Rolls-Royce buyers don’t like change, yet every product has to evolve to stay current. When dealing with a product like Rolls-Royce’s flagship Phantom, the trick is to change the car enough to be different, yet not so much as to alienate brand loyalists.
When penning the Phantom Series II, Rolls-Royce exterior design head Giles Taylor focused his team on preserving and enhancing quality, to an ever-increasing level of detail. Instead of adding styling flourishes, in many areas the Phantom Series II simplified existing touches.
Up front, the headlights go from round in shape to rectangular, and now benefit from adaptive LED lighting technology. A single piece grille (first introduced in 2009) is carried over from the previous Phantom, as its seamless design allows designers to carry the body color all the way to the grille, accenting the long hood line.
From the side, the Series II carries on tradition with few outright changes, The chrome trim around the windows is bolder in an attempt to highlight the car’s daylight opening, new side marker lamps are used and the Series II rides on new, forged 20-inch wheels.
Out back, a new bit of brightwork below the trunk accents the rear, while reshaped taillamps “lift” the rear styling, in the words of Taylor. Exhaust finishers previously used on Coupe and Drophead Coupe models are now common throughout the Phantom range.
Inside, the big improvements are an 8-inch infotainment display to replace the previous model’s 6.5-inch screen, the addition of a rotary controller pioneered on Ghost models, enhanced connectivity functions and an improved audio system.
While the casual observer probably won’t even notice the changes, Rolls-Royce’s customers will. Here’s hoping they’re subtle enough to draw positive reviews.