When it comes to luxury automobiles, it’s hard to beat the Rolls-Royce Phantom for pedigree, elegance and sheer overwhelming presence. It is, after all, the flagship model of Rolls-Royce, a British luxury marque that’s built cars for royalty, and with a curb weight of around 6,000 pounds it’s easily one of the biggest cars you’ll ever come across.
The standard model is a sedan but you can also get the Phantom in long-wheelbase trim, as a coupe or as a ‘Drophead Coupe’ convertible. If you like to drive your cars, then we suggest going with the smaller yet more powerful 2011 Rolls-Royce Ghos
t, however, if you have a driver on your list of employees than the Phantom is the only way to go.
Both Bentley and Maybach offer models in this segment, but at the end of the day they’re just not in the same league.
While it may not be a drivers’ car, the specs of the 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom are still very impressive.
Power comes from a 6.7-liter V-12 engine, rated at 453 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque. The car’s sheer mass blunts its performance somewhat, but 60 mph still comes up in a sports car like 5.7 seconds. The electronically limited top speed of 155 mph is also considerably higher than what you’ll actually ever want to go when driving or riding in the Phantom.
At 100 mph on the interstate, its engine is utterly serene, its six-speed automatic shifts almost invisibly. The suspension is multiple links and control arms and self-leveling shocks all around, which gives it an ethereal ride quality: it's not bothered by rough patches of road, and hardly lets on that something's amiss underneath its 21-inch wheels and tall tires.
With a huge-diameter steering wheel and feather-light feel, the steering won't urge you at all to attack corners but the Phantom does respond to inputs on the brakes and steering diligently, if not rapidly.
Note that the Phantom Coupe and Phantom Drophead Coupe have been tuned for a sportier feel. Subtle suspension and powertrain changes improve dynamics, which can mostly be attributed to revisions to the air suspension settings, an increase the diameter of the anti-roll bars and recalibration of the steering. The transmission of the two-door models also gets an ‘S’ sport mode.
Pricing for the 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom lineup begins at $385,000, including $5000 in gas-guzzler and destination charges. The extended-wheelbase sedan begins at $455,000; the Coupe at $413,000; and finally, the Drophead Coupe at a lofty $452,000.
For a full review of its styling, performance, comfort and quality, safety and features, check out TheCarConnection's report
on the virtually identical 2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom.