Design evolution, technological revolution, and luxury unparalleled.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars today unveiled its very latest Phantom, sitting as the flagship offering from the Goodwood marque. Representing the very finest craftsmanship in the business and an unwavering commitment to automotive opulence, the Phantom VIII promises to maintain the brands’ position as the “foremost luxury product,” going even further than the widely-successful and highly-acclaimed seventh-generation model it replaces.
Interestingly, the Phantom VIII doesn’t share its underpinnings with any other product from the BMW stable. In contrast to other manufacturers, Rolls-Royce has engineered its own aluminium architecture that it calls ‘Architecture of Luxury,’ which it feels is “the future of true luxury in small-volume manufacturing.”
“This realisation was a moment of clarity about the destiny of Rolls-Royce. 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.” – Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
The Architecture of Luxury is essentially an all-aluminium space frame designed by Rolls-Royce, that will underpin every future model from the brand, beginning with Phantom VIII. Again distinguishing itself from other carmakers, “no future Rolls-Royce will be of monocoque construction as used by mass-manufacturers.” Designed and engineered from the ground-up to be scalable to every future Rolls-Royce model, the company believes that this architecture will offer the best rigidity, weight, and refinement in all the cars it will go on to underpin, and will set it cars apart from other contemporaries in this highly-competitive ultra-luxury class.
Motivating the all-new Phantom is a “reinvented” V12, which while still measuring in at six and three-quarter litres (6.75L), now packs two turbochargers to give it more power than any Phantom before it. With 420kW of power and 900Nm available, it can propel his Lordship from rest to 100km/h in just 5.3-seconds (or 5.4-seconds for extended wheelbase models), with power going to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox with satellite aid (which tells the gearbox which gear it best be in depending on the geography of the road ahead).
The new Phantom is, weirdly, shorter than the car it replaces, with the overall length and wheelbase shrinking with the latest generation. Measuring in at 5762mm in length (down 80mm), 2019mm in width (up 29mm), 1646mm in height (up 8mm) and 3552 in standard wheelbase (down 18mm), it’s clear that the Architecture of Luxury is a masterpiece in packaging. Extended wheelbase Phantoms measure in at 5982mm in length, 2019mm in length, and 1656mm in height, sitting on a 3772mm wheelbase.
The car is held up by self-levelling air suspension, all-new double wishbone suspension in the front, and five-link axels in the rear which help give the new Phantom that “Magic Carpet Ride” that Rolls-Royces are famed for. The suspension is aided by stereo cameras mounted on the windscreen reading the road ahead, readings of steering input, body movement, and accelerator position, allowing the setup to adjust itself endlessly to guarantee the comfort of the occupants.
The exterior design of the Phantom is an evolution over the previous generation, and now wears a suit that is more closely resemblant of the smaller Ghost, looking more athletic and modern than the car it succeeds. There’s a taller grille up front that now appears more nestled in, and is flanked by twin laser headlights (capable of projecting a beam 600m down the road). Mirror-finish stainless steel is used for the grille and window frames, giving it that signature Rolls-Royce look, while enormous 22-inch wheels provide the Phantom the requisite 2:1 wheel-to-body proportions that the company adheres to.
That evolutionary approach continues as you enter the cabin, with what Rolls-Royce calls ‘The Embrace’ able to secure passengers into the cabin at the touch on the door (there’s basically a little sensor on the outside that a chauffeur or valet can tap that closes the door electrically). The cabin, dubbed ‘the Suite,’ ensconces occupants in what’s described as the pinnacle of automotive luxury, married with state-of-the-art technology (for a Rolls-Royce, at least) to ensure that even the most tech-savvy captain of industry isn’t left wanting.
A new range of trims and finishes solidify the Phantom’s position as an entirely-customisable motorcar, while the dash (called ‘The Galley’) introduces new 12.3-inch digital drivers’ display replete with physical chrome outlines for the dials. This new display can now show drivers speed, power reserve (because a tachometer is only for commoners), fuel and temperature readings, as well as offer information for systems like the adaptive cruise control, satellite navigation, and others. This marries up with a collection of silk, wood, metal, leather, and various other materials that can be optioned for the Gallery, which will reduce the amount of time needed to complete the car as opposed to a unique commission.
The cabin has also been treated to 130kg’s of sound deadening material, bigger cast-aluminium joints, and two layers of alloy on areas within the door and the bulkhead of the cars’ space frame. This has given the Phantom VIII the title of “the most silent motor car in the world,” with a 10% reduction of noise at 100km/h, according to Rolls-Royce. Safety is catered for with systems like night vision assistance, active cruise control, driver alertness monitoring, a 360º camera system, collision and pedestrian warning, cross-traffic alert, lane change and departure warning, a heads-up display on the windscreen, and even a WiFi hotspot.
It was not mentioned when we could expect to see the Phantom VIII arrive on our shores, and the company remained mum on expected pricing as well. But as the saying goes, if you have to ask…