Rolls-Royce Phantom

The 2008 Phantom carries on Rolls-Royce's traditional, conservative shape but with thoroughly modern mechanical components co-developed with BMW.

The Phantom is powered by a 6.7L V12 engine that has direct injection, variable valve control, and variable valve timing, and makes 453 horsepower and 531 lb-ft of torque, delivered though a six-speed automatic transmission. As such, it can accelerate to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and on to an electronically limited 149-mph top speed. According to Rolls, 75 percent (398 lb-ft) of its torque is available at only 1,000 rpm for effortless and quiet acceleration, and the engine is matched with an especially quiet exhaust system that has special "whisper-valves" to make it almost silent when stationary or moving slowly away.

The Phantom is built on a hand-welded aluminum alloy spaceframe. With a double wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear arrangement, combined with air springs and a continuous electronic damping system, the body is kept level and the ride is kept smooth while allowing responsive handling. On command, the suspension can be raised by an inch at low speeds for more clearance.

Michelin PAX run-flat tires are standard; Goodyear's Extended Mobility Technology (EMT) run-flat tires are also available. Both tire systems can be driven at 55 mph for up to 100 miles without inflation or a spare. The standard wheels are also distinctive, with weighted center caps that always stay righted; they can be chrome-plated or finished in silver.

The Phantom is available in two primary models--standard-length and Extended Wheelbase (EWB), which gains nearly ten inches in rear legroom. Rear entry is made easier with the rear-hinged rear doors. On either model, the rear doors can be automatically closed with a button from inside the car. The trunklid has powered, soft-close operation and is finished in black wool or teak, with two hidden lower compartments.

The Phantom's instrument panel mixes old and new, with a very traditional-looking set of gauges and central clock, but the clock folds away to reveal a screen system--similar to that used by parent BMW--to access some functions, especially those for entertainment.

Luxurious appointments are expected inside; outside of the expected audio/video entertainment systems, standout options include a drinks cabinet, theater seating, a curtain divider, a picnic table, front and rear camera systems, and various wood veneers for trim. On the outside, the Phantom is available with a monotone look, or the hood, roof, trunk, or sides can be painted in a contrasting tone.

To help power all the Phantom's electrical accessories, there are two liquid-cooled alternators, along with a main battery (for accessories and entertainment systems) and a dedicated starter battery.

Editors' First Take

It's hard to imagine the car world without Rolls-Royce. For over a century, it has been the unapologetic automotive signifier of wealth, success, celebrity and status. And while the company has experienced as many ups and downs as any other manufacturer -- if not a few more -- The Spirit of Ecstasy has remained a shining beacon of luxury.

But even within Rolls-Royce, there is a hierarchy, and firmly at the top for over 90 years, the Phantom has earned adoration the world over as simply the best car money can buy.

Now it is time for the current Phantom to make way for Goodwood's finest new endeavor, the Phantom VIII.

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