When it comes to ultra-luxury automobiles, few marques and models carry the same prestige and timeless elegance as Rolls-Royce and the Phantom, available in Coupe, Sedan, or Drophead Coupe (convertible) variants.
Though modern in appearance and amenities, Rolls-Royce still employs styling cues on the Phantom that harken back to the company’s early days. The tall, waterfall grille is a carry over, as is the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament (which retracts when the car is parked to protect against ne’er-do-wells). Even the slab-sided styling, interpreted with a modern twist, dates back to the original Phantom, produced from 1925 through 1931.
And therein lies some of the Rolls-Royce Phantom’s appeal: for nearly a century, the car has evolved with the times, yet has continued to symbolize achievement, excellence and status in automobiles. Even the buying process isn’t off-the-rack, as customers can personalize their Phantoms with a truly impressive array of published and bespoke options and finishes. In fact, if it can be done within the laws of nature and within the laws of England, we’re fairly certain that Rolls-Royce would never turn down a Phantom buyer’s request, for a price, of course.
Inside, luxury abounds. Passengers are swaddled in rich, premium leather, while carefully matched wood trim and metal accents give the Phantom a truly premium feel. Sit in the car and take in the interior, and it’s immediately clear that your surroundings were constructed by craftsmen, not by robots. Whether you choose the front seats or the rear, there is no lack of comfort or amenities in Rolls-Royce’s flagship automobile.
Under the Phantom’s sizable hood lies a 6.75-liter V-12 engine, rated at 453 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque and mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. That’s enough thrust to get the car’s substantial bulk from 0-60 in under six seconds, in a manner that ensures passengers won’t spill their Dom Perignon.
Despite the Phantom’s acceleration, this is not a driver’s car (which is the role of the smaller Rolls-Royce Ghost). Instead, the Phantom is a car to be driven in, as you conduct business from the privacy and comfort of the back seat. Your chauffeur won’t be abusing the car in your absence, either; at nearly 20 feet in length and three tons in weight, even the car’s pneumatic springs, electronic dampers and independent suspension can’t make it feel nimble. He won’t want the fuel bill, either, as the Phantom consumes a gallon of gas for every 11 miles driven in the city and every 19 miles driven on the highway.
Though the 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom has not been crash tested, we’d expect it to score well given its sheer mass. It comes equipped with a full complement of airbags, as well as parking sensors and cameras to monitor both front and rear corners. Suspiciously absent from the Phantom’s list of available accessories, however, are safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot warning and and cross-path detection.
For our driving impression of the 2009 Rolls Royce Phantom, essentially the same car at the 2013 model, see our First Drive report
. For a comprehensive look at the 2013 Phantom, see our full review on The Car Connection