“From its debut in 1925, a Rolls-Royce Phantom has been the choice of the world’s most influential and powerful men and women, and as a result, a constant presence at history’s most defining moments.
As this next chapter in the Rolls-Royce story opens, the New Phantom points the way forward for the global luxury industry. It is a creation of great beauty and power, a dominant symbol of wealth and human achievement. It is an icon and an artwork that embraces the personal desires of each of our individual customers.”
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
The Genesis of New Phantom
Quite contrary to how other so-called luxury manufacturers are trying to realise economies of scale by sharing platforms with mass market manufacturers, Rolls-Royce concluded that the future of true luxury lies in true small-volume manufacture of a dedicated ‘Architecture of Luxury’.
“This realisation was a moment of clarity about the destiny of Rolls-Royce,” reflects Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Every one of our customers – each a connoisseur of luxury in the extreme – were asking for something more individual to them, not less. We were adamant that that was what they should have.”
“Key to Rolls-Royce realising its vision of being the world’s leading luxury brand, today and in the future, is an architecture that spans the entire Rolls-Royce family,” comments Philip Koehn, Director of Engineering. “The Architecture of Luxury will carry every future Rolls-Royce, not just the New Phantom. Project Cullinan and eventually the next Ghost, Wraith, Dawn will ride on this architecture, as well as future coachbuild projects.”
“Phantom VII’s spaceframe architecture was a good starting point and inspiration, but we wanted to do much more,” adds Giles Taylor, Director of Design. “The Architecture of Luxury gives me the canvas to protect the lineage and brand integrity of Rolls-Royce without compromise. Starting with New Phantom, I have the framework to create a future range of true Rolls-Royces. In essence, this is one big coachbuild project.”
“Our approach has been to forge long-term relationships with smaller suppliers run by families that will focus on us, giving us much more attention and therefore results that live within a quality expectation far beyond any other automotive concern,” continues Koehn. “For a brand to operate in such a manner within a larger automotive group is unheard of and truly revolutionary.”
The most silent motor car in the world
Incalculable effort was expended to create ‘the most silent motor car in the world’ including 6mm two-layer glazing all around the car, more than 130kg of sound insulation, the largest ever cast aluminium joints in a body-in-white for better sound insulation, and use of high absorption materials.
Acoustic insulation from road noise has been helped by the employment of double skin alloy on areas within the floor and bulkhead of the spaceframe. This is a feature unique to New Phantom. Further noise insulation by inserting dense foam and felt layers are between these skins to provide sound insulation not witnessed before in the car industry.
In addition, high absorption layers within the headliner, in the doors and in the boot cavity have further aided insulation and reduced reverberation. Rolls-Royce also worked closely with its tyre supplier to invent ‘Silent-Seal’ tires – which feature a specific foam layer placed inside the tyre to wipe out tyre cavity noise and reduce overall tyre noise by 9db, meaning that conversation within the car is completely effortless.
All in all it is a perfect 360° cocooning effect in a motor car that is approximately 10 per cent quieter than its predecessor at 100km/h. Indeed, when Rolls-Royce’s acoustic test engineer first reviewed results road and vibration tests, the sound levels were so low they had to check their instruments were calibrated correctly.
The heart of a Rolls-Royce – the magnificent V12 reinvented
At the heart of every Rolls-Royce of the modern period lies the power of a V12 engine. At the beginning of this next chapter of Rolls-Royce’s existence, and with the creation of the Architecture of Luxury, the New Phantom also benefits from a completely new engine.
With the focus on creating the most silent motor car in the world, a completely silent engine was also required, and that meant more low-end output at lower revs to ensure that silence. Hence a completely new, 6.75-litre V12 powertrain has been engineered for New Phantom, in place of the previous naturally aspirated V12 engine.
The new V12 Phantom engine employs two turbo chargers that contribute to a low-end torque output of 900Nm at an incredibly low 1,700rpm whilst also delivering 563bhp or 420kW of power, resulting in calm low speed progress associated with state occasions and an unfussed surge of power when one needs to press on. The addition of Satellite Aided Transmission (SAT), married to a ZF 8-Speed gearbox also ensures that the driver is prepared for whatever the road has in store for them.
The most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce ever
Another benchmark, the Electronic Architecture of the New Phantom is the largest ever component produced by the BMW Group, let alone Rolls-Royce, helping to make New Phantom the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce ever.
This central nervous system connects and controls all the various advanced intelligence systems of New Phantom, making it the most advanced luxury motor car available. Some, but not all, assistance systems on-board New Phantom include: Alertness Assistant, a 4-camera system with Panoramic View, all-round visibility including helicopter view, Night Vision and Vision Assist, Active Cruise Control, collision warning, pedestrian warning, cross-traffic warning, lane departure and lane change warning, an industry leading 7×3 high-resolution head-up display, WiFi hotspot, and of course the latest navigation and entertainment systems.
New Phantom – A Contemporary Design Masterpiece
“Phantom is the epitome of effortless style, an historical nameplate that occupies a rarefied space in the luxury constellation and conjures a rare magic all of its own. New Phantom raises a glass to an illustrious design legacy whilst forging a modern and revitalised presence for the next era of Rolls-Royce design.” Giles Taylor, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
The first Rolls-Royce to be built on the new Architecture of Luxury, the New Phantom is a wholly new and contemporary interpretation of the Phantom DNA, delivering new levels of iconic presence and an increased elegance of line suggesting both poise and stability at speed and an unrushed Grand Arrival.
On first glance the New Phantom is remarkable in its purity. Thanks to the new Architecture of Luxury and new engineering processes, the precision body joining process ensures there are few, if any, visible join lines between body panels, giving New Phantom the appearance of being hewn from a solid block of aluminium. It is truly a triumph of design and engineering departments working hand in hand to create a beautiful masterpiece.
Its opening gesture immediately demonstrates a radical contemporisation of Phantom, through the reimagining of the Pantheon grille at the heart of the design. The strong portrait grille is raised higher than that of Phantom VII today, also resulting in a positioning of the Spirit of Ecstasy approximately a half inch higher. It is redolent of the futuristic design first hinted at on the grille of VISION NEXT 100 – codename 103EX last year, but also influenced by the James Young-era Silver Cloud.
However, unlike 103EX and all previous Phantoms, New Phantom’s grille is for the first time integrated into the surrounding bodywork. The resulting effect is a cleaner, reduced design with modernity and clarity, allowing all New Phantom’s lines to connect with this iconic statement of power and flow from it.
In addition, a new purposeful headlamp graphic gives a confident and focused expression with fresh, frosted internals that feel open and optimistic, whilst accommodating an expressive ring of daytime driving lights and the most advanced laserlight system of any motor car that at night casts light well over 600 metres down the road.
The grille itself is created from hand-polished stainless steel, a material that highlights the precious and timeless nature of this New Phantom and its modern architecture through the use of a visually warm and highly tactile material. Emanating from the upper tips of the grille, the polished stainless steel strips curve along the upper edges of the bonnet and around the windscreen, accentuating the length of the bonnet and seamlessly blending the cabin to the lower volume as though swept by the wind.
“The side view design theme of Phantom recalls the elegance of Phantom V. By separating the front wing line from the waist line, we introduce a sense of movement and this line circles back under the car inferring a lighter, fleetness of foot,” comments Taylor.
A lot happens at the back of New Phantom as the design evokes the beautiful flowing rears of the 1950’s and 1960’s Phantoms. The rear glass, again defined by an impeccably crafted stainless steel frame, is more raked and the rear lines sleeker than the previous Phantom, whilst a subtle scallop on the rear roof line that hovers above the rear occupant’s assures one of preserved head room.
Hand-polished stainless steel also envelops the first touchpoints of New Phantom – the handles on the iconic coach doors. Unlike the trend for insubstantial fared in handles, Rolls-Royce understands that the substance of a Rolls-Royce door handle is key to the owners every day physical experience of their motor car, and the feel of this beautiful material under the hand is highly satisfying to them.
The final visual expression of Phantom is its wheels, which of course conform to the golden mean of Rolls-Royce design proportion. Essential to providing the sensation of flight on land, the largest high-value alloy wheel ever employed on a Rolls-Royce is offered. At 22-inches, the diameter when shod in Rolls-Royce’s Seal Technology Tyres’ delivers a Magic Carpet Ride never experienced in a Rolls-Royce before.
Phantom: The World’s Leading Luxury Item
Stepping aboard the New Phantom is an occasion in itself. The coach doors stand open. The only choice is whether one drives or is driven. As the patron settles into the car, an assistant or valet steps forward and lightly touches the sensor on the door handle. The door automatically whispers closed of its own accord, enveloping the occupant in ‘The Embrace’ of the World’s Leading Luxury Item.
Fundamental to the rear occupant’s experience and enjoyment of their New Phantom is this ‘Embrace’. It re-defines Rolls-Royce comfort and refinement – already the benchmark for any carmaker – to create a detoxifying environment whilst cocooning the occupant in the finest of materials, whilst all four doors are enhanced with this new technology to enfold the occupant. The rear and now front doors can also be effortlessly closed from the inside.
From one’s position on beautifully enhanced rear seats, the occupant is borne along in near-silence as if on a pillow of air, thanks to much enhanced ride and acoustic comfort. When in need of a space to reflect on issues of importance or simply lost in thought, ones imagination is inspired by the largest Starlight Headliner ever seen in a Rolls-Royce. High gloss, exquisitely tactile wood panelling that can be commissioned for the door interiors, centre consoles, dashboard and picnic tables, encircles the passenger in only the most beautiful and authentic materials.
The lines at the front of the interior lean forward suggesting a progressive nature, while in contrast the rear doors lean back, relaxing the character of the rear environment. When designing the armrests, the J-Class yacht was heavily referenced as a design inspiration. The tension and ‘hull’ of the armrests are directly influenced by these large sailing yachts.
Cleverly secreted behind the wood panelling on the rear of the front seats are the Rear Picnic tables and Rear Theatre Monitors, which are electrically deployed and retracted at the effortless touch of a button, ensuring an uncompromised theatre experience. Rolls-Royce’s customary attention to detail even dictates that the seat controls are repositioned from the centre armrest to a more intuitive position for the user.
‘The Gallery’ – an unprecedented new concept in luxury
At the heart of the New Phantom’s wholly modern design aesthetic is ‘The Gallery’, a wholly contemporary and luxury reinterpretation of a motor car’s dashboard and instrument panel area.
While the character of the monolithic, upright dashboard pays contemporary homage to Rolls-Royce models of the past, with one clean, symmetrical surface, the main fascia veneer takes the eye from the lower centre up and outwards to create a sense of width.
All of the elements within ‘The Gallery’ are enclosed in an uninterrupted swathe of toughened glass that runs the full width of the dash area. Within it, the instrument digital dials are framed with chrome, adding a degree of jewellery and continuity throughout the front of the interior.
Behind the physical chrome surrounds of the instrument dials, Rolls-Royce has embraced a more futuristic approach to clearer instruments for the driver, something requested by Rolls-Royce customers around the world. 12.3 inch TFT colour displays with LED backlighting now communicate all driver information from within the round chrome surrounds, with the displays themselves designed with clear and beautiful virtual needles, Rolls-Royce jewellery-like chaplets and clear lettering.
In addition to speed, power reserve, fuel and temperature levels, the displays also react to provide essential information on cruise control settings, navigation instructions, driver assistance systems and a whole host of other information.
Also behind the glass of ‘The Gallery’ are housed the analogue clock – a nod the fact that it is “the loudest sound you can hear in a Rolls-Royce …” and the central information screen which can be retracted behind the centre stack when not in use.
The standard clock features a dark face and the surround is finished in black leather. However, each Bespoke Clock features a more intricate design, including a lighter backlit face with crystal effect details and counterweighted hands, and is finished to match the material selected within ‘The Gallery’.
The Architecture of Luxury, ‘The Gallery’, The Embrace, The Art of Movement, the best possible materials in the world and peerless Rolls-Royce design and engineering; the New Rolls-Royce Phantom resets the benchmark not only as ‘the Best Car in the World’, but as the world’s leading luxury item. As the next chapter in Rolls-Royce’s story opens, the New Rolls-Royce Phantom points the way forward for the global luxury industry.