Rolls-Royce has publicly debuted the 2018 Phantom limousine overnight, becoming the eighth model from the brand to wear the Phantom name, being referred to within the company not just as a new model but as the “next chapter” for Rolls-Royce.
That’s hardly a claim to make lightly, but beneath the new Phantom’s imposing sheetmetal lies a new structure, grandly called the Architecture of Luxury, which will eventually underpin the entire Rolls-Royce range, giving it a bespoke chassis to distance itself from parent-company BMW.
The first new Phantom since 2003 will arrive in Australia before the end of 2017, with a suggested price tag stretching past the $1 million mark.
For that kind of money you’d rightfully expect some truly premium features, and the new Phantom certainly doesn’t disappoint with inclusions like self-closing coach doors, the largest interpretation yet of the brand’s fiber-optic starlight headlining, and a curious new feature called ‘The Gallery’ - a full-width panel of toughened glass that spans the dash encompassing the instruments and interior clock which also allows customers to have their choice of artwork, sculpture, or other treasured items mounted beneath the glass.
“This is the next era in of Rolls-Royce,” the brand’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Fintan Knight, told The Motor Report.
“Phantom has always been the conveyance for royalty, pop stars, captains of industry and some of the most powerful people on Earth. And now we begin the next chapter.”
“It’s the culmination of eight years’ work, and the world’s ultimate luxury item.”
The Architecture of Luxury platform that’s set to become the building blocks of all future Rolls-Royce models, including the brand’s first SUV and the smaller Ghost and its derivatives comprises an aluminium space frame making it lighter than the previous structure but with 30 percent greater torsional stiffness, and features fully-independent air-sprung suspension,
Beneath the Phantom’s expansive bonnet lies a twin-turbocharged 6.75-litre V12 engine capable of 420kW of power and a staggering 900Nm which Rolls-Royce claims will be able to whisk the 2.6-tonne Phantom to 100km/h in a remarkable 5.3 seconds.
That’s unlikely to impress the average Phantom owner, who can more likely be found in the first-class rear seat with features including not one but two drinks cabinets, allowing a chilled compartment perfect for a bottle of Dom Perignon while the other can be set to room temperature suited to a single malt - with space for two glasses for each.
The Phantom also carries over the previous model’s rear doors that open or close automatically at the push of a button, while an electric footrest rises magically from the lambswool-carpeted floor on demand.
To hush any disruptions from the outside world over 130kg of sound insulation keeps the cabin calm, while a new Flagbearer suspension system uses a front-facing camera to monitor the road surface ahead and prepares the suspension accordingly - to ensure nothing less than a magic carpet ride.
Of course a flagship Rolls-Royce needs an imposing stance, and at 5,762mm long in standard form there’s no shortage of presence from the standard Phantom, except in the case of the extended wheelbase version which stretches to a whopping 5,982mm.
Designers have also gone to great pains to remove the “architectural” look of the previous model (that’s boxiness to you and I), with the iconic grille set into the surrounding bodywork for the first time, all visible body joins removed, and more gently flowing body surfaces that create subtly blistered wheel arches capped by a crisp body line that flows from the front corners of the car and fades into the rear doors.
The new Phantom is expected to arrive in Australian in the fourth quarter of 2017, with official pricing yet to be confirmed.