Ranking as the sixth-generation Phantom, the $300,000-plus ultraluxury sedan holds a 453-horsepower, 6.8-liter V-12. Aluminum space-frame construction makes the sedan the lightest Rolls-Royce structure ever. Changes for 2007 are minor; they include a new auxiliary audio jack for MP3 players and several new exterior and interior colors.
Though it's no lightweight at more than 5,500 pounds, Rolls-Royce says the Phantom can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Both regular- and long-wheelbase versions are offered.
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.
Both 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.
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 matte-like 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 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. 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, 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 objects while parking. A navigation system is standard. Rear passengers can also enjoy handcrafted folding tables and an available video system.
The extended-wheelbase model is 10 inches longer than the regular Phantom. For an extra $52,150 — about the price of a Lexus GS 430 — the extra space goes to provide limo-like accommodations for backseat passengers, with nearly 50 inches of rear legroom.
Under the Hood
The Phantom's 6.8-liter V-12 generates 453 hp and 531 pounds-feet of torque. The V-12 teams with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Door-mounted side-impact airbags are installed for front-seat occupants, and side curtain airbags protect front and rear outboard occupants.