Friday, October 6, 2017

Rolls Royce Phantom 2017 First Test Review

This is the new Rolls-Royce Phantom, the eighth model to put on the nameplate; only, like a navy warship, Phantom nameplates haven't always complied with one straight after the various other.

Rolls Royce Phantom 2017

But Phantom VIII does straight follow VII (the roman characters make it appear a bit more regal, most likely), which itself ran-- ruled, perhaps-- for 14 years of the kind that Nicholas Witchell would certainly refer to as lengthy and also happy.

Anyway, the king is dead, long live the king; or meet the brand-new boss, same as, and so on. You get the idea: the new Phantom is expected to get from where the old one ended. "A Phantom is a Phantom is a Phantom," states Rolls CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös. He may have added another "is a Phantom" therein. I neglect. But, anyhow, recognize that this car is the flag-bearer, the top dog, the prince amongst men - no matter exactly what happens to the Rolls variety in future.

Exactly what will occur is that all versions (Rollses, Rolls? Not Rollers, I do not believe) will be underpinned by a brand-new system, which discovers its launching in this new Phantom. Say goodbye to upscaling BMW systems to fits lesser Rolls. Ultimate substitutes for the Ghost, Wraith coupé as well as Dawn exchangeable, and also the Project Cullinan SUV, will all include this aluminium spaceframe that is generally 30% more torsionally stiff than the outgoing Phantom's, rising to 100% stiffer in key areas-- around suspension as well as transmission places, as an example.

Aluminium bodywork is crafted over the top and also the body-in-white ends up "inadvertently" being lighter than the old one, inning accordance with engineering director Phillip Koehn: "Saving weight wasn't a priority. If there's a chance to enhance stiffness, I take it."

Body rigidity brings its benefits when it pertains to refinement as well as ride top quality, see, which are the two points that ought to specify a Phantom greater than anything else, and hence should establish a new standard for the market.

So there are air springtimes, which is most likely the only reasonable way to control the body language of a 2560kg automobile (2610kg as an Extended Wheelbase, which our test cars and truck isn't really), in spite of an air-sprung automobile's propensity to 'spring', allied to adaptive dampers (although you can not influence their tightness, fortunately) and energetic anti-sway bars (12v, not 48v, since Rolls, states the torque result coincides either way). There's rear-wheel steering, as well, providing counter steer while maneuvering up to three levels. When will I see you once more? In 13.77 meters, even on the lengthy variation.

On the whole, the standard wheelbase Phantom is 5.76 m long, with the EWB being available in at 5.98 m; both shorter than their precursors but larger, also, since in addition to Koehn taking every opportunity for tightness, he's also taken every opportunity to increase the improvement and technology degrees.

In the former's instance, that means there is more than 130kg of audio deadening material: foams, sheets and more. Also, the tires get it. Koehn likes that the tires are the very first line of suspension, so while he has actually defined tires with not overtly charitable sidewalls-- our examination car rode on 22in edges, with 45 as well as 40 front as well as rear accounts-- they are soft sidewalls. They're additionally, as tires are, large resemble chambers for noise, so around the within the tyrewall of each tire runs 2kg of soundproofing foam (like Maybach variants of the Mercedes S-Class as well as the Tesla Model S), which isn't helpful for the unsprung mass, however the substantial body weight isn't really conveniently dispersed by that anyway.

Power comes from a 6.75-litre engine once again; Rolls's best engine dimension and also, in its a lot took on design, a V12. It's successfully a rubbed and revamped variation of the 6.6-litre V12 that runs in the Ghost. There was no will certainly making the birthed larger, since torque is the top priority. There are two turbochargers and also the very same power result-- 563bhp-- as in the Ghost. Torque, though, is monumental; there are 664lb feet of it and it's generated from just 1700rpm. Peak power is made at 5000rpm as well as the system could rev to 6500rpm; but unless you lose your best foot deep within the thick, lavish rug, anything greater than 2500rpm is "from its basic operating range", states Koehn.

What Rolls is going for, then, is what it thinks a luxury car driver-- be that owner or chauffeur-- really wants. A car that's easy to drive, relaxing to drive, but ultimately also pleasurable to drive.

Rolls Royce Phantom 2017

It's certainly that to sit in. You sit relatively high because, at 1646mm, this car is high. (About 15-20cm higher than, say, most executive and luxury saloons.) A flatter bonnet than previously means there's no longer a line down the middle of it to aim down to where the Spirit of Ecstasy sits. Müller-Ötvös says he likes the new view, seeing the expanse of aluminum and the mascot on the bonnet "as if reflected in a lake", which I suppose it does if you use your imagination a bit.
You'll make up your own mind about the looks, but it's worth noting that the 'Parthenon' grille is now integrated flush into the body, rather than sitting proudly as on the Phantom VII, which is a bit more subtle (although these things are relative). It has a pretty elegant side profile, too, and a bit more dynamism to my eyes. But the previous Phantom wanted some familiarity before people became comfortable with it, and I wonder if the same will be true here. You don't see them often, and they're vast, so while even, say, a Porsche Cayenne slips into normality quite quickly, a Phantom might take longer. I think we'll get used to it. And it's allowed-- almost meant - to be a bit ostentatious. It's a Rolls-Royce Phantom, after all.

It feels like one inside, too. The wheelbase is longer (on both models) despite the shorter overall length, but let's be honest, you're not going to feel short of leg room on either model. The two rear seats are vast, comfortable, move, heat, cosset and comfort, and I suspect you could nod off for about a week in them. Each gets its own air conditioning controls on the armrest of the (electric closing) doors, but none of that thing where you actually select a temperature or a fan number. Just 'soft' through to 'max' levels of blow on a gently sliding scale from blue (chilly) to red. Feels a bit old-school but works really rather well. You can have fridges and suchlike back here, too, if you wanted ... but, my, is that the time, are we there already? Sorry, I totally dozed off.

I suppose I should mention that the boot's big enough for four sets of golf clubs, too. But the front seat is where my interest is and, actually, it's where a lot of Phantom owners have an interest, too. Look at it this way. The new Phantom adopts quite a lot of the latest BMW electronics technology and is already geared to accept more software later (it'll have a generous production length, after all), but the semi-autonomous driving tech isn't among it. Owners quite like driving the Phantom when they sit in the front, and when they don't want the stress of driving, they pay somebody else to do it.

The front environment's just as nice, mind. Fit, finish and materials are, obviously, utterly exemplary. The new 'gallery' malarkey is a nice touch. It's a sealed, behind-glass unit, into which the infotainment screen pops in and out, but what it effectively means is that you can have the dashboard adorned with whatever you like-- some special artwork, moulds of your children's footprints, receipts from your last tax year. Whatever, really. And if you aren't that bothered, there are a range of things you can pick from, although "there's no such thing as standard" on a Phantom, says Koehn.

Rolls Royce Phantom 2017

Anyway, a couple of my colleagues felt they sat 'on' rather than 'in' in the flattish front seats, but I didn't mind them. The steering wheel could reach a little closer but, really, you just have to adopt a different driving style. The wheel's large - as thin-rimmed as Rolls could make it while making sure it's soft enough if you head-butt it in an accident, and apparently good chauffeurs are trained not to slide the wheel in their hands because that makes quite a lot of noise, and there's not a lot of that in here. So you get into the habit of driving via fingertips, feeding the wheel and the light, now electrically assisted steering from hand to hand.
The Phantom's meant to be engaging to drive. What that doesn't mean, quite obviously, is that it's sporting in any way whatsoever. Look through the bumf Rolls gives you and you won't find a single mention of the word. (You won't find a pound sign either, incidentally - but it's from ₤ 360,000 for this one, from ₤ 432,000 for a long one, although many owners will spend a million.).

Instead, it's meant to be absorbent - and it is - an ultra quiet (which it also is). The V12 idles at barely 650rpm and such is the smoothness of a V12 that it could idle lower still if you could get decent enough throttle response from there. The throttle travel is long and the Phantom eases away with a light tackle. The steering's light, too, while the brake pedal is ideally weighted. Rolls' engineers have spent quite a lot of time in traffic, getting it all just so for the ease of stopping and starting, but that crispness of control makes it quite easy, and surprisingly engaging, to drive at any speeds. Given its size and light steering, it would be easy for it to feel vague, but such is the steering's precision that it never does.

Then there's the ride and the silence. At motorway speeds, Rolls says it has reduced cabin noise by 6-7dB, which might not sound like a lot if you're talking a number into the fifties or sixties, but it isn't a direct sliding scale, so they say you feel it's hushed by as much as 75%. Put it this way: naughty children shouldn't try whispering to each other in the back because those in the front will hear them. It is, no question, utterly exceptional.

The ride is too. There are an absorbance and compliance that nearly every other new car can only dream of. It pays not to ask too much of the chassis but it retains decent enough control if you do, but the real pleasure is to be had in enjoying how easy it is to drive smoothly, how precisely it steers. And how it has perhaps the only car stereo worth listening to.
I suppose, if you were being picky-- I mean seriously picky, like 'there are only 149,999 bubbles in this bath and I specifically requested 150,000' picky-- there's an occasional tiny stiction to the steering in medium-speed corners, presumably where the rear steer and electric power steering quite like the line you've scribed, without noting you 'd like to come off it. And the shimmy - a slight reverberation - that usually comes with air springs is there if you really concentrate on it, literally as much as anything, on brittle surfaces. And, dammit, I wanted my Champagne chilled to 8.430 deg C, not 8.429 deg C, you bloody dotards. Release the hounds.

But nothing is perfect, anyway. And let's not forget, there are places in the world where they put errors in rugs because perfection is for God alone, so I suppose you could look at it that way if you were so inclined. Because in all other ways-- in all significant and insignificant ways-- the Phantom is the pinnacle, the epitome, of motoring luxury. A Phantom is a Phantom is a Phantom. That it is, Torsten, that it is.
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