2023 Rolls-Royce Phantom: opulence on four wheels


On the main streets of Palm Springs in California, the Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II is in its element. The lanes are wide and the other drivers, accustomed to seeing very luxury cars driving there, kindly give way.

Driving a Rolls-Royce, particularly a Phantom, is always an event, this majestic SUV-sized sedan giving the driver and passengers the feeling of floating as if on a cushion of air aboard a cozy cabin where comfort is sovereign.

Despite the current economic context, Rolls-Royce has the wind in its sails, the famous manufacturer posting sales records thanks to its Cullinan SUV and its all-wheel-drive Ghost. If these two models are sales successes for Rolls-Royce and account for the bulk of the profits, it is rather the Phantom – and its opulent luxury – which ensures the influence of the English brand, and this, since its beginnings in 1925. The current eighth-generation Phantom, subtly revamped in 2022 and still powered by a biturbo V12 engine produced by BMW, will also be the last in a long line of these very luxury cars to be equipped with a combustion engine since all Rolls-Royces will be electric by 2030.

Photo: Rolls-Royce North America

Subtle remodeling

Pending this transition to electric mobility, the Phantom has undergone a subtle remodeling, customers not wanting a radical transformation of the model. The front part is now more imposing with a chrome strip connecting the daytime running lights, the brand logo and the statuette of the Spirit of Ecstasy are more prominent and the grille is illuminated, like that of the Ghost.

It’s the same scenario for the cabin where we see that the rim of the steering wheel is a little thicker, and that’s it. One cannot help but fall under the spell of this interior which seduces with the richness of its leathers and the finesse of the topstitching, the elegance of its woodwork and an obvious attention to detail, as evidenced by the integration of 1,600 LED type diodes in the roof, reminiscent of a starry sky at night, or even the integration of a refrigerated compartment that can accommodate a bottle of champagne and two Lalique crystal flutes. The dashboard can even accommodate a work of art. That and a private jet, it’s the same…

Photo: Rolls-Royce North America

A wave of couples

On the road, the Phantom seems surf on a wave created by the titanic torque of 664 lb-ft as well as the 563 horsepower developed by its 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12. Automatic transmission gear changes are absolutely imperceptible, and driving is effortless.

To assess the dynamics of the Phantom, I headed for the mountain road leading to Idyllwild. The Phantom experienced no difficulty during this ascent to the summit, the turbocharger supercharging negating the lower air density at altitude. However, this road is sometimes narrow as it winds between rock faces and, as the Phantom is longer and heavier than a Cadillac Escalade, some caution was required on these sections due to its oversized size.

Photo: Rolls-Royce North America

The steering was slow but precise, and it’s possible to steer the Phantom with just one finger on the wheel, which is really impressive. As the car measures more than six meters in length, we greatly appreciate the contribution of the steering wheels at the rear, this device having the effect of making it more manageable. Obviously, the connections to the ground are ensured by an air suspension which literally makes fun of bumps and other imperfections of the roadway. In case you’re interested, the Phantom is far from frugal with an average of over 20 L/100 km, but no other car offers such a high level of comfort.

Photo: Rolls-Royce North America

with his painting Dark Emerald and its 22-inch forged rims painted black, “our” Phantom displayed a classic look and a bit of a rebel at the same time, a bit like James Bond in a tuxedo but with a crooked smile.

Of course, the price of the Phantom is substantial. Its base price is $635,000 and our test car’s bill was blithely over $860,000, with the list of added options worth over $225,000 making a full single-spaced page. . All this brings us to the fact that no customer buys a « basic » Rolls-Royce, and that the vehicles produced by the brand are subject to customization that only the imagination of the buyer has. as the only limit.

In video: Antoine Joubert presents the Rolls-Royce Ghost 2021


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