|2009 Phantom||2011 Phantom 102EX Experimental Electric||2011 Bespoke Phantom Drophead Coupe|
Image credits: © Rolls-Royce.
2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe news, pictures, and information
In its two world tours, 100EX garnered positive comments from customers and the media alike. Such was the strength of the reaction that, in the autumn of 2005, Rolls-Royce announced that a production version would be available by 2007. In the interim years, the team at Goodwood have worked tirelessly to turn the experimental car into a reality.
Launched at the Detroit Motor Show 2006, the Phantom Drophead Coup is the second new model from Rolls-Royce since BMW Group became custodian of the marque in 1998. The two-door, four-seat convertible is a less formal interpretation of classic Rolls-Royce design. Úsing the lightweight rigidity of an all-aluminium spaceframe, it marries modern technology to a sleek, streamlined convertible body.
Its exterior lines echo the timeless styling of the great Rolls-Royce cars: a long bonnet, large-diameter wheels, short front and long rear overhangs and the quintessential dynamic line descending along its flanks. Inside, the design emphasises the airy openness of top-down motoring, embracing the elements and creating a stunning, social environment.
The Phantom Drophead Coup has been carefully crafted to be aesthetically pleasing, yet practical too. Wood, leather, chrome and brushed steel have been used where most appropriate. Form and function have equal billing. The simplicity of the design belies a car built to provide years of effortless service.
|Engine : 6.7 L., 12-cylinder|
Power: 453 hp
Torque: 531 ft-lbs
From the outset, the design team at Goodwood were adamant that the Phantom Drophead Coup should be more than simply a convertible version of the Phantom. Designing without compromise meant that, to a certain extent, we had to start again, says Rolls-Royce Chief Designer Ian Cameron. Simply removing the Phantom s roof could have made a great convertible but it wouldn t have made a perfect one. With the Phantom Drophead Coup we had the chance to think about the very nature of convertible motoring and, in particular, what it means to Rolls-Royce.
Every exterior panel on the Phantom Drophead Coup is new, echoing the Phantom s style but wîth carefully considered proportions more suited to the shorter body. From the raked front end to the sweeping rear, every aspect was studied at length to ensure that the nished car looked purposeful and elegant both wîth the hood up and wîth it stowed. For the interior, the concept was simple: bring the outside in. Create a social space enabling occupants to embrace the elements using sumptuous, relevant materials.
As well as considering the ner details of the package seating arrangements and dashboard layouts, for example the designers also developed some fundamental beliefs about how the materials they were using should work. The entire team was keen to keep things as natural as possible and, as a result, there is an instant, raw beauty to the Phantom Drophead Coup . Materials are used in a way that emphasises their natural charm and there is an immediacy to the exposed elements of brushed steel and solid teak. Bleaches, stains and lacquers were shunned as far as possible in favour of more natural nishes. Hands touch only chrome, leather or wood. Other materials, such as the brushed steel, are used as architectural detailing, giving the whole car a sense of visual tactility.
The Phantom Drophead Coup is about emphasising the essentials of pleasure, says Cameron. Above all, we were determined to make this car a joy to live with. Rolls-Royce is the opposite of stiff formality. Why would you design and build a car like this and not make it fun to use?
The pro le of the Phantom Drophead Coup is fundamentally transformed from that of a conventional four-seat convertible by the inclusion of front coach doors. Evocative of the classic sports car pro le, they add considerably to the easy entry and exit of rear passengers. Perhaps just as importantly, they also add signi cantly to the overall strength and stiffness of the body as they allow the construction of an uninterrupted A-pillar. Newly homologated for the Phantom Drophead Coup , these coach doors are unique to Rolls-Royce.
At the front sits a new, more rakish grille, giving the car a more casual air while retaining its classic looks. Finished in steel, the centre ns are polished while the surround is brushed to match the optional brushed steel bonnet and A-pillar. The grille is hinged at the top in order to give way in the event of a low-speed impact. On top sits the Spirit of Ecstasy, remodelled using advanced computer software. These days she has a more lifelike appearance, wîth clear definition of her features. Finished in stainless steel, the Spirit of Ecstasy is also available in silver or gold via the Bespoke programme at Goodwood.
The front end of the Phantom Drophead Coup is more streamlined than that of previous Rolls-Royce cars. Slim front LED side lights sit above larger round driving lamps. The front bumper is integrated into the design, further softening the look. A discreet camera nestles underneath the numberplate to provide an excellent split-screen view of the road ahead, via the on-board monitor, to help when parking or when pulling out of a side road.
One of the best visual clues to the Phantom Drophead Coup s character can be found at the rear. The picnic boot is the very essence of automotive affability. The only type of its kind on any convertible, it offers easy access to the luggage compartment as well as providing comfortable outdoor seating for two adults. The substantial hinges are able to accommodate a weight of 150 kg / 330 lb. Inside the boot, 315 litres / 11.1 cu ft of space is enough to house three sets of golf clubs. Importantly, this space remains intact whether the hood is raised or lowered.
An entirely new palette of nine exterior colours has been developed for the Phantom Drophead Coup : Metropolitan Blue, Admiral Blue, Jubilee Silver, Diamond Black, Duck Egg Blue, Semaphore Yellow, English White, Woodland Green and Ensign Red. These are complimented wîth hood colours in Silver, Black, Beige, Navy Blue, Deep Red and Deep Green.
Two of the most visually stunning options are the teak decking for the rear hood cover and the brushed steel bonnet and A-pillar. First seen on the 100EX experimental car in 2004, these are signature elements of the Phantom Drophead Coup look. The brushed nish of the bonnet and A-pillar apes the classic Phantoms of the 20s and 30s but wîth a delightful 21st century twist.
The rear teak decking epitomises the careful design and attention to detail seen throughout the Phantom Drophead Coup . It is as functional as it is beautiful. Teak was used because of its inherently hardy properties and its resistance to moisture and decay. Special techniques were developed in the Rolls-Royce wood shop to preserve the appearance of a fresh, unprocessed nish, the aim being to have a nal deck that was as close to natural timber as possible. We wanted it to look as if it had been cut and hand- nished 10 minutes ago, said Alan Sheppard, Chief Interior Designer. More than 30 individual pieces of teak go into each deck, protected by a specially formulated blend of oils. As wîth all the woods and veneers used by Rolls-Royce, it is sourced from sustainable forests by a team of specialists.
The hood is the largest of any modern convertible. Its acoustic insulation is exemplary, wîth ve layers of insulation material between occupants and the outside world. Lined wîth a cashmere blend, the structure is more like a bespoke suit than a traditional fabric roof. Rolls-Royce was keen to use a fabric roof rather than a folding hard-top for many reasons, not least aesthetics. As Ian Cameron describes, There is nothing more romantic than driving a convertible in the rain at night and hearing the drops hit the roof. In conversation wîth our customers we realised that they felt the same way. A further bene t of the tailored, soft-top roof is the relatively small space required to stow it.
The interior concept revolves around the idea of an indoor/outdoor space: an all-weather passenger compartment that combines the practicality required for convertible motoring wîth the sumptuous elegance expected of Rolls-Royce. Rather than take inspiration solely from the automotive world, Chief Interior Designer Alan Shepherd looked elsewhere. In 2004, when we were designing 100EX, we visited a boatyard in Southampton where one of the famous 1930s America s Cup J-class yachts was being restored. We were struck by the variety and uses of different materials throughout. All of the J-class yachts have a tremendous sense of purposeful elegance about them, and this was something that we were keen to emulate.
The Phantom Drophead Coup has been designed as a car in which to enjoy the elements. The all-weather surfaces of the interior have been designed to take what nature can throw at them. We didn t want owners to feel as if they had to pull over at the rst spot of rain, says Cameron. To this end, a number of notable features can be seen throughout the interior. Firstly, the seats have no ridges in them, giving a smooth surface so that moisture can be wiped straight off. In place of traditional oor mats, wholly more practical sisal mats are used. Even the carpet itself employs 21st century materials designed to deal wîth the moisture and humidity encountered in many areas of the world.
The front seats are slimmer than the Phantom s but still offer an uncompromised degree of comfort. Integrated seatbelts are mounted directly onto them, while active head restraints and seat squab airbags give further protection to the torso and head. The driving position is set deliberately high to give a commanding view of the road over the long bonnet, and the curved rear lounge seats offer an intimate, social environment for passengers. Rear legroom is excellent and marks the car out as a true four-seater.
An exceptional sound system has been specially designed for the Phantom Drophead Coup , taking into account the differing acoustic properties of the convertible. Nine channels of sound arrive via 15 speakers, creating a stereophonic experience to impress the most hardened audiophiles.
The challenge in designing any convertible lies in retaining a high degree of torsional rigidity throughout the body while keeping weight down. Torsional rigidity is vital to minimise the scuttle shake associated wîth most convertible cars and to help maintain the car s dynamic composure.
Extensive testing and research were carried out before the engineering team were completely satis ed. Tens of thousands of kilometres were driven over rough road surfaces to help identify and eliminate potential problems. The result is a spaceframe chassis that makes the Phantom Drophead Coup perhaps the most rigid convertible available today. The clearest indicator of this incredible strength and stiffness can be seen in the rear-view mirror, which shows no vibration at all, even at high speed.
A great deal of this is due to the modi cations around the triangulated A-pillar. The entire windscreen surround was designed to be an integral part of the roll-over protection system. Consequently the A-pillar struts run right down to the oor of the car. Additional aluminium extrusions have been utilised, along wîth wider sills. The rear haunches have single extrusion beams running at waist height on either side. In all, more than 140 metres / 460 ft of weld go into each Phantom Drophead Coup body 20 metres / 65 ft more than in the Phantom. Incorporated into the rear spaceframe structure is the concealed roll-over protection system which deploys from within the rear head restraints in just a fraction of a second in the event of an accident. A ratchet system then locks them in place.
Further adding to occupant safety, frontal impacts are absorbed by crumple zones directed into Y-shaped chassis members and the main understructure the strongest part of the chassis. Side impact intrusion is minimised by the double-skinned oor construction, strong side sills and integral side impact bars in each door. Additional braces above and below the engine bay and under the rear axle add further rigidity to the spaceframe.
Other safety systems include intelligent braking and restraint systems, combined wîth integral seatbelts. As a result, the Phantom Drophead Coup is perhaps the safest convertible car on the market.
The spaceframe is constructed at the BMW centre for aluminium competence in Dingol ng, Germany. Manufactured to within a tolerance of just 0.1 mm / 0.004 in, each spaceframe is welded entirely by hand. They are then checked by a computer-guided machine to ensure absolute accuracy.
One of the more interesting problems encountered by the engineering team was the proximity of the optional brushed steel bonnet to the aluminium front wings. These materials are not normally used alongside each other due to the adverse corrosion effects of aluminium on steel. An integral part of the testing process was a 20-year-old DeLorean car. Manufactured wîth stainless steel exterior panels, it provided an interesting case study into the long-term durability of the material.
All of the panels used on the Phantom Drophead Coup are unique to this car, representing some of the 1300 new parts used. Únlike on the Phantom, the front wings have been constructed from aluminium using the superform technique, in which aluminium is heated to the critical temperature before being literally sucked down over a mould to form the large, complex shape.
The Phantom Drophead Coup s advanced aluminium spaceframe is at the heart of its re ned, dynamic driving experience. Lightweight and exceptionally strong, it impacts positively on ride, comfort and safety. Its inherent rigidity is essential in isolating vibration and maintaining the hushed interior calm associated wîth the brand. The new car is shorter than the Phantom by 250 mm / 9.8 in, so turn-in is slightly quicker, making for a wholly more agile driving experience.
A lower centre of gravity, combined wîth the reduced wheelbase and incredibly stiff body, produces a ride that is on the re ned, comfortable side of sporty. Feedback from the wheels is informative but not intrusive. Imperfect road surfaces go unnoticed while feel through the §teering wheel inspires con dence. New spring dampers and lighter anti-roll bars have been engineered to maintain comfort without loss of agility. Self-levelling air struts continuously adjust for increased loading in harder cornering, giving drivers the ability to place the car through turns wîth absolute precision.
The front double-wishbone suspension features a hydraulic mount to minimise vibration through the §teering wheel. Multi-link rear suspension is designed for increased ride comfort wîth anti-lift and anti-dive technology.
With no xed roof, much of the Phantom Drophead Coup s weight naturally sits lower and further forward than in the Phantom, due to the structural roll-over protection built into the A-pillar. Nonetheless, a 50:50 weight distribution has been maintained.
Other heavy components the engine, gearbox and propshaft, for example sit as low as possible, again contributing to the low centre of gravity.
Grip is provided by standard- t Michelin PAX run- at tyres, metrically sized at 540 mm (approximately 20 inches in diameter). These tyres enable the Phantom Drophead Coup to run for at least 100 miles / 160 km at speeds up to 50 mph / 80 km/h before being replaced. A remarkable level of control still exists, even wîth a tyre fully de ated. Optional 21-inch wheels wîth Goodyear run- at EMT tyres are also available, sitting on nine-spoke rims. The inclusion of run- at tyre technology removes the need for spare wheels and a jack, freeing up space in the luggage compartment.
Since the weight of the wheels has a direct impact on ride comfort and driving dynamics, Rolls-Royce has developed a lightweight ceramic core to the wheels to reduce unsprung weight.
Ample power is supplied by a 6.75-litre, naturally aspirated, V12 engine. Developing 453 bhp / 338 kW and 720 Nm / 531 lb ft of torque at 3500 rpm, delivery is smooth and abundant. Furthermore, wîth 75 per cent of engine power available at just 1000 rpm, progress from a standstill is easy and remains so throughout the rev range. The highly ef cient unit uses direct injection and variable valve timing. The engine is mated to a six-speed ZF automatic shift-by-wire gearbox.
The powerful V12 will accelerate the Phantom Drophead Coup to 60 mph in under six seconds and on to a limited top speed of 149 mph / 240 km/h. It stops in equally impressive fashion, using 374 mm / 14.7 in ventilated disc brakes at the front and 370 mm / 14.5 in at the rear. Twin piston alloy callipers at the front and single piston callipers at the rear bring the large-diameter wheels to rest. The braking system incorporates the latest four-channel anti-lock system. Emergency Brake Assist steps in under heavy braking, immediately applying full force in an emergency. At rest, an electromechanical park brake can be applied via a button on the dashboard.
For maximum active safety, the sophisticated braking system is supplemented by an advanced dynamic stability control system that gives outstanding car control in an emergency situation.
Final testing was carried out in several locations around the world. The hot-weather tests took place in the sti ing heat of Death Valley, ÚSA and the Namibian desert, while cold-weather testing was undertaken in the harsh winter conditions of Scandinavia.
Craftsmanship is a hallmark of Rolls-Royce. From the traditional wood and leather workshop skills to the complex welding of the aluminium spaceframe, a 21st century Rolls-Royce is a blend of hand crafted expertise and high-tech materials and techniques.
With more than 350 man-hours invested in each car, not including the time taken to build the engine, nearly right is never acceptable. The maxim of company founder Sir Henry Royce still resonates around Goodwood today: Strive for perfection in everything you do. From day-to-day production cars to the often complex Bespoke requests, Rolls-Royce has a skilled team adept at meeting the challenges of crafting the nest cars for the most discerning customers.
For example, a number of the individual leather pieces used in the Phantom Drophead Coup are larger than those in the Phantom, which makes their selection and usage more dif cult because of naturally occurring blemishes and imperfections. The skill comes in using each hide in such a way that these natural marks are hidden or discarded, minimising waste and resulting in a perfect nish.
Other new materials, such as the teak and brushed steel, bring wîth them their own unique challenges. Wood is a de ning feature of the Phantom Drophead Coup , and the woodshop team can spend up to a month preparing, matching, shaping and nishing each car s set. The teak deck is nished wîth a specially formulated oil blend to ensure a rich, natural, longer-lasting lustre. Its use on the Phantom Drophead Coup is unlike any other in the automotive . With the brushed steel, the dif culty lies in getting exactly the same look to each of the parts the grille, the bonnet and the A-pillar. After a great deal of research and testing, machine-brushing nished by hand-polishing was deemed the best way of achieving a uniform grain.
Craftsmanship can be found throughout the Phantom Drophead Coup , from the largest, most visible parts down to the smallest, unseen detail. By constructing each car wîth the same enthusiasm and passion wîth which it was designed, Rolls-Royce ensures that each one will offer a unique motoring experience, both to its owners and to all those who will travel in it.Source - Rolls-Royce
The Rolls-Royce Phantom'Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it.'
Sir Henry Royce
The Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Chief Engineer and Founder gave us these words over 100 years ago, and they remain the cornerstone of the company philosophy.
When the new Phantom was unveiled in January 2003, it marked a renaissance for arguably the most famous name in the automotive world; a name that has become synonymous wîth excellence.
'Project Rolls-Royce' began on 28 July 1998, when BMW Group became custodian of the marque. The new Phantom is the result of an intense four-year design and engineering programme that not only produced an entirely new motor car, but also established a new company and a new manufacturing plant at Goodwood in the South of England. At the time, it was described as 'the last great adventure in motoring'.
DESIGN'Whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble.'
Sir Henry Royce
The Rolls-Royce Phantom is not about achieving a single superlative - the biggest, the fastest, and the most powerful. Rather, it is about finding the optimum balance of all these attributes and more. With a Rolls-Royce, superlatives are found in the details. New thinking and attention to detail can be seen in a number of areas of the Phantom - the coach doors designed to make entry and exit as graceful as possible, a retractable Spirit of Ecstasy that hides away at the touch of a button, the Teflon-coated umbrellas housed in the rear doors and the interlinked RR wheel centres, engineered to remain upright at all times.
Authenticity is the key element. Ian Cameron, Chief Designer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, explains: 'Our absolute priority was to create a motor car that is clearly a Rolls-Royce even when the radiator grille is not in view. More than this, the new car has to stand apart from all others on the road.'
Authentic design elements, such as a long bonnet and wheelbase, short front and long rear overhang, strong C-pillar and discreet rear window, run throughout the Phantom, combining wîth 21st century engineering integrity to create a car wîth genuine presence.
Generous interior proportions and the elevated position of the electrically operated front seats give a sense of authority. Rear passengers are seated 18 mm (0.7 in) higher than those in front, allowing an uninterrupted view of the Spirit of Ecstasy. Sat alongside the C-pillar, behind the rear side glass and well behind a conventional saloon arrangement, rear occupants enjoy an unrivalled sense of privacy and security.
The size of the motor car is a balance between design and engineering considerations. For example, the requirement for a prominent seating position and substantial interior space determined the wheelbase, floor height, width and standing height, which in turn determined the axle position and wheel size. As a result, the new car's wheelbase is 3570 mm (140.6 in) while the overall length is 5834 mm (229.7 in). It is 1632 mm (64.3 in) tall and 1990 mm (78.3 in) wide. The 460 litre/16.2 cu ft (DIN) boot is large enough to take four sets of golf clubs wîth ease.
The rear interior compartment is unique in every respect. Taking a fundamental step back, the design team started out by asking a simple question: 'What is the best way to get into and out of the rear of a motor car?'
The answer was coach doors, hinged at the rear, which allow passengers to enter and exit wîth decorum. Once they are seated, the door can be closed automatically simply by pressing a small button on the C-post. And because they allow the passengers to sit further back in the body of the car, coach doors also provide improved side impact protection. So much so that the Phantom has no need for rear side airbags.
Each C-post contains a panelled quarter mirror which, from within, appears to be a continuation of the side window, but offers a degree of privacy without having to resort to darkened windows or curtains. And when both front and rear doors are open, they form a protective barrier around a passenger entering or leaving the car.
The coach doors house another surprise feature. Within each rear door is an umbrella which is released at the touch of a button. After use, it can be stored even when wet: special drainage channels are incorporated into the coach door, and the umbrella material is coated wîth Teflon to ensure that it will not rot.
Inside, the design called for an open, almost flat, rear floor to allow passengers to move easily from one side of the car to the other - to exit the car at the kerb side, for example - and to create an inviting ambience. Maximum rear headroom was also a priority, wîth a figure of 979 mm (38.5 in) achieved.
The rear seats are available in two different configurations: lounge and theatre. Lounge seats have room for three passengers and are distinctly curved at their outer sides. With no lateral separation, this seating arrangement allows rear passengers to turn easily towards each other on a journey, making it easier to converse and enjoy an intimate environment. The theatre seating concept provides twin individual seats separated by a centre console that can house personal entertainment equipment, a drinks cabinet or other bespoke items.
All the doors and the boot lid have automatic soft closing which ensures they are securely fastened without the need for them to be slammed shut.
'Rolls-Royce supremacy is the reward of superlative design and meticulous care in manufacture.'
Rolls-Royce sales brochure, 1928
As expected from a Rolls-Royce, the interior features the finest materials found in any car. Two types of leather finishes are used - a natural grain hide for seating and a textured 'tipped' leather for door panniers and centre consoles. Naturally, it is the softest used in the automobile .
Deep-pile carpets are covered wîth sumptuous lambswool rugs, while metal surfaces have either a high-polish Sterling finish, such as the air vents, 'organ stops' and lighting consoles, or a satin finish, which is used on the door-handle surrounds and §teering column stalks. The headlining is of a wool and cashmere blend, providing a light and airy contrast to the leather surface of the central roof console.
No fewer than six different veneers are available for the woodwork: Figured Mahogany from West Africa, Burr Walnut, Birdseye Maple and Black Tulip from North America, and Oak Burr and Elm Cluster from Europe.
The switchgear displays a modern interpretation of the traditional Rolls-Royce principles of simplicity and clarity. Great care has been taken to balance the need to access a large number of functions without increasing complexity.
As a result, the major controls will be recognisable to long-standing Rolls-Royce owners, wîth iconic 'organ stops' still used to control the flow of air to the face-level vents. These have been joined by 'violin keys', similar in shape to the tuning heads on a violin, for minor switchgear.
A column-mounted, electronically controlled gear selection lever is retained, while a slim, leather-covered, three-spoke §teering wheel incorporates controls for the telephone, audio and navigation systems, as well as a button that allows the driver to access a 'low' mode for the gearbox.
Ahead of the driver is an instrument cluster comprised of three black-faced circular dials. A central speedometer is flanked by a split gauge for fuel level and water temperature, and a unique power reserve gauge which communicates the 'adequacy' of available power - for example, at 100 mph, the engine has 75 per cent of its total power capability left.
A notable innovation appears in the centre of the dashboard. A veneered panel housing the analogue clock swivels to reveal a monitor for vehicle settings, satellite navigation, on-board television and the telephone system. A controller, discreetly stowed in the centre console when not required, allows the driver to access these various specialist functions.
Starting point for the sophisticated ventilation system was to minimise the intrusive effect of direct forceful airflow, by providing indirect airflow for greater comfort. The circular air conditioning and heating controls are familiar items, controlling the six temperature zone interior wîth individual fan control for all four quarters of the cabin. Complementing a conventional heated rear window, the front side windows of the Phantom are heated for effective, noiseless demisting.
Light fittings, which can be found in the front and centre roof consoles and in the C-posts, are art-deco inspired; there are two reading lights in the front and twin reading lights for each side in the rear. Ambient interior lighting for night-time driving is provided by LEDs in the roof, while a brighter 'boulevard' setting allows rear passengers to see each other - or be seen - without distracting the driver.
'There is no evidence of an engine power ... until that power is required. Then it comes in a volume and wîth a fluency that is almost incredible, having regard to any sign of sensible effort in its delivery.'
Rolls-Royce Phantom II brochure, 1929
A Rolls-Royce is often perceived as the perfect chauffeur-driven car, where the primary concern is for the comfort of the rear passengers. But Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has a fundamental understanding of how the Phantom will be used, and the truth is rather different. While there will be occasions when an owner would prefer to enjoy his or her Phantom from the rear compartment, many owners will spend considerable time driving themselves.
Central to the design, therefore, has been the concept of relaxed control. This can be seen in the elevated driving position, the effortless operation of the controls and the refined performance of the engine.
A 6.75-litre V12 built to a Rolls-Royce specification by BMW, the engine offers ample power and huge reserves of torque, combined wîth exceptional fuel economy: headline figures include the 5.7 seconds that see it sprint from 0-60 mph (0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds) and the 25.7 mpg (11.0 ltr/100 km) it returns over the EÚ extra urban fuel economy cycle.
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that the Phantom can cover 44 metres (144 ft) in just 4.0 seconds from a standing start. It's a figure many sports cars would be hard pressed to match. Top speed has been limited to 149 mph (240 km/h).
Maximum power is 453 bhp (338 kW) wîth peak torque of 720 Nm (531 lb ft) reached at 3,500 rpm. More significantly, 75 per cent of that torque is available from 1,000 rpm, making the power delivery seem effortless.
This refined engine performance does much to give the Phantom its 'waftability', a Rolls-Royce trademark that can be traced back to the turn of the last century. In 1907, a writer from the British motoring magazine Autocar described riding in the Rolls-Royce 40/50 hp as '... the feeling of being wafted through the countryside'. Engineers at Rolls-Royce quickly coined the term 'waftability' to encapsulate that sensation.
Waftability is achieved in many ways. Effortless acceleration from low engine speeds is one. Near silence of operation is another. A cosseting ride is a given, as is the refinement and comfort of the interior.
But waftability can also be found in the lines of the motor car itself: standing still, the Phantom looks ready to glide off. It's in the natural operation of the controls and in the minimum demands placed on the driver. The feeling can even be found in the masterly view from the driver's seat, over the long bonnet and front wings to the Spirit of Ecstasy and beyond.
Ergonomic features include a large-diameter §teering wheel combining traditional Rolls-Royce cues wîth modern technology: in use it has the lightness and tactility of a precision instrument. The thin-rimmed wheel is wrapped in leather wîth a hidden joint to make it more comfortable to the touch and automatically tilts away when the electronic ignition key is removed to ease entry and exit. The engine is started and stopped via a push button mounted within the ignition panel.
Double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension combine to give the driver stress-free access to the Phantom's full performance potential without compromising exceptional ride comfort. The rack and pinion §teering gives delightful feel through the wheel and the perfectly balanced chassis, wîth 50/50 weight distribution, ensures precise handling wîth excellent feedback of road and driving behaviour.
Naturally, for a Rolls-Royce motor car, such performance is matched by extraordinary tranquillity. Even at speed, the V12 engine emits no more than a distant hum. At idle, it is virtually silent. Engineered into the motor car is a dual-note exhaust: at low engine speeds, a valve in the system closes to increase back pressure and reduce the exhaust note to a whisper for understated arrivals and departures.
Combined wîth the synchronised wheel centres, which ensure that the interlinked RR badges on all four wheels are always in an upright position, the silence makes the Rolls-Royce Phantom appear to be gliding rather than driving away.
'Strive for perfection in everything you do.'
Sir Henry Royce
Adopting a fundamental rather than an incremental approach to designing a new motor car, the Rolls-Royce Phantom benefits from the application of innovative technology, most notably in its aluminium space frame structure. As well as being far lighter than a steel shell of an equivalent size, it is significantly more rigid, to the benefit of both handling and ride comfort.
Since the space frame is fully structural, the outer panels are simply fastened to the frame itself. Most of these, including the bonnet and rear wings are made from lightweight aluminium, or composite materials; only the boot lid is made of steel to aid weight distribution.
The vehicle package concept brings wîth it other bonus features and allows the use of coach doors as well as a double floor, providing an area for essential services without intruding into passenger space. In addition, the extra rigidity provides the highest levels of comfort and quietness as well as exceptional passive safety attributes.
Drive is to the rear wheels via a 'shift-by-wire', six-speed automatic transmission tuned to match the characteristics of the V12 engine. Electronic control means that, in normal use, the Phantom starts off in second gear wîth early up-shifts and late down-shifts.
However, by engaging the kickdown switch, which is integrated into the throttle pedal assembly, the car will set off in first and the full performance of the engine will be released. Similarly, engaging kickdown on the move allows later up-shifts and more immediate response. The gearbox incorporates a 'low' mode, suitable for steep mountain descents.
Mounted well ahead of the passenger compartment for optimum sound insulation, the engine itself is one of the most advanced in the world. Remarkably compact, the all-aluminium unit has four valves per cylinder, 48 in all, twin overhead camshafts per cylinder bank, four in all, and a long intake manifold for optimum low-end torque. It features direct fuel injection, fully variable valve lift control and variable valve timing.
Considering the size and performance potential of the Phantom, fuel economy is exceptional: over the EÚ extra urban cycle the Phantom returns 25.7 mpg (11.0 ltr/100 km) wîth a combined figure of 17.8 mpg (15.9 ltr/100 km). The fuel tank has a capacity of 22 imperial gallons (100 litres).
The huge wheels and tyres have been specially developed for the Rolls-Royce Phantom: it is the first car in the world to feature the advanced PAX run-flat tyre system from Michelin as standard. The 21-inch aluminium wheel option, shod wîth Goodyear tyres, illustrates a more sporting side to the Phantom's character.
Massive brakes - 374 mm (14.7 in) ventilated discs at the front and 370 mm (14.5 in) ventilated discs at the rear - bring peace of mind, as does the fact that the Phantom has passed all current and anticipated crash-test requirements.
Not only does its aluminium space frame bring significant benefits in occupant safety, but the Phantom also features a raft of passive restraint systems, including the Intelligent Safety Integration System (ISIS), which uses a decentralised optical network of sensors to permit intelligent triggering of the airbags. Dual-stage front bags are complemented by door-mounted side airbags in the front and window airbags running the length of the interior.
Sir Henry Royce
A Rolls-Royce motor car never has, and never will be, mass-produced. More than 260 man hours go into each Rolls-Royce Phantom, wîth many of the traditional features - such as the coach lines and exquisite cabinetry - still completed by hand.
The Phantom is, however, a 21st century motor car and the finest craftsmanship is augmented by advanced technical solutions: the result is a marriage of traditional skills and modern machinery, of human endeavour and technological achievement.
But there is no substitute for human involvement. A five-axis CNC milling machine might give the dimensional accuracy required for the interior trim, but it cannot ensure the veneer grains and patterns are aesthetically matched. Only the trained human eye and the sensitivity of human finger tips can ensure the highest quality hides and finest veneers are used in the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Hand-crafting also allows much greater scope to satisfy individual customer demands. Such is the choice of colours, textures, veneers and equipment that it is highly unlikely that two identical Rolls-Royce Phantoms will ever be produced, unless deliberately commissioned, of course.
'The quality remains long after the price is forgotten.'
Sir Henry Royce
For nearly 100 years, Rolls-Royce has been the icon of motor engineering and design. The name has entered the language as the expression of perfection in a range of endeavours far beyond the motor .
The new Rolls-Royce Phantom is entirely in keeping wîth that long and illustrious heritage yet, at the same time, is totally contemporary. It reflects the timeless values of quality, distinction and authority, combining the best of the past wîth the best modern design, engineering and technology to re-interpret the character of Rolls-Royce in the 21st century.Source - Rolls-Royce
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|2010 Rolls-Royce models|
|Rolls-Royce Phantom Bespoke LWB|
|Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe|
|Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe 60th Anniversary Special Edition|
|Similarly Sized Vehicles from 2010|
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|Other models by Rolls-Royce|
|2009 Phantom||2011 Phantom 102EX Experimental Electric||2011 Bespoke Phantom Drophead Coupe|