control, a 7×3 high-resolution head-up display, WiFi hotspot, as well as the latest navigation and entertainment systems. Safety assist systems include collision warning, pedestrian warning, cross-traffic warning, lane departure and lane change warning, and more.
The monolithic dashboard and instrument panel area is called "The Gallery" and includes two 12.3-inch TFT color displays with LED backlighting, beautifully integrated without ruining the classic look of the dash.
As always, the Phantom offers the best materials including metal and glass switchgear, high-gloss wood trim, fine leather, as well as the freedom to create tailored interpretations via its bespoke program.
There's a lot more to say about the Phantom, but hopefully the following videos will answer most of your questions. If you find the latest Phantom too conservative, Rolls-Royce's future plans may be more to your liking.