Rolling good times
The Rolls-Royce Phantom has just ended a phenomenal 13-year run as (arguably) the last word in ultra-luxury saloons. In that time, it’s spawned an innumerable amount of special editions and stunning one-off customs, so the Phantom’s absence will definitely be missed in the Rolls-Royce lineup. But don’t fret, because a new one will be unveiled in 2018, along with its highly anticipated SUV, codenamed Cullinan.
We look back at the things we like best about the outgoing Phantom.
I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the Phantom’s design back in 2003 when it was first launched. I thought its slitty headlights were terribly small next to its oversized grille, its glasshouse too erect and its rear end too droopy. However, history has vindicated the Phantom’s design and even after 13 years, the original model (with the round foglamps, not the rectangular ones of the Series II) still looks good. More accurately, the Phantom is as imposing, majestic and imperious as it ever was, or everything a limousine should be. Don’t believe me? Take a look at any of its contemporaries from the early 2000s and see how they look now.
Its reserve rev counter
Normal cars, that is, cars driven by the proletariat, have rev counters. But because the Phantom is the most blue-blooded of automotive nobility, it gets a power reserve dial instead. In all seriousness though, the power reserve dial is effectively a rev counter in reverse. Instead of showing you how long you have until the engine runs out of puff, it instead shows you how much puff you have left. Gimmicky, yes, but also very, very cool.
The Phantom Drophead Coupe
If the Phantom is the ultimate expression of a luxury limousine, then its convertible sibling, the Drophead Coupe is what all luxury convertibles want to be when they grow up. It’s the terrestrial equivalent of a superyacht, and it even comes with nautical-grade wood decking, all the better to echo the craft berthed at your private marina.
Reminiscing aside, here’s what we’d love to see in its successor. Autonomous driving functions are all the rage these days, and it’s somewhat unfortunate we never got to see it implemented on the outgoing Phantom, but it’s almost a certainty its successor will. Granted, you won’t see the sort of tech seen on the 103EX concept car (“Eleanor", the digital concierge and chauffeur) in the next Phantom, but expect a raft of autonomous features including self parking, lane-keeping and collision mitigation.