Ranking as the sixth-generation Phantom, the ultra-luxury sedan holds a 453-horsepower, 6.8-liter V-12, which is actually a variant of the V-8 in BMW's 7 Series. Aluminum space-frame construction makes the sedan the lightest structure ever used by Rolls-Royce. Though it's no lightweight at 5,577 pounds, Rolls-Royce says the Phantom can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds.
All mechanical components, painted body panels and onboard technology are created in Germany under BMW auspices. These items are then sent to southern England for final assembly and personalization of the sedan's interior.
The vast space allotted for passenger privacy in the backseat and the rear-hinged back doors are reminiscent of the past. Those "suicide doors" permit easier access to the rear compartment and can be closed at the touch of a button so occupants need not suffer the indignity of a wet arm if it happens to be raining. Michelin-developed PAX run-flat tires can go at least 100 miles uninflated at a speed of 50 mph. Little has changed for 2005.
Like so many Rolls-Royce sedans before it, the Phantom has a long hood with a short front overhang and long rear overhang. The traditional-style upright grille appears to be one of the largest ever; it's made of slim vertical bars and has a mattelike finish. Deep-set rectangular headlights sit above large round fog lamps.
At the touch of a button, the "Spirit of Ecstasy" hood ornament folds down electrically into the body. Self-leveling air springs are used at each corner. Synchronized wheel centers keep the Rolls-Royce badges on all four wheels upright at all times. The Phantom measures 229.7 inches long overall, rides a 140.6-inch wheelbase and stretches 78.3 inches wide. The standard wheels measure 21 inches in diameter.
Lush and generous are the bywords for the Phantom's standard five-occupant interior; four-occupant seating with rear bucket seats is available. To aid in safety, privacy and social interaction, the backseat occupants sit well back in lounge-shaped seats alongside the C-pillars rather than next to the doors. Umbrellas stow in each reverse-opening rear door.
Front and rear park-distance sensors trigger warnings when the Phantom approaches another vehicle while parking. A navigation system is standard. Rear passengers also enjoy handcrafted folding picnic tables and an available DVD-based video system.
Under the Hood
Developed by BMW, the 6.8-liter V-12 generates 453 hp at 5,350 rpm and 531 pounds-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm. The six-speed-automatic transmission uses shift-by-wire technology.
Door-mounted side-impact airbags are installed for front-seat occupants, and side curtain-type airbags protect front and rear outboard occupants.