2009 Rolls-Royce Phantom
The Phantom's rear view is classic, but some of the details outside and inside are modern and jarring.Enlarge PhotoLuxury knows no bounds inside the Phantom. Literally, hundreds of options await the driver or chauffeured owner who chooses a Phantom over the Arnage or, shudder, the Maybach sedans. The driver and front passenger perch high enough to see the hood figurine and to peer over the Phantom's massively wide and long hood, and the seats themselves are comfortable. The rear seats offer a little less headroom than you might expect, since they're also raised for a better view. It's the creature comforts and quality that will astound all four or five occupants: there’s room for wooden picnic tables and enough legroom to cross at the knee even when they’re lowered from the backs of the front seats. Sheets of cashmere and leather are applied everywhere that wood and chrome are not, and even in “base” form, the materials are regally chosen and applied by hand for incomparable fit and finish. Rolls-Royce will match and fit just about any material a buyer might choose, from alligator hides to exotic wood species.
Along with the custom finishes, Phantom owners can revel in standard features such as automatic climate control, a sunroof, and a Lexicon audio system. The options list is maddeningly extensive: one can choose wooden door caps, a lovely touch, or order built-in drink cabinets for the back doors. The usual satellite radio, Bluetooth and DVD screens are available, as are 20-inch wheels, custom pinstriping, and custom-tanned leather seats. The sticker price of Motor Authority's Phantom test car? A cool, collected $438,330, including all of the above plus leather trim for the dash, all sorts of special wood trim, and a steel-and-wood console with dual drink holders.
Palm Springs never saw such luxury as the Phantom we piloted back out of town, toward Los Angeles and back into safe hands with Rolls' delivery people. After a few hours, protecting the Phantom's pricey panels grew tiring. Does every clunker and project car have GPS aimed at its door panels, we asked? And is it really appropriate to have drive-through dinner while listening to Sir Mix-A-Lot in its rear seats? Or is that just a sort of smudging ceremony to make us forget ever driving something so luxurious and so large?
All of those things are true. If they're just as true in the 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost, we're eager to find out with a firsthand drive of that luxe sedan, too.
Motor Authority says: The imposing 2009 Rolls-Royce Phantom warps your eyes back in time, even while it drives smartly alongside today's swiftest luxury sedans.