With the decline of Daimler’s historic Maybach division this year, the market for ultra-luxury non-sport vehicles has never been so wide open. Many believed a face-off between the remaining manufacturers to fill the void, a battle between higher-end Mercedes (the favored sibling in the Daimler Group) and Pre–BMW ownership fleetmate Bentley, itching for a brand expansion, was sure to be in the cards for Detroit early next year.
Instead, traditionally conservative Rolls-Royce kicked into high gear and, surprising everyone, revamped their entire Phantom lineup for presentation at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The new Series II, which includes the namesake Phantom Saloon , Coupé, Drophead Coupé (convertible) and Extended Wheelbase models, definitely sets the standard for a new class of sophistication, styling and, of course, drop-dead gorgeous luxury.
A departure from the line’s humble beginnings post-BMW takeover in 2003, the new Phantom series has been revised from the core at its production plant at Goodwood Estate in Southern England. Stemming from its powerful 6.75-liter V12 direct injection engine, the Phantom’s drivetrain, eight-speed gearbox and rear differential garners a smooth, effortless ride that is just as much a dream to command as it is to be chauffeured in. With 531 lb.-ft. of torque, three-quarters of which is available at a minimal 1000 rpm, the Phantom jumps from 0 to 60 in 5.7 and can hit a maximum of 149 mph. Let’s just call Rolls-Royce’s promise of a “magic carpet ride” quite understated.
Anchored through the hideaway 8.8” control center display, the technological merits of the new Phantom consist of satellite 3D navigation with landscape topography, composite route planning and guided tours that take the work out of a drive in the country. In addition to the front, top and rear-view camera systems, the Harman LOGIC7 surround sound system and nine-channel amplifier works in tandem with the cabin’s resonance chambers to deliver pitch-perfect acoustics in line with the onboard A/V entertainment system.
While the superbly engineered interior contains such classic luxuries as lamb’s wool rugs and deep, elevated seat flutes, the winged exterior is a sight to behold. Onlookers will just catch a glimpse of the supreme lighting highlights, which now consist of LED light clusters arranged to be classically elegant and to exude pure signature style, molded into a 21st century contemporary design.
Saloon (L) - “The Classic Sedan” ($398,970)
& Drophead Coupé (R) –“The Yacht-Inspired Convertible” ($469,900)
Extended Wheelbase (L) – “The Eye-Catching Behemoth”($470,285)
& Coupé (R) – “The Sporty One” ($429,295)
The Phantom Series II family will be availabile this September in showrooms. Configure yours on the official site here.
For now however, check out the launch video below: