Words: Calvin Chan
Published: October 5, 2017
It’s not every day that a new Rolls-Royce comes along, especially when we’re talking about the flagship model, the pinnacle of automotive luxury, the Phantom. We were recently invited to witness the unveiling of the eighth-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom at Harry Rosen in Downtown Toronto and let me say, this is one vehicle you have to see in person to appreciate all of its meticulous curves and painstaking details.
Draped in an alluring Belladonna paint, the Phantom VIII shimmered and basked in the glow of the sunset, emitting a different shade of purple depending on how much sunshine was beaming onto its skin. It’s a magnificent sight to behold. On the other hand, some of my colleagues had trouble telling the new Phantom apart from the outgoing model, but I think the changes are rather bold and noticeable.
The front grill is taller, wider, and more imposing than before. The hood is firmly defined, and the sheetmetal also droops down from the headlights to the bumper like a silk curtain, giving off this waterfall effect that makes the Phantom appear taller than it really is. Surely, many of these design cues will be passed onto the upcoming Cullinan SUV.
What you won’t be able to notice off the bat is the all-new aluminum architecture that underpins the Phantom - other future Rolls-Royce models will utilize this new platform as well. Lighter and more rigid than before, the Phantom has lost some weight (but gained it back due to more equipment) and gained some power via its revised 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 that produces a healthy 563 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. Not that many of these affluent buyers will care, but the new Rolls is actually 10% more fuel efficient than before.
But the interior is where the Phantom shines, literally and figuratively. We were able to spend some quality time inside, pretending to be both the driver and rear seat passenger. Talk about sensory overload. Everything from the soft lambswool floor mats to the vibrant smell of leather and wood was exquisite. There was at least a hundred people at this event, blaring with lights and music but once I shut the doors, I couldn’t hear a thing - I was locked up tight in a Ziploc bag and depressurized into my little bubble with nearly 130 kg of sound insulation between me and the outside world. I think I even heard my ears pop.
It gave me a chance to quietly examine and appreciate all the details of the new Phantom: the scrupulous stitching, rear-hinged coach doors, countless number of hidden storage cubbies, electronically operated picnic tables, and the majestic starlight headliner. Now, Rolls-Royce may share corporate ownership with BMW but you’d never have guessed it. The borrowed rotary dials, infotainment system, and digital units are all dressed up in a tuxedo with its own unique Rolls-Royce garnish. The thin-rimmed steering wheel is brand new and still adorns a three-spoke design like before but is now replete with glossy buttons to control the infotainment and driving controls.
Much to my dismay, the driver’s instrument cluster is now all digital. I adored the old school analog gauges with nifty touches on the speedometer needles, and the way it swiftly and gracefully rose and lowered with a press of the pedal. Even the door locks are still metal and manual, but that just shows how nitpicky I have to be in order to find something amiss.
Possibly the grandest addition to the interior is the dashboard, which is effectively one single piece of glass. What’s in the glass box? On the left is the driver’s instrument panel, in the middle is the infotainment screen, which cannot be lowered or stowed in North America due to safety standards, and on the right is the star of the show and what Rolls-Royce calls, The Gallery.
What is it? Well, it’s anything the buyer desires. You can ask Rolls-Royce to curate, design, and implement anything you want to slot behind that glass box, acting as a showpiece of self-expression. It could be a painting, a sculpture, or even a shelf full of diamonds - the Phantom is all about being bespoke, remember? The Phantom that we had the chance to check out incorporated a lovely white silk design, and it would have been nice if Rolls-Royce added some more additional Galleries for the rear seat cabin area, perhaps on the door panels or behind the front seats. And we spoke to a representative of Rolls-Royce at the event and they confirmed that The Gallery will not be making its way downstream to the Wraith, Dawn, or Ghost models. The same goes for the possibility of a Phantom Black Badge.
The Phantom will be available in Canada in both short and long wheelbase models. There’s even an online configurator for you to customize your own Phantom, and we can’t wait to drive one of these rolling obelisks. No, scratch that. Let us ride in the back.
型号 Model: 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII Extended Wheelbase
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $750,000 (est)
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3,772
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,990 / 2,018 / 1,656
車重 Unladen weight (kg): 2,610
引擎 Engine: 6.75L twin-turbo V12
最大馬力 Horsepower: 563 hp @ 5,00 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 664 lb-ft @ 1,700 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed ZF automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, RWD