In praise of the Phantom
The Supercar Club chief executive Tim Sommers takes us for a ride in a car worth $1.4 million and says it’s worth every cent
It is the iconic silhouette cast by the British regalness of the Rolls-Royce, combined with its refined German engineering and truly special cabin, that make the Roller the best car in the world – still.
As you’d imagine, most of the features expected in every other luxury car are found in the Phantom Drophead, but it’s the great many special touches that set the Rolls-Royce apart. The Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament lowers neatly into the imposing chrome grille when the car is locked to prevent the lovely flying lady from getting nicked. The RR logos on the wheel hubs stay stationary while the rest of the wheels spin. The two doors not only open suicide style, allowing for a more graceful entry and departure, they also hide away Teflon-coated umbrellas.
The Phantom is powered by a giant 6.7-litre V12 motor with the same power as 453 galloping horses. A six-speed automatic is the lone transmission. Despite its size, the Phantom still accelerates from zero to 100 kph in 5.8 seconds.
Top speed is limited to 240 kilometres per hour.
This may not come as a shock, but the Rolls-Royce Phantom has a rather nice interior, and no matter how nice you think that may be, it’s even nicer. Almost every surface is adorned in beautifully crafted veneer, the shiniest chrome, soft cashmere and the sumptuous cream hides of 18 Bavarian cattle, each individual piece then personally signed on the reverse by the person who hand stitches it and fits it into the car.
The large but spindly three-spoke steering wheel feels light in the hands, yet offers good feedback, allowing this big drawing room to change direction with ease – at least when travelling at a relaxed pace. Power from the V12 is prodigious. Pushing the pedal to the floor can be a bit surreal, as you never feel the transmission changing gears and the engine makes little noise. The ride is superb, as it avoids being floaty while soaking up potholes and other road imperfections with nothing more than a muted “thump.” The big surprise for me in the drive experience was the “power put down”. This massive car is capable of immense speed and huge power surges but delivers it all with the smoothness of a warm knife through soft butter. Sitting in the car seems to give ‘ownership’ of the road, looking down on other road users and wafting around town in an effortless manner is a very different drive experience to the hustle and bustle style driving offered by the Lotus or any Lamborghini.
This is all about enjoying the smoothness of drive and lets be honest here... being seen.
Some people will ‘get it’, other won’t. It is hard for me to explain the value of this car at 400,000 over a million, but believe me the value is there in the quality and finesse.