There surely can’t be a car on the road today that warrants as much attention as a modern Rolls-Royce and the Phantom EWB even more so. At a shade under six metres in length and just over two metres wide, this Phantom has presence in abundance. Indeed, at first glance the Rolls appears almost ethereal, the low sun of an early Bradford morning allowing the swimming pool deep paintwork to shine and reflect the surrounding mediocrity. A rainbow amongst the clouds if you will.
The Phantom has always been an aspirational car, one that you’d yearn for without really thinking that you could be one of the lucky few who could find themselves behind the wheel. A car that you read about rather than drive, a car that you’d always be left wondering, ‘Can it really be worth it?’ The elephant in the room is, of course, the price. At around £470,000 this is not a car that many will see on it’s way to the supermarket or on the commute through the centre of town but that is to do the Phantom a disservice as the ease with which the Rolls can be driven far outweigh the initial nervousness that it’s size instils upon you. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, that wouldn’t be the Roll-Royce way.
The first new Phantom was launched way back in 2003, an event described in the 2018 iteration’s brochure as:
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
The moment the very first Phantom was unveiled in 2003, the bar was set. A motor car without parallel. Chosen by visionaries, leaders and icons in their field. Throughout its exemplary history, Phantom has always inspired excellence. Today, it brings the remarkable to life.
Too much? You’d think so wouldn’t you? But that’s forgetting one very important factor. This is, after all, a Rolls-Royce Phantom. Designed and hand built to the very best quality that any car manufacturer today can offer. A design that looks both elegant and muscular and that’s before we even start with an engine that is to die for.
And yet you’re still left wondering what it would be like to drive a car such as that which you see in the photos. Getting up close and personal is when you begin to notice the little touches that differentiate, the little touches that warrant the hours and hours of sitting in front of a computer screen during the design phase. Take, for example, that iconic Spirit Of Ecstasy sitting (oh so very) prominently on the roof of the newly integrated front grille, a design classic that is discussed below in this short film shared by Rolls Royce themselves from their excellent website.
And pause for a while to drink in the details before realising that yes, she is as beautiful as you hoped she would be. A symbol that says as much about Rolls-Royce cars in general as it does about the Phantom itself. It’s easy to be blinded by the quality of the Phantom EWB but impossible to become blasé about it. The car’s dimensions, which seemed so vast at first, begin to shrink away as you become used to the Rolls’ rather classic lines, the long and imposing bonnet especially. Resplendent in silver and deep metallic purple, a simplified description if ever there was one, the drama with which the Phantom announces itself upon arrival is worthy of a twenty one gun salute
And at the back of your mind you’re sure that you read somewhere that no two Phantoms are the same. Incredible.
The more time you spend in the company of this exquisite companion the more you’re convinced that the price is more than justifiable. The headlights bear close attention with their miniature ‘RR’ logo hidden within, trick daytime LEDs and superior lighting technology whilst that all new, integrated front grille quite correctly takes centre stage helping to create a look that is at once easily recognisable and yet still unique. Deep chrome door handles that appear hewn from one solid billet of metal, draw your attention to the side of the car
Like the landscape surrounding it, the Phantom appears to change colour with the light. So deep is it’s paint and bright work that it swallows you up if you allow yourself the time to just stop and stare. There’s so much that has already been spoken about this new 2018 Phantom and it’s superb styling, styling that harks back to Phantoms of yore with subtle nods and winks, that what we’re left to debate is whether it truly displays what we expect from a Rolls Royce. Does it really reflect the heritage and sophistication that should run, like oil, through the Phantom’s veins?
And then there’s the interior. Simply stunning. Carpets deep enough to dive into, leather of a quality unlike any other car you’ve ever sat in before and that incredible mixture of old school feel and thoroughly modern technology that defines the current model. Comfort? Of course. If you can’t get a comfortable seating position then you don’t deserve too. Tech? Most definitely. Think of something you’d like in a car and the chances are, it’s already in the Phantom and is remarkably simple to control and use. Bespoke art? Absolutely. Rolls Royce themselves state the following: A first in the automotive world, a single panel of glass spans the entire fascia. A unique Gallery to display bespoke artwork of your choice. This unprecedented scope for personalisation sees Phantom redefine history once again.
The rear of this Extended WheelBase model lives up to it’s name and then some, offering your two passengers a seven star experience worthy of the very best hotel. The difference being that this luxury accommodation can also transport you from and too your favourite destinations in complete comfort. Seats that heat, cool, massage and recline, when matched with the hidden footrests rising from the floor, allow for all journeys to be looked forward too as a chance to unwind and relax, cushioned from all imperfections of the outside world. A supreme multi media centre for each passenger easily controlled from a central control keeps even the most demanding guest happy, especially when combined with the bespoke cut glass flutes filled with something cold and refreshing from the rear fridge. One could very easily get used to this.
But enough of all that. You know it’s going to be extremely comfortable. You know it’s going to be everything you dreamed it would be. You know it’ll have a full-length starlight headliner depicting the night sky (you didn’t?) It’s the driving experience that’s possibly the most surprising.
At 5982 mm in length, 2018 mm in width and with an unladen weight of 2610 kg, the Rolls-Royce Phantom EWB is no shrinking wallflower and can be quite intimidating to the uninitiated. This car has a presence unlike any other on the road today. There’s also an engine sporting 12 cylinders in the traditional V formation, twin turbos and 6749 cc. The power produced by this incredible power plant is a more than reasonable 563 bhp @ 5000 rpm whilst offering up 664 lb/ft torque @ 1700 rpm which combine to propel the Phantom forward in a manner that makes it’s size simply disappear. How does a 0-60 mph of 5.2 secs sound to you?
And more than anything else, that’s probably the Rolls’ greatest achievement. This Phantom EWB is just so easy to drive. Far from being intimidating, once used to the size of the car you find yourself driving the Rolls-Royce Phantom as you would any other car, with a far greater awareness of every other car on the road of course. The steering is so light you could steer with just one finger if you so desired whilst the sophisticated suspension keeps body roll to an absolute minimum and does an amazing job of isolating front and rear passengers from all imperfections in the road’s surface. Double glazed windows complete the feeling of calm that pervades the interior which, when combined with the car’s sophisticated driving aids, makes for an incredibly relaxing state of mind as you waft along to your destination, wherever that may be.
Bradford to Sheffield is akin to popping to the local supermarket for a car such as the Phantom, so accomplished is it at completing it’s raison d’être and yet, town driving, motorways or country lanes all try, and fail to dent the Phantom’s confidence at getting the job done in the most pleasant way possible. Stunning.
Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, as is a sense of worth, thoughts that bring us full circle. In a market where cars are becoming more and more like traditional white goods, differentiated by the makers name alone, a company such as Rolls-Royce is to be celebrated for taking it’s long held values and tradition and transporting those feelings and qualities into their present day products. The Phantom being perhaps the embodiment of this philosophy. The Rolls-Royce Phantom EWB is expensive, of that there can be no doubt but you know what? It’s build quality, style and performance, breathtaking as they are, combine to create something that is simply priceless.
It’s a celebration of the motorcar and all that it can be. And for that, we should all be utterly thankful.
Where will you go?