It was just a few months ago that Rolls-Royce revealed the Zenith edition of the Phantom Series I to give the flagship a fitting farewell. Now, our photographer in Germany has already spotted the next-generation Phantom being tested on public roads. Although it’s still wearing heavy camouflage, we can see that there are no false panels or cladding on the body, so this is a more production-ready prototype as opposed to the ones spied earlier. We can also see production-ready headlights and taillights, both of which seem to be LED units.

While there will be many styling changes to the body and the interior, the overall profile appears to be quite similar to the outgoing model, with its upright grille, long bonnet, and a sloping roofline. And just like the current model, the passenger compartment doors are rear-hinged for the rich and the famous to be able to make their entry and exit from the car as graceful as possible.

The eighth-generation Phantom will be built on an all-new aluminum spaceframe architecture, which will make its debut in the flagship and underpins all the other models in the luxury brand’s line-up, including the much anticipated SUV. The new platform is likely to be much lighter than the previous one, and should have some positive bearing on the car’s performance. It will also help negate the additional heft the probable plug-in hybrid set-up will bring to the equation. But of course, the conventional V12 will still be the main powertrain, with ‘adequate’ power and performance figures.

Interestingly, the eighth-generation Phantom will not spawn Coupe or Drophead Coupe variants, leaving the Wraith and the Dawn to appease that section of the market. Although this looks like a production ready model, we don’t expect the new Phantom to go on sale before late 2017 as a 2018 model.