Ever since it was first introduced by Rolls-Royce in 1925, the Phantom nameplate has symbolised ultra-luxury motoring. And the Phantom VII, the thoroughly modern take on the celebrated badge by the BMW Group in 2003 cemented its position as the byword for opulence and extravagance. So the next generation Phantom had a lot to live up to. And going by the details and photographs of the Phantom VIII revealed last night in London, the Goodwood carmaker has managed to take it to an even loftier level.
The design has been refreshed and made more contemporary while keeping the all-important connection to the Phantom lineage intact. Underneath the sheet metal, there’s an all-new aluminium ‘Architecture of Luxury’ that Rolls-Royce says will deliver a whole new level of ‘Magic Carpet Ride’. Having driven the seventh-generation Phantom many times, we have no reason whatsoever to doubt that claim. The chassis is also said to be lighter, stiffer, quieter and more technologically advanced than the predecessor’s. It’s suspended by a new double-wishbone front axle and five-link rear axle, which promise to provide improved control over lateral roll and shear forces while maintaining agility and stability. “Key to Rolls-Royce realising its vision of being the world’s leading luxury brand, today and in the future, is an architecture that spans the entire Rolls-Royce family,” says Philip Koehn, Director of Engineering. “The Architecture of Luxury will carry every future Rolls-Royce, not just the New Phantom. Project Cullinan and eventually the next Ghost, Wraith, Dawn will ride on this architecture, as well as future coachbuild projects.”
The touch of exclusivity and the sense of occasion are apparent right from the moment the privileged customer steps in and settles in to the car. The self-closing door can be operated via sensors inside or outside and closes ever so quietly in what the carmaker calls ‘The Embrace.’ As you’d expect, the acoustics have been given due attention, and to make the new Phantom the “most silent motor car in the world”, engineers have added 6mm two-layer glazing all around the car, more than 130kg of sound insulation, the largest ever cast aluminium joints in a body-in-white for better sound insulation, and lots of high absorption materials. Acoustic insulation from road noise has been achieved by including double skin alloy on areas within the floor and bulkhead of the spaceframe. High absorption layers have also been incorporated within the headliner, in the doors and in the boot cavity. Even the tyres are specially made, with ‘Silent-Seal', which uses a specific foam layer inside the tyre to eliminate tyre cavity noise and reduce overall tyre noise by 9db. This apparently makes it up to 10 per cent quieter than its predecessor at 100kph.
And the new 6.75-litre V12 has more low-end output at lower revs to ensure the motor also remains quieter in operation. Aided by two turbochargers, the V12 churns out 900Nm at a low 1,700rpm and mated to a ZF eight-Speed gearbox, makes 563bhp.
It obviously comes packed with the latest of technology features including Alertness Assistant, a 4-camera system with Panoramic View, all-round visibility including helicopter view, Night Vision and Vision Assist, Active Cruise Control, collision warning, pedestrian warning, cross-traffic warning, lane departure and lane change warning, a 7x3 High-resolution head-up display, WiFi hotspot, and navigation and entertainment systems.
For those looking for the ultimate in uber-luxury motoring, it can’t get better than this. “This realisation was a moment of clarity about the destiny of Rolls-Royce,” sayss Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Every one of our customers – each a connoisseur of luxury in the extreme – were asking for something more individual to them, not less. We were adamant that that was what they should have.”