Rolls-Royce builds the most beautiful car

Opinions differ wildly when it comes to automotive design, but no one could deny the sheer beauty of Rolls-Royce's new Phantom Drophead Coupe.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe exterior
CNET Networks/Sarah Tew

Opinions differ wildly when it comes to automotive design, but no one could deny the sheer beauty of Rolls-Royce's new Phantom Drophead Coupe. The second car in Rolls-Royce's rejuvenated model lineup, the Drophead takes the elegance of the Phantom and adds exterior elements that make it more sporty and downright lovely. The most obvious elements are the brushed steel hood, which creates a nice two-tone effect with the body, and the teak cover for the convertible top, reminiscent of a Chris-Craft powerboat.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe teak deck
CNET Networks/Sarah Tew

Ostensibly a convertible version of the Phantom, the Drophead Coupe shares very little with its hardtop sibling. All the body panels are different, the Drophead is shorter, and the interior materials are designed to be weather-resistant. The Drophead uses coach-style doors, which open from the front, allowing for easy access to the rear seats. The convertible top is lined with cashmere on the inside and extremely thick, with five layers of insulation. The trunk lid is made up of two parts, hinged from the top and bottom, with the lower one forming a bench designed for people to sit on during picnics.

The underpinnings of the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe are pure BMW, which owns Rolls-Royce, with an aluminum frame to reduce weight, and a 6.75-liter V-12 engine. The engine produces 453 horsepower and pushes the 5,776-pound car to 60mph in 5.7 seconds. As with everything else in this car, dashboard tech is as good as it gets, with a premium stereo, navigation, and voice command all controlled with subtle and refined switchgear. Like the Phantom, the Drophead includes a split-view camera in front so the driver can see to the left and right of the car when pulling into a blind intersection.

See more 2007 Detroit Auto Show coverage

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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