Rolls-Royce Phantom review - Engines, performance and drive

Superb ride quality, a hushed, luxurious cabin and a near silent V12 powerhouse make the Phantom driving experience unique

The Rolls-Royce Phantom was engineered to offer the most comfortable and refined driving experience of any car on sale. As a result of this focus, the Phantom’s greatest strength is a superb level of refinement and comfort, which best complements a somewhat stately driving style.

On top of the usual on-board sensors that allow the suspension to independently correct the dampers to deal with road imperfections, the Phantom deploys a camera system called Flagbearer that can ‘read’ the road surface ahead at speeds of up to 60mph. It pre-sets the dampers to optimise efficiency over bumps, before the car even meets them.

Meanwhile, the Phantom’s passengers are cossetted in a whisper-quiet cabin that offers truly remarkable refinement, thanks to a substantial increase in sound-deadening material. The specially developed tyres have foam inside them to reduce road roar and the engine is barely audible, too. 

Given the superlative comfort on offer, it’s all the more impressive that the Phantom can display remarkable composure when asked to proceed at speed, even if one could never call it sporty. It feels wieldy though, in spite of its size. Excellent body control, impressive grip from the front tyres and the unique ‘finger-tip’ feel of the big steering wheel rim mean the driver can place the Phantom confidently when driving with verve on more challenging roads. 

Performance is mighty yet effortless, with no need to rev the engine to access a fabulous whoosh of acceleration, while the eight-speed auto transmission changes gears almost imperceptibly to heighten the ‘other-worldliness’ of the Rolls-Royce flagship’s on-road prowess.

Engines

The big 6.75-litre V12 engine under the Phantom’s prominent bonnet is a revised version of the 6.6-litre unit fitted to the smaller Rolls-Royce Ghost. It makes the same 536bhp as in the Ghost, along with a humungous 900Nm of torque delivered from just 1,700rpm. It’s enough to accelerate the Phantom from 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds, though top speed is limited to a very dignified 155mph.

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