|2012 Phantom Dragon Collection||2012 Phantom|
Image credits: © Rolls-Royce.
2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom news, pictures, and information
For the preceding five years, under BMW Group ownership and in the absence of publicity, designers, engineers and skilled production staff had overseen the birth of a flagship Rolls-Royce motor car and state-of-the-art production facility on the Goodwood Estate in Southern England. Without parallel in the car , the achievement was all the more astonishing for a brand which shouldered the weight of historic ups (and occasional downs) and for which expectations for the future were rightly high.
From launch, the Rolls-Royce Phantom proved itself a worthy recipient of the famous Spirit of Ecstasy figurine. From Pantheon grille to long rear overhang, the design was clearly a Rolls-Royce. Every angle revealed a bold yet elegant car wîth road presence that was second to none.
For such an imposing car, Phantom surprised drivers wîth its agility and precision in motion while its ride was described by the company at the time as 'designed to lower the pulse'. The magnificently sublime ride, famed through model generations, had returned and waftability re-affirmed itself in the company lexicon.
At the car's core lay a ground-breaking, lightweight aluminium space-frame wîth power supplied by a sophisticated, direct-injection V12 engine, married to a six-speed auto gearbox. And complementing this excellence in engineering was Phantom's beautiful interior, presenting hand-stitched sumptuous leathers, fine veneers and exquisite detailing, a combination that marked the car as something uniquely special.
New Phantom variants were added, starting wîth Phantom Extended Wheelbase in 2005. In 2007, Phantom Drophead Coupé revealed the ultimate in luxurious open-top motoring, while Phantom Coupé, Rolls-Royce's sophisticated grand tourer, joined the family in 2008. All were warmly received.
A new world - Phantom Series II in summaryToday, Rolls-Royce presents Phantom Series II, a family of pinnacle cars that have been thoughtfully updated wîth the introduction of cutting-edge technology, enhancements to an already peerless drive-train and improvements in connectivity that reflect the changing world in which we live.
Rolls-Royce Phantom's striking and modern front end best encapsulates the essence of changes that lie beneath, wîth re-styled bumpers and rectangular light apertures that frame full-LED light clusters. These allow the integration of new technologies like curve light functionality, where headlamp beams are reflected in the direction of travel to provide greater illumination of the road ahead when cornering. And adaptive headlamps, where light patterns change automatically and - of course - effortlessly in response to different driving speeds.
Phantom's already sublime drive-train has also been enhanced. The addition of a new 8-speed automatic gearbox and rear differential perfectly complement the V12 direct injection engine, improving exemplary dynamics, as well as the famous Rolls-Royce promise of a magic carpet ride. Fuel consumption improves by 10 percent on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions fall from 385 to 347g/km as a consequence (388 to 349 for Phantom Extended Wheelbase).
Effortless is a word that perhaps best epitomises the Phantom experience, both for drivers and their passengers. So an improved user interface, as well as the addition of new driver assistance technologies, have been built on the foundation of a new electronics' platform for Phantom Series II. The satellite navigation system, for example, has been fully updated wîth functions that include 3D map display wîth landscape topography, guided tours, as well as enhanced points of interest and composite route planning.
Audio visual content, satellite navigation maps and driver information is presented on Phantom's new 8.8 inch control centre display, underlined by eight programmable bookmarks in chrome for optimum convenience in selecting key functions. Front, rear and top-view camera systems, further augment Phantom's ease of use particularly when driving in tight urban environments. When reverse parking for example, rear path prediction automatically deploys on-screen.
These significant changes add further substance to a reputation Phantom has proudly built since launch of the signature Rolls-Royce back in 2003. It is a new world. But it's a world in which the Rolls-Royce Phantom family will occupy a pinnacle position for many years to come.
'We should think of Phantom design as a piece of popular, classical music. Over time this has the possibility of different interpretations without losing the essential melody that we know so well.' Ian Cameron - Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Director of Design
Like a piece of inspirational music, the Rolls-Royce Phantom continues to delight an audience. Familiar melodies - classic design cues that can be traced through the model generations - are brought to life by an orchestra of craftspeople working at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, where attention to the finest detail delights in every car.
Familiar themes begin wîth the famous Spirit of Ecstasy, proudly adorning each model's Pantheon grille leaning into the wind wîth fluttering gown, while in side profile all Phantom family members present a long rear over-hang and classic two-to-one wheel to body height.
The thin-rimmed §teering-wheel is reminiscent of elegantly engineered multifunction helms of the Phantom II and III, while further cues in the form of bulls-eye air vents and organ-stop plungers further hint at past masterpieces.
But 21st Century design cues also delight owners, as well as those for whom a glimpse of a Rolls-Royce is a rare moment to be treasured. The interlocked double-R Rolls-Royce monogram in the hubcaps, for example, which remain upright at all times. And coach doors wîth soft close function, which house Teflon-coated umbrellas to provide the grandest form of disembarkation from any motor car, whatever the weather.
Nearly ten years from launch, the design team responsible for creating a modern masterpiece remain at Rolls-Royce. And for Director of Design Ian Cameron, updating a 21st Century classic would start wîth one priority: a harmonious, timeless design to embrace state-of-the-art technological improvements.
The new, modern front-end for Phantom Series II, perhaps best exemplifies changes that are more than skin deep. Recessed behind new rectangular light apertures and re-designed front bumpers are fully LED light clusters. The signature is an elegant and dramatic bar, capturing the simple elegance of a continuously lit element, a feature complementing Rolls-Royce tail light design. For balance and proportion, this is integrated horizontally across the centre of Phantom's four-compartment headlamp.
Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé and Drophead Coupé now come wîth a single piece grille surround, presenting a smoother, more contemporary front end that arch into sculpted front wings, while Phantom saloon features a new rear bumper incorporating a polished stainless steel highlight.
Rolls-Royce Phantom Saloon and Extended Wheelbase wear a new front wing R-R badge wîth repeat indicator while three new wheel options, including painted, part-polished and polished, add to the range of 21' wheels, the largest fitted as standard to any production car.
'The result is thoroughly modern, yet embraces those traditional design cues. It's a familiar design, but it's lit in a different way.' - Ian Cameron
Simplicity of design and the very finest materials contribute to the timeless architecture of any Phantom, where touch points are exclusively wood, chrome and leather and where feet can easily be lost in deep, lambswool rugs.
Arguably the best place to experience Phantom's luxury is from the rear seat of Phantom Saloon where passengers - elevated by 18 mm - are presented wîth an inspirational view down the long sweep of the bonnet and onto the Spirit of Ecstasy. A reduction in the number of seat flutes in front and rear, from five to three, gives a more modern complement to the car's sumptuous natural grain leather and flutes are also added to Drophead Coupé and Coupé seats for Phantom Series II.
An oasis of calm, Rolls-Royce interiors are the perfect environment in which to relax and unwind in welcoming silence. But they can also be a centre for entertainment. Phantom Saloon's theatre configuration adds two monitors within veneered picnic tables for rear seat passengers which are linked to a multi-media player, mounted in a compartment at the rear of the centre console. The inclusion of AV connectors, a six-DVD changer housed in the lower glove box and ÚSB port in the centre console, means occupants can view separate content wherever they may be seated, front or rear.
The LOGIC7 surround sound system by Harman can create a truly cinematic experience on any journey. Seven individual sound signals are processed specifically for the car and its interior conditions using a combination of speakers that include subwoofers housed within resonance chambers in the space created by Phantom's double floor. A nine-channel amplifier delivers supreme clarity, clearly placing musical instruments, sound effects and dialogue at different depths giving the impression of sitting in row one or 20 of a concert.
At the touch of a button, Phantom's elegant analogue clock flips to reveal a new control centre display. The screen has increased in size from 6.5 to 8.8 inches wîth enhanced pixel density providing a more refined image, as well as split-menu display for more intuitive access to different functions.
A stylish new chrome controller, discreetly hidden within the centre console and rear-centre arm rests when not in use, is flanked by function keys such as menu, telephone and navigation to allow easier access to infotainment functions.
Eight functional bookmarks are now included beneath the monitor. These can be programmed to present desired information at the touch of a chrome key, for example the preferred orientation for satellite navigation maps, to present favourite television channels, pre-set radio stations or to access Phantom's telephone menu.
All Rolls-Royce Phantom family cars now benefit from improved interfaces and interaction wîth wireless technology. Finding a restaurant, booking a table, then being guided to its location, for example, comes courtesy of the improved functionality and inter-connectivity of Phantom's new satellite navigation system. Further enhancements to navigation functions include guided tours: at the Home of Rolls-Royce, which is situated next to the historic town of Chichester in England, drivers may choose to select a 45 minute tour taking in Roman Britain.
For Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II the telephone cradle has been replaced by a standard fit smart phone cradle which connects directly into the car antennae. The centre recess now also includes ÚSB, Aux-in and 12V power sockets. Additionally, music can be copied directly onto the car's hard-drive, thanks to the addition of a ÚSB port in the glove compartment.
'Lit in a different way' - new LED light technology
Rolls-Royce has a long history of technological firsts and is now the first car manufacturer to offer full LED headlamps as standard for Phantom models. As well as drawing less power from the engine, the characteristic whiter light provides a clearer view of the road ahead, helping prevent tiredness for drivers during long journeys on dark roads.
New light clusters comprise four compartments surrounded and finished wîth a polished, stainless steel bezel. Continuously lit, an elegant bar runs through the centre forming Phantom's LED daytime running lamps. LEDS in the top two pockets form dipped lights while full beam illuminates LEDs in the lower two. A separate, rectangular indicator strip sits below the headlamps.
LEDs present the opportunity for technologies that better manage the way light is projected, including curve light functionality and adaptive headlamps. The first uses electronically-controlled reflectors in upper and lower headlamp pockets, to improve the sweep of illumination when cornering. More of the road in the direction of travel can be seen as reflectors rotate by up to 15° in direct response to §teering wheel turns.
Adaptive headlamps automatically change beam patterns according to driving conditions. Light is dispersed more widely for driving speeds below 50km/h to enable better views of cyclists and pedestrians. Between 50 and 120km/h the light cone extends and is skewed towards the near side to reveal potential hazards on a driver's side of the road, while for motorway driving at speeds in excess of 120km/h, the beam has a longer range and is more intense. Where windscreen wipers have been operating for more than two minutes in poor weather, dipped beams are automatically illuminated.
The convenient activation of headlight adaption is a further benefit, now being accessed directly via the rotary controller, rather than a switch located under the bonnet. This allows headlight settings to be switched between right-hand and left-hand drive markets, for example when driving from the ÚK to France, increasing comfort for those used to crossing borders.
|Engine : 6.8 L., 12-cylinder|
Power: 453 hp
Torque: 531 ft-lbs
These combine to present a fish-eye view at blind junctions or to provide ground images wîth obstacle recognition and reverse path prediction when parking This automatically deploys on the control centre display when reverse gear is selected and highlights the optimum reversing trajectory as well as the location of obstacles, helping prevent scuffs and alloy damage preserving the high value of a client's investment - and the inherent beauty of the car.
Additionally, all Phantom models carry six buttons that sit either side of the centre console's functional bookmarks; the button to the furthest on the right takes drivers immediately to a split image revealing objects at either side at the front of the car.
Originally conceived by the Rolls-Royce engineering team, an advanced aluminium spaceframe retains its position at Phantom's core, serving as the foundation for the car's extraordinary driving prowess. Strong, lightweight and as rigid as a Formula 1 car, the spaceframe has been further reinforced, wîth the addition of brace bars that enable a dynamic package to be offered as an option for Phantom Saloon for the first time.
Epitomising the Rolls-Royce marriage of cutting-edge technology wîth fine craftsmanship, each spaceframe is entirely hand-welded, then finished as if it were a precision instrument. Every morning, skilled welders perform a 300mm test to check for atmospheric effects on the material wîth which they will work. More than 200 box sections of cast aluminium extrusion are then formed to create the frame, which is checked for accuracy to within a millimetre by laser. Finally, the largest computer-guided machining platform in the auto sets to work on the complete structure, milling critical points wîth pinpoint precision.
Precision might also be the best word to describe the manner in which Phantom drivers place their cars through corners. But, of course, handling cannot come at the expense of the famous Rolls-Royce magic carpet ride. Fortunately, thanks to its double insulated floor, the spaceframe only augments inner tranquillity helping eliminate noise, vibration and harshness.
Its inherent safety benefits are also enhanced by other systems controlled by Phantom's ISIS (Intelligent Safety and Information System). This takes readings from sensors located throughout the car and, in the event of an impact, makes up to 4,000 calculations a second to establish its severity, deploying safety systems as necessary. These include intelligent braking and restraint systems such as Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control and seat belt pre-tensioners.
Complementing Phantom's reassuring safety features are changes to front door side pockets. These are now slightly smaller, due to the addition of a crash pad, for more even distribution of forces in a 30° side-impact test.
Drive-train and suspension
'For my team this was a question of what we could do to improve a drive-train that we believed was close to perfection, both in terms of its dynamic performance and outstanding ride characteristics,' - Helmut Riedl, Director of Engineering
At its heart, every Phantom family car hosts a hand-assembled, naturally aspirated 6.75 litre V12 engine. This sophisticated direct-injection petrol engine develops 531lb ft of torque (720Nm) more than three quarters of which is available at 1,000 rpm. The torque curve remains largely flat between 1,000 and 3,000 rpm - an important prerequisite for effortless city driving - and moves occupants from 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds and onto an electronically limited top speed of 149mph (155mph for Phantom Coupé) where market conditions allow.
Rolls-Royce Phantom's power reserve gauge is another of those trademark Rolls-Royce design cues that always raises a smile. In operation, it casually reveals the enormous power potential at a driver's disposal should he or she require it. But, in most circumstances, Phantom's performance is simply a matter of seamless, effortless progress.
For Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II, Rolls-Royce has improved the drive-train by incorporating a new 8-speed auto ZF-gearbox for all variants. This is electronically controlled to manage the extraordinary power delivered by the V12 power plant. The longer ratio in the new rear differential compensates shorter ratios in some gears of the new 8-speed gearbox, maintaining the same engine speed to augment 'waftability', while improving fuel economy.
The result is powerful serenity. Effortless gear changes come as a consequence of a better match of gear to engine speed, improving efficiency from power generation to where it is needed at the wheels. Fuel economy improves by 10 percent on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions fall from 385 to 347g/km as a result.
Double-wishbone front suspension complements the drive-train, featuring optimised mounts to minimise vibrations through the §teering wheel, while multi-link rear suspension complete wîth anti-lift and anti-dive technology aids stability under heavy acceleration and braking.
Spring dampeners and anti-roll bars maintain comfort without loss of agility while self-levelling air struts compensate for different loads within the car, making continual adjustments as the weight of fuel decreases, giving drivers the ability to place the car through turns wîth absolute precision and passengers a ride of supreme comfort.
It takes 60 pairs of hands and more than 450 hours to design, construct and craft each Rolls-Royce motor car. At the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood there are around 1,000 employees, including craftspeople working in wood and leather shops, making the world's finest cars. And just two robots in the paint shop to provide a seamless quality of finish. Only the finest materials are used and these are painstakingly prepared so their inherent beauty is displayed to best effect.
Rolls-Royce continues the grand tradition started centuries ago by the coach-building : at least five layers of paint and clear lacquer coating are applied to each Phantom, seven if the car is two-tone. Between each layer technicians sand the body by hand. Following application of a final coat, the body is meticulously hand polished for five hours to achieve the glassy lustre normally associated wîth a grand piano. Through the Bespoke programme, any chosen paint colour can be specified. Initially, this could be chosen by the client through the Phantom iPad App, capturing the colour of a favourite tie or lipstick for example and applying it to their virtual car. In keeping wîth Rolls-Royce traditions single or double coach-lines can also be applied - by hand of course. Each five metre line takes three hours to apply using only the finest squirrel and ox hair brushes.
Wooden features blend the skills of cabinet makers and boat builders wîth modern technology. Depending on specification, up to 43 wooden parts are used in every Phantom, each constructed from up to 28 layers of wood. These are interspersed wîth thin sheets of aluminium for strength and to prevent splintering in an impact. Multiple layers are pressed, bent and hand-finished before craftsmen cut and apply matched veneers, which are subsequently detailed, lacquered, hand polished and highlighted. All veneers come from one log and these are carefully selected and laid out so that the grain detailing is mirrored across the interior of each car.
Inspired by J-class yachts of the 1930s , the beautiful teak-decking in Phantom Drophead Coupé is a fine example of the marriage between Rolls-Royce traditions and the best in engineering. Teak is used because of its hardy properties and resistance to moisture and decay, but special techniques have been developed to preserve the appearance of a fresh, unprocessed finish, the aim being a final deck that closely resembled natural timber. Each deck, comprised of more than 30 wooden pieces, features precisely machined grooves and is protected by a specially formulated blend of oils. As wîth all woods and veneers used by Rolls-Royce, it is sourced by a team of specialists.
Only the finest hand-selected hides from Alpine bulls are used by Rolls-Royce. The healthy environment and open meadows without thorn or barbed wire result in far fewer natural marks. The leather is drum pigmented to allow the durable Rolls-Royce leather to retain its famous soft and supple feel, giving a rich, uniform colour while maintaining the natural feel, softness and grain. Each of the 450 leather parts that comprise an interior is cut by laser before being hand sewn by the artisans in the company's own workshop.
Rolls-Royce customers expect their cars to be as unique as their own fingerprint and the Bespoke service delivers on these high expectations. More than eight in ten Rolls-Royce Phantom models delivered globally to clients in 2011 included some element of bespoke design from individual paint colours, veneer inlays, tread plates and coach lines, to the most flamboyant and individual of whole vehicle designs.
In 2011 for example, Rolls-Royce designed a car for a Middle Eastern customer that incorporated an intricate and beautiful falcon motif within the headrests. Taking 40 hours of embroidery and using 11 different threads, the design featured 21,000 stitches.
Perhaps one of the most delightful and popular of Rolls-Royce bespoke features is the starlight headliner, which integrates more than 1,600 tiny fibre optic lights which are hand-woven into the leather roof lining to create a beautiful starry sky within a Rolls-Royce Phantom Saloon or Phantom Coupé.Source - Rolls-Royce
'TAKE THE BEST THAT EXISTS AND MAKE IT BETTER' PRESENTING THE ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM SERIES IIIn the first half of the 20th century, Sir Henry Royce famously urged his employees to strive for perfection in all that they did – and 'to take the best that exists and make it better'. Today Rolls-Royce Motor Cars continues to embrace the finest principles of its founding father by proudly presenting Phantom Series II at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
Reflecting the new world in which we live, this pinnacle family of cars – including Phantom Saloon, Phantom Drophead Coupé and Phantom Coupé – have been thoughtfully updated wîth contemporary yet timeless design enhancements that frame the introduction of cutting-edge technologies which significantly improve the car's drive-train, ease-of-use and connectivity.
'From launch in 2003, the Rolls-Royce Phantom established itself as the benchmark in automotive luxury, a reputation it has held ever since,' said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. 'These cars are timeless in their appeal, but technology moves rapidly and we cannot afford to stand still.
'Today I am delighted to present Phantom Series II, a family of models that feature significant improvements in design, drive-train and technology. As a consequence of these changes, we will continue to present wîth pride the best motor cars in the world, which re-confirm Rolls-Royce's position at the very pinnacle of the ultra-luxury goods marketplace.'
New LED lighting:
Rolls-Royce Director of Design, Ian Cameron, likens the evolution of Phantom Series II design to a 'familiar theme, lit in a different way'. And Phantom's striking new front-end, wîth re-styled bumpers and rectangular light apertures, perhaps best encapsulates the essence of the significant changes that lie beneath.
Rolls-Royce is the first to include full LED headlamps as standard on a production car. As well as delivering a characteristic whiter light, augmenting safety and preventing driver tiredness, these allow for the introduction of new technologies that better control lighting.
Curve light functionality, for example, uses electronically-controlled reflectors to focus headlamp beams in the direction of travel, providing greater illumination of the road ahead when cornering. Adaptive headlamps change the cone of light projected onto a road – effortlessly of course – in response to different driving speeds.
Effortless as standard
Every part of the Phantom experience should be effortless, so new driver assistance technologies and a modern user interface wîth re-designed multi-media controller have been introduced for Phantom Series II. The new satellite navigation system has been fully updated wîth functions that include 3D maps wîth landscape topography, guided tours and enhanced points of interest, as well as composite route planning.
Waftability and sublime ride
The word waftability has long been part of the Rolls-Royce lexicon, wîth models past and present being renowned for their magnificent ride experience. Phantom Series II reinforces the company's reputation for both.
A new 8-speed automatic gearbox and rear differential enhance already exemplary driving dynamics perfectly complementing the V12 direct injection engine. Fuel consumption improves by 10 per cent on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions fall from 388 to 347 g/km as a consequence.
Rolls-Royce Phantom Series I was launched on 1 January 2003, following a five-year development phase, under new ownership of the BMW Group. In addition to bringing a flagship Rolls-Royce to life, the company also built its state-of-the-art headquarters and production site on the historic Goodwood estate, in the heart of the English countryside. This unprecedented achievement was all the more impressive for a brand that shouldered a weight of expectation that came wîth the famous Rolls-Royce name and Spirit of Ecstasy as its mascot of excellence.
In 2005, Rolls-Royce launched Extended Wheelbase to complement Phantom Saloon. This was followed by the launch of unforgettable open-top motoring courtesy of Phantom Drophead Coupé in 2007 and the ultimate grand tourer – Phantom Coupé – which was launched in 2008.
New family members have added to Phantom's considerable appeal and position as a luxury good without equal.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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