New versions of the Rolls-Royce Phantom don’t appear often, so the company can be forgiven for making what the British would describe as “a bit of a fuss” when they do. The original Phantom was introduced in 1925, and Rolls claims that makes it the longest-lived model name in automotive history. In truth, there have been some lengthy gaps between a few of the generations, but this new eighth generation is directly replacing the current car, which was the first BMW-developed Rolls-Royce. This, we remind you, is a car for people who regard the Bentley Mulsanne as too common.
Despite looking familiar, this Phantom is nearly entirely new. It sits on Rolls-Royce’s new aluminum spaceframe platform, officially dubbed the Architecture of Luxury, which will go on to underpin all of the company’s forthcoming models, including the Project Cullinan SUV. The 140-inch wheelbase is slightly smaller than the previous car’s, and the overall length of 227.2 inches actually has shrunk by 2.8 inches for the standard-wheelbase version, although you wouldn’t accuse it of having less presence. (As before, an extended-wheelbase version for long-legged plutocrats also will be offered.) Suspension elements are mostly aluminum, with electrically controlled air springs, active anti-roll bars, and adaptive dampers delivering what Rolls-Royce modestly describes as its Magic Carpet Ride. It uses a road-scanning camera system to prepare for bumps before they reach the wheels.
Call It a “Waft Line,” Please
External styling has evolved gently, despite a creative process that, according to Rolls-Royce design director Giles Taylor, involved sending the styling team on a mind-clearing sabbatical to better contemplate the essence of luxury. The new car is less slab-sided than its Brutalist predecessor and has what we’re supposed to call a waft line running along the base of the doors. The stainless-steel grille is even taller now, while the overall proportions, enormous C-pillars,…