The Phantom has been around for 92 years, making it the oldest nameplate in the automotive industry. In that time each one has been revered as an icon of craftsmanship and luxury. The latest generation is all-new from the ground up, including at ground level, noise insulating tyres. These are important because CEO, Torsten Muller-Otvos, laid down a clear brief to his team to “make sure it is the most silent vehicle in the world,” says Philip Koehn, the company’s head of engineering.
Koehn says the Phantom features the “architecture of luxury” which includes a brand new platform that will underpin all future new models including the new Cullinan SUV. It features extensive use of aluminium, including the roof and C-pillar which in this age of robot welding, still have to be welded together by hand because a robot gets very grumpy at trying to deal with the imperfections in the edges of the metal.
But this is a Rolls, all about handcrafted luxury and there is lots of it. I can go on about the beautiful, smooth, 6.75l twin-turbo V12 engine with one of the most progressive power bands on the planet (I find myself using words like planet when talking about the Phantom) but it is the interior that counts.
We drove the extended wheelbase version which measures in at 5.98m (the standard version is 5.76m) which means legroom for miles and thick pile carpets to lose your shoes in. The seats feature the best leather of course and you don’t sit on them, you sink into them, your head nestled in the headrest as though it is a pillow at the Saxon or the Savoy. You lounge in the back, surrounded by champagne flutes, technology such as the infotainment screen hidden discreetly behind a wood panel on the back of the seat and a footrest which rises up at the touch of a button. You can push a button to close the doors now too and the rotary dial to control the infotainment turns with an incredibly satisfying feeling of solidity.