The Phantom is a legacy icon of luxury marque, Rolls-Royce, and is a name used since the 1920s. As such, it holds special status among Rolls-Royce aficionados. Thus, when it came time for Rolls-Royce to refresh (or update) the current generation Phantom, there were requests from clients to not to make any major changes to an already iconic motor car.
The current generation Phantom is the 8th, and was launched in 2017. And in line with the feedback from clients, Rolls-Royce designers and engineers made only the lightest of design touches, embellishments, and adaptations. Minimal but necessary updates have been made to the Series II to let it ‘keep up with the times’ yet preserve its timeless elegance.
The most obvious and important feature retained is the Phantom’s commanding presence. This has been further enhanced by a new polished horizontal line above the Pantheon Grille, in between the daytime running lights. This gives Phantom a new and assertive modernity. A subtle geometric change to the Pantheon Grille also makes the ‘RR’ Badge of Honour and Spirit of Ecstasy mascot more prominent when viewed from the front.
The grille itself is now illuminated, a feature debuted and popularised in Ghost. Further, the headlights now sport intricate laser-cut bezel starlights, creating a visual connection with the Starlight Headliner inside. It also presents a distinctive feature to Phantom’s night-time presence.
The Phantom’s side profile retains Rolls-Royce’s signature short front and long rear overhang, long wheelbase and broad C-pillar, with the latter giving greater privacy for occupants. The silhouette preserves the elegant key lines running from the Spirit of Ecstasy to the tapering rear tail. The ‘split-belt’ line begins at the front fender and curves gently towards the rear door, emphasising the car’s long dash-to-axle proportions, before falling gently towards the lantern-like rear lamps. Additionally, the heavily undercut ‘waft line’ creates a strong shadow, visually signalling the marque’s unequalled ‘Magic Carpet Ride’.
The side profile is further enhanced with a suite of new wheels. A 3D, milled, stainless steel wheel with triangular facets is available to commission in a fully or part-polished finish. Alternatively, you can opt for a truly elegant disc wheel, recalling the romance of 1920’s Rolls-Royce motor cars. This disc wheel is produced in both polished stainless steel and black lacquer, perfectly encapsulating the sense of flight on land.
In response to Phantom clients who have previously requested a darkened chrome grille surround, Rolls-Royce has set black bonnet reins, windscreen surround and side frame finishers for commissioning. This aesthetic now enables Rolls-Royce to transform Phantom into the lightest of light or the darkest of dark appearances. The Phantom’s sumptuous interior remains almost unaltered although the steering wheel has been made slightly thicker to provide a more connected and immediate point of contact for the owner-driver.
The RR Phantom and Phantom Extended have distinct characters of their own, representing 2 different seats of power. Phantom is now predominantly favoured by the ever-increasing number of clients who want to drive themselves. But for those preferring to command the road from the rear seat, Phantom Extended also offers the definitive super-luxurious chauffeur-driven experience.
The refresh also sees Phantom include the debut of ‘Rolls-Royce Connected’. This system enables the owner to send an address directly to the motor car from Whispers, the Rolls-Royce private-members’ application, and have seamless navigation to an event, restaurant, dealership or even the Home of Rolls-Royce itself.
‘Rolls-Royce Connected’ also displays the motor car’s location, security status and current ‘health’ condition on Whispers; at the touch of a button, the owner can contact a preferred dealership for any servicing requirements or information about the car.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said, “We are acutely conscious of our clients’ esteem for and love of their Phantoms. They felt it could not be improved; but while naturally respecting that view, we believe it is always possible, indeed necessary, to gently go further in our pursuit of absolute perfection”.
“Phantom occupies an unrivalled position at the very apex of the luxury world. As our pinnacle product, it represents the very best of Rolls-Royce design, engineering and craftsmanship – a perfect blend of vision, creativity, the finest materials, skill, patience and precision. With Phantom Series II, we have retained and carefully protected everything our clients love about this superlative and luxurious item; subtle, yet meaningful enhancements reflect their evolving tastes and requirements”.
Commemorating the introduction of Phantom Series II and to illustrate Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke capability, the marque has created a new Bespoke masterpiece, Phantom Platino. The Platino name references the silver-white finish of platinum, a precious metal.
Phantom Platino continues Rolls-Royce’s exploration into fabric interiors, a story which began in 2015 with the launch of Serenity, a truly Bespoke Phantom with a hand-painted, hand-embroidered silk interior. Heralding the next step in this significant journey, Phantom Platino introduces materials other than leather, an area of exploration for Rolls-Royce and a move that demonstrates a greater acceptance of alternative interior upholstery.
Echoing the marque’s formative days, the front seats of Phantom Platino are finished in fine Rolls-Royce leather, while those in the rear are upholstered in fabric. The beautiful tone-on-tone of Platino’s interior is achieved by combining two differing fabrics; one created in an Italian mill for its durable yet luxurious appearance, the other derived from bamboo fibres, selected for its lustrous finish.
Both materials share an original repeating pattern based on an abstract interpretation of the Spirit of Ecstasy. In the silken textile, the design is smaller and woven into the fabric to create a more visually stimulating finish. It also appears in Phantom’s Gallery, right in the occupant’s line of sight, and on key touchpoints such as the armrest and centre console. The bamboo fabric is embroidered with larger icons, presenting a tufted appearance commonly found in interior design. This more resilient material is placed on the lower elements of the interior where they will need to withstand most contact.
The same design also appears on Phantom’s dashboard timepiece. The surround is made from a 3D printed ceramic, a truly contemporary execution of a traditional material. Set into an iced finish woodset, the tonal properties of the interior take Phantom to a beautiful and unsurpassed level of opulence.
The largest canvas in Phantom is the Starlight Headliner. In a unique design created especially for Rolls-Royce Platino, the ‘stars’ are placed to draw the eye rearwards, with whimsical shooting stars following the sweeping arc of the pattern.
The challenge of the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective is to accommodate the vast expanse of client characteristics and desires in one pinnacle product. The 8th-generation Phantom has thus been deliberately designed to offer a ‘blank canvas’ for Bespoke personalisation, capable of becoming whatever the client wishes it to be, and a true reflection of their individual style and character.
Phantom’s great strength and appeal is that it allows clients to position themselves anywhere between these ‘poles of luxury’, defining luxury on their own terms. And wherever that point happens to lie, they have the assurance that Phantom itself is − technically, materially, aesthetically and dynamically − still the “best car in the world”.