Tempus gets behind the wheel of the UK's best luxury car 2018
The eighth Rolls-Royce Phantom has won the prestigious UK Car of the Year Awards – read our review of this remarkable vehicle
Appearing like a prophecy of the future, the new Rolls-Royce Phantom emerged from the shadowy depths of the Bonhams showroom earlier this year like a jolt of lightning. In a showy display of lights, cameras and action, the dramatic unveil introduced the world to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ eighth-generation Phantom with a strong statement that said, ‘We’re back, we’re better, and we’re ready to take command’. Now, the Phantom has been named the best luxury car in the UK Best Car Awards 2018 – and we can see why.
With preview headlines proclaiming, “Roll-Royce’s most luxurious car yet” and “The world’s most silent car”, expectations were, understandably, high. The Rolls-Royce Phantom has been the manufacturer’s flagship vehicle since it was introduced in 1925 and immediately deemed ‘the best car in the world’ – an opinion that many critics and connoisseurs continue to hold over 90 years later. Every new Phantom model sets a fresh benchmark for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, and the eighth-generation edition is no different. Structurally and aesthetically powerful, and brooding with masculine sexiness, the vehicle is built to impress.
Giles Taylor, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said: “Phantom is the epitome of effortless style, an historical nameplate that occupies a rarefied space in the luxury constellation and conjures a rare magic all of its own. The new Phantom raises a glass to an illustrious design legacy while forging a modern and revitalised presence for the next era of Rolls-Royce design.”
A contemporary design envelops every aspect of the vehicle. The dominant exterior, with its specially-designed all-aluminium spaceframe architecture, denotes strength and wealth, while the interior is an artistic masterpiece. “Phantom VII’s spaceframe architecture was a good starting point and inspiration, but we wanted to do much more. e Architecture of Luxury gives me the canvas to protect the lineage and brand integrity of Rolls-Royce without compromise. Starting with New Phantom, I have the framework to create a future range of true Rolls-Royces. In essence, this is one big coachbuild project,” said Taylor. >>
“The side view design theme of Phantom recalls the elegance of Phantom V. By separating the front wing line from the waist line, we introduce a sense of movement and this line circles back under the car inferring a lighter, fleetness of foot,” he added.
Inside, Taylor flirts with contemporary design, playing architecture and art off against each other with stunning result. “Art is at the heart of the conception of the New Phantom’s interior,” he commented. “As an interest, we know that a huge number of our clients are patrons of art and indeed have their own private collections. Art is a binding factor for many of them.”
Part of his master plan was to convert the dashboard from a dead space into a captivating focal point by transforming it into a mobile art gallery. Customers work with an artist of their choice who creates a bespoke work of art just for them, which is then presented behind the glass of the dashboard – a stunning finishing touch for a true collector.
Within its beautiful walls, the car houses a central nervous system that’s one of the most technologically- advanced the brand (and the luxury motoring world) has ever seen. It boasts a seemingly endless list of intelligence systems, including an alertness assistant, a four-camera system with panoramic view, all-round visibility including helicopter view, night vision, and much more. Coupled with incredible comfort features, air suspension and state-of-the-art chassis control systems, the Phantom offers effortless rides for passengers, as well as drivers.
Returning to the question of expectation versus reality, our first impressions are rather good. Exterior and interior impress in equal measure, but it’s what’s under the hood that’s what really stands out. One of the Phantom’s most important features is its “completely silent engine”, a fresh innovation that utilises the power of a V12 engine, with a few tweaks to ensure it even when it’s revving like a lion, it purrs like a kitten. A new 6.75-litre V12 powertrain has been engineered specially for the vehicle, which achieves its impressive levels of silence through two turbo chargers that produce low- end output at lower revs, without losing any power. In short, an engineering masterpiece.