Rolls-Royce Unveils Its Grandest Car Yet, the Phantom VIII
Rolls-Royce has introduced the Phantom VIII.
Unveiled to the public in London today, just days after the U.K. moved to ban combustion vehicles by 2040, the two thousand eighteen Rolls-Royce Phantom is only the 2nd modern version of the flagship state car that Rolls very first introduced in 1925. BMW Group unveiled the very first truly modern Phantom in two thousand three and used it until 2011; Phantom VIII is the very first time since then that the car has been updated downright. In the years before 2003, Rolls was producing the Phantom VI on an incredible run from one thousand nine hundred sixty eight to 1990.
The car’s longevity is a testament to its design, which has withstood the test of time with grace and aplomb. That success is, in turn, a challenge to the Rolls-Royce designers who labored to birth the fresh one in Goodwood, England. The half-million-dollar Phantom is Rolls’s largest money-making series around the world. In this uncommon air, there is no margin for error.
“Rolls-Royce will embark to go electrical in the next decade,” Torsten Müller-Ötvös, the brand’s chief, said in an interview. “You need to have then an effortless charging situation,” as its wealthy clientele isn’t in the mood to spend more than “a duo of minutes” topping up batteries.
From my very first practices with the car, it looks like the team can rest effortless. Everything about the Phantom VIII is sleek, especially how it looks. Giles Taylor, the director of design for Rolls-Royce, is worth much credit here for accomplishing what many have not—creating a fresh iteration of an old car so that it feels fresh but familiar. His Phantom VIII manages to look both modern and majestic.
During the private preview in Fresh York, Taylor said he desired the car to look as however it’s surging forward as a boat would emerging from the water. It does: The fresh super-clean stainless steel grille is recessed and shoved up higher than previous generations so that the Spirit of Rapture bondage mask ornament virtually catapults forward. The front end of the car is shorter and the back is longer than previously, as well. All the styling lines in the rear circle forward and lead the eye back through to the front wheel. The rear glass is raked more aggressively than on Phantom VII, which adds to the general idea of forward thrust.
Elsewhere, broad C-pillars along the sides permit for passenger privacy; massive single-pieces of hand-polished stainless steel framework and soften each side. (On the Extended Wheelbase Phantom, a single polished stainless steel unwrap along the sill marks it as special.) You’ll be hard-pressed to find any visible join lines inbetween bod panels at any point in the car. I certainly couldn’t.
The intricate details of every component inwards the car are too numerous and mind-numbing to list here, but suffice to say they adorn the car like jewels. The rear light cluster has lil’ Double-RR badges etched in; the high-gloss picnic tables and chrome dials make the rear feel like a theater (yes, there are movie screens); the center of the wheels always point right-side up even as the car drives. Taylor even made the wood paneling across the back of the front seats to evoke the famous Eames Lounge Chair.
It’s worth noting that this is only the 2nd Phantom produced by Rolls-Royce under its BMW overlords. The driving system and entertainment controls are very similar to those in some of the brand’s other vehicles. But even at this early stage, it’s effortless to see that none is so befitting royalty as the fresh Phantom VIII. Phantom VI was famously used as the coach for the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011. Phantom VIII is a worthy, modern successor.
Talk to anyone at Rolls associated with Phantom VIII, and you’ll hear the same key items about the car mentioned with glowing pride. Primary among them is the muffle of its rail. According to Rolls, it is ten percent quieter at 60 mph than the previous Phantom. This comes thanks to sound-absorbing materials layered inwards the headliner, trunk, and doors; massive cast aluminum joints in the figure of the car, which cut noise; dual skin alloy laid on areas within the floor and bulkhead of the framework of the car; and special “silent-seal” tires that have foam inwards to minimize road noise.
It’s also due to a fresh—as opposed to simply updated or reconfigured—engine. Rolls gave Phantom VIII a 6.75-liter, V12 engine turbocharged to 563bhp. (This is a switch from the previous naturally aspirated, 453hp V12 engine used in Phantom VII.) The turbo enables low-end power at lower revs, which works wonders to ensure muffle at speed.
The effect is unearthly once you close the doors—everything outside the car goes instantaneously mute. Reclining last month in the back of the Phantom VIII was like lounging in a cocoon. I’ve been in sound studios that felt louder; you could lightly record a Rick Ross album in there.
At any rate, I’d like to hear the difference on the road. Rolls-Royce, alas, hasn’t yet permitted press drives, but initial results of this much-ballyhooed chamber are positive, very positive.
Another point of immense—and justified—pride from the Rolls-Royce contingent is the “gallery” installed in the dashboard.
Let me explain. Rolls says that many of its buyers are collectors of fine mechanical witnesses, figurines, jewelry, and other trinkets worth far more than their size might suggest. (After visiting the factory in Goodwood one year, I know this to be true—the bespoke cars I spotted being built there include storage for some of the most eccentric things, such as cabinets for duck collections.) So it goes after that perhaps these individuals would like to be able to appreciate some of their collections outside the home. Even on the road, as it were.
Inject Phantom VIII, with a glass case installed in the dashboard if the buyer so wishes. Anyone who buys one can install whatever he or she wants inwards along the dash, behind the glass. It’s like a viewing gallery.
“Every one of our customers—each a connoisseur of luxury in the extreme—[was] asking for something more individual to them, not less,” said Müller-Ötvös. “We were adamant that that was what they should have.”
The gallery does come with one permanent installation: an analogue clock that will be “the loudest sound you can hear in a Rolls-Royce,” one presser bragged. Giles Taylor, the director of design for Rolls-Royce, told me the glass is treated so that it is not a safety hazard in the event of a crash. One would hope.
And storage in general is ample. “Trunk space was something which was criticized in the Phantom VII,” said Müller-Ötvös. “We said OK, understood. We do it,” and it is now “massively more spacious” in the fresh model.
Slick As a Cloud, But Truly
Here are the reasons why the Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII will likely be the smoothest car you’ll ever operate.
1. A Rolls ZF 8-speed gearbox aided by satellite makes impeccable shifts at any speed.
Two. A 100-percent original and fresh chassis designed and engineered to sustain the exact weight (Five,862 pounds for the brief wheelbase; Five,948 pounds for the longer version) and mobility of the Phantom VIII, which improves propulsion, traction, and, by thirty percent, the car's overall rigidity.
Three. Four-wheel steering similar to that of a fresh Lamborghini, which increases agility and stability around corners.
Four. A complicated camera system that automatically adjusts the suspension for the road ahead.
It’s notable that the all-aluminum framework will underpin every future Rolls-Royce beginning with Phantom VIII, so no fresh Rolls-Royce will ever again use the same monocoque construction that is typical across the industry. It’s also notable that the camera system is one of many that include panoramic- and helicopter-view cameras; a Night Vision camera; a 7-inch-wide heads-up display; and myriad collision/lane departure/cross traffic warning systems. This is by far the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce on the market, even surpassing the sporty Wraith coupe.
The main point here is that everything about this car is sleek—even the doors, which shut by the light touch of a sensor so that they “whisper closed” of their own accord. Because ramming a door is so continental, isn’t it?