From the moment Sir Henry Royce introduced the Rolls-Royce Phantom in 1925 it was judged ‘The Best Car in the World’ by the cognoscenti.
Nearly a Century of Luxury Innovation
Every new Phantom that has subsequently appeared has successfully retained the title of ‘Best Car in the World’ as a result of Rolls-Royce’s tireless pursuit of perfection, visionary engineering, aesthetic acuity and deep understanding of what the world’s leading luxury item should be. Quite simply, Rolls-Royce has innovated for almost a century to set the benchmark and satisfy the most discerning luxury patrons.
Contemporary Design Interpretation of the Rolls-Royce DNA
A new benchmark is set as the New Phantom – the eighth generation of this great nameplate – arrived. Not satisfied with simply launching a motor car that is a wholly contemporary design interpretation of Phantom DNA and a technological tour de force, Rolls-Royce has revolutionised the luxury car industry itself by shifting away from the status quo of shared platforms to an entirely new luxury business model.
As the next chapter in the Rolls-Royce story opens, the New Rolls-Royce Phantom points the way forward for the global luxury industry.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, Chairman of Rolls-Royce and Member of the Board of the BMW Group said, “The global introduction of a new Rolls-Royce is always a very special moment within the BMW Group. This particular occasion is all the more special because we are introducing an all-new Phantom, the flagship of the Rolls-Royce brand and the world’s foremost luxury product. New Phantom is a powerful statement of design, engineering and Bespoke expertise and I am delighted with the response we have received from our many highly discerning customers worldwide. The BMW Group remains fully committed to the future of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and is proud of the many achievements made by the brand since its acquisition.”
“A truly elegant, contemporary motorcar, quintessentially Rolls-Royce in its design essence and true to the DNA of the brand, but with a decidedly modern edge. Once again, Rolls-Royce impresses with its timeless appeal, graceful lines, artistic sensibilities and technological prowess.” said Angela Tunner, Editor in Chief, luxury curator and Publisher of EAT LOVE SAVOR international luxury lifestyle magazine.
The Genesis of the New Phantom, Dedicated ‘Architecture of Luxury’
Quite contrary to how other so-called luxury manufacturers are trying to realise economies of scale by sharing platforms with mass market manufacturers, Rolls-Royce concluded that the future of true luxury lies in true small-volume manufacture of a dedicated ‘Architecture of Luxury’.
“This realisation was a moment of clarity about the destiny of Rolls-Royce,” reflects Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Every one of our customers – each a connoisseur of luxury in the extreme – were asking for something more individual to them, not less. We were adamant that that was what they should have.”
“Key to Rolls-Royce realising its vision of being the world’s leading luxury brand, today and in the future, is an architecture that spans the entire Rolls-Royce family,” comments Philip Koehn, Director of Engineering. “The Architecture of Luxury will carry every future Rolls-Royce, not just the New Phantom. Project Cullinan and eventually the next Ghost, Wraith, Dawn will ride on this architecture, as well as future coachbuild projects.”
“Phantom VII’s spaceframe architecture was a good starting point and inspiration, but we wanted to do much more,” adds Giles Taylor, Director of Design. “The Architecture of Luxury gives me the canvas to protect the lineage and brand integrity of Rolls-Royce without compromise. Starting with New Phantom, I have the framework to create a future range of true Rolls-Royces. In essence, this is one big coachbuild project.”
“Our approach has been to forge long-term relationships with smaller suppliers run by families that will focus on us, giving us much more attention and therefore results that live within a quality expectation far beyond any other automotive concern,” continues Koehn. “For a brand to operate in such a manner within a larger automotive group is unheard of and truly revolutionary.”
What is the Architecture of Luxury?
The Architecture of Luxury is an all-aluminium spaceframe architecture designed by Rolls-Royce engineers that will underpin every future Rolls-Royce beginning with the New Phantom. As such, no future Rolls-Royce will be of monocoque construction as used by mass-manufacturers and some mass-luxury brands.
It is a truly revolutionary approach for the motor industry, and one that is informed by Rolls-Royce’s standing as a luxury house in the business of cars. Whilst the majority of so-called luxury manufacturers are limited to sharing individual platforms in a specific sector with mass brands for say their SUV or GT offerings, thereby introducing unacceptable compromise, Rolls-Royce will be uncompromising in only using its own architecture across all its motor cars, whatever the sector.
Uncompromising Design, Delivering that Quintessential Rolls-Royce Experience
It has been designed and engineered from the ground up in such a way as to be scalable to the size and weight requirements of different future Rolls-Royce models, including those with different propulsion, traction and control systems, thus underpinning the long-term future product roadmap.
Approximately 30 per cent more rigid than the spaceframe architecture on which sat Phantom VII, the new architecture is at the heart of how the next generation of Rolls-Royces delivers the Rolls-Royce experience in terms of ride comfort, acoustic comfort, seat comfort, exterior presence and interior space.
The New Phantom will be the first of a new generation of Rolls-Royces to benefit from the creation of the Architecture of Luxury. This new architecture serves as the foundation on which this eighth generation of Phantom reaffirms its position as ‘The Best Car in the World’ by taking the best fundamentals and making them better.
Rolls-Royce’s celebrated Magic Carpet Ride also improves as a result of the new lighter architecture, and the latest generation of self-levelling air suspension. The suspension makes millions of calculations every second as it continuously varies the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system – reacting to body and wheel acceleration, steering inputs and camera information. In addition, the Flagbearer – evocative of those men who were required by law to carry a red flag ahead of early motor cars – adds a stereo camera system integrated in the windscreen to see the road ahead, adjusting suspension proactively rather than reactively up to 100km/h.
The Most Silent Motor Car in the World
Incalculable effort was expended to create ‘the most silent motor car in the world’ including 6mm two-layer glazing all around the car, more than 130kg of sound insulation, the largest ever cast aluminium joints in a body-in-white for better sound insulation, and use of high absorption materials.
Acoustic insulation from road noise has been helped by the employment of double skin alloy on areas within the floor and bulkhead of the spaceframe. This is a feature unique to New Phantom. Further noise insulation by inserting dense foam and felt layers are between these skins to provide sound insulation not witnessed before in the car industry.
The Heart of a Rolls-Royce – the Magnificent V12 Reinvented
At the heart of every Rolls-Royce of the modern period lies the power of a V12 engine. At the beginning of this next chapter of Rolls-Royce’s existence, and with the creation of the Architecture of Luxury, the New Phantom also benefits from a completely new engine.
With the focus on creating the most silent motor car in the world, a completely silent engine was also required, and that meant more low-end output at lower revs to ensure that silence. Hence a completely new, 6.75-litre V12 powertrain has been engineered for New Phantom, in place of the previous naturally aspirated V12 engine.
The Most Technologically Advanced Rolls-Royce Ever
Another benchmark, the Electronic Architecture of the New Phantom is the largest ever component produced by the BMW Group, let alone Rolls-Royce, helping to make New Phantom the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce ever.
This central nervous system connects and controls all the various advanced intelligence systems of New Phantom, making it the most advanced luxury motor car available. Some, but not all, assistance systems on-board New Phantom include: Alertness Assistant, a 4-camera system with Panoramic View, all-round visibility including helicopter view, Night Vision and Vision Assist, Active Cruise Control, collision warning, pedestrian warning, cross-traffic warning, lane departure and lane change warning, an industry leading 7×3 high-resolution head-up display, WiFi hotspot, and of course the latest navigation and entertainment systems.
New Phantom – A Contemporary Design Masterpiece
“Phantom is the epitome of effortless style, an historical nameplate that occupies a rarefied space in the luxury constellation and conjures a rare magic all of its own. New Phantom raises a glass to an illustrious design legacy whilst forging a modern and revitalised presence for the next era of Rolls-Royce design.”
Giles Taylor, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
The first Rolls-Royce to be built on the new Architecture of Luxury, the New Phantom is a wholly new and contemporary interpretation of the Phantom DNA, delivering new levels of iconic presence and an increased elegance of line suggesting both poise and stability at speed and an unrushed Grand Arrival.
On first glance the New Phantom is remarkable in its purity. Thanks to the new Architecture of Luxury and new engineering processes, the precision body joining process ensures there are few, if any, visible join lines between body panels, giving New Phantom the appearance of being hewn from a solid block of aluminium. It is truly a triumph of design and engineering departments working hand in hand to create a beautiful masterpiece.
Its opening gesture immediately demonstrates a radical contemporisation of Phantom, through the reimagining of the Pantheon grille at the heart of the design. The strong portrait grille is raised higher than that of Phantom VII today, also resulting in a positioning of the Spirit of Ecstasy approximately a half inch higher. It is redolent of the futuristic design first hinted at on the grille of VISION NEXT 100 – codename 103EX last year, but also influenced by the James Young-era Silver Cloud.
However, unlike 103EX and all previous Phantoms, New Phantom’s grille is for the first time integrated into the surrounding bodywork. The resulting effect is a cleaner, reduced design with modernity and clarity, allowing all New Phantom’s lines to connect with this iconic statement of power and flow from it.
Hand-polished stainless steel also envelops the first touchpoints of New Phantom – the handles on the iconic coach doors. Unlike the trend for insubstantial fared in handles, Rolls-Royce understands that the substance of a Rolls-Royce door handle is key to the owners every day physical experience of their motor car, and the feel of this beautiful material under the hand is highly satisfying to them.
The final visual expression of Phantom is its wheels, which of course conform to the golden mean of Rolls-Royce design proportion. Essential to providing the sensation of flight on land, the largest high-value alloy wheel ever employed on a Rolls-Royce is offered. At 22-inches, the diameter when shod in Rolls-Royce’s Seal Technology Tyres’ delivers a Magic Carpet Ride never experienced in a Rolls-Royce before.
Phantom: The World’s Leading Luxury Item
Stepping aboard the New Phantom is an occasion in itself. The coach doors stand open. The only choice is whether one drives or is driven. As the patron settles into the car, an assistant or valet steps forward and lightly touches the sensor on the door handle. The door automatically whispers closed of its own accord, enveloping the occupant in ‘The Embrace’ of the World’s Leading Luxury Item.
Fundamental to the rear occupant’s experience and enjoyment of their New Phantom is this ‘Embrace’. It re-defines Rolls-Royce comfort and refinement – already the benchmark for any carmaker – to create a detoxifying environment whilst cocooning the occupant in the finest of materials, whilst all four doors are enhanced with this new technology to enfold the occupant. The rear and now front doors can also be effortlessly closed from the inside.
‘The Embrace’ is the vision of Giles Taylor, inspired by his creation of 103EX. He has taken great strides towards evoking the spirit of 103EX with the futuristic interior design of the New Phantom, where nothing detracts from calmness and tranquillity in this particular sanctuary. Technology is hidden until required, spaces and surfaces are clean, and the eye rests only on beauty as if in an art gallery.
Cleverly secreted behind the wood panelling on the rear of the front seats are the Rear Picnic tables and Rear Theatre Monitors, which are electrically deployed and retracted at the effortless touch of a button, ensuring an uncompromised theatre experience. Rolls-Royce’s customary attention to detail even dictates that the seat controls are repositioned from the centre armrest to a more intuitive position for the user.Phantom patrons will be able to commission different seating choices best suited to their requirements. Choices include the more intimate lounge seat, individual seats with occasional armrest, individual seats with fixed centre console and the newly introduced sleeping seat.
The Art of Movement
“Art is at the heart of the conception of the New Phantom’s interior,” comments Taylor. “As an interest, we know that a huge number of our clients are patrons of art and indeed have their own private collections. Art is a binding factor for many of them.”
This binding factor was what inspired Taylor to radically reinterpret the motor cars’ dashboard from being a dead expanse into a riveting focal point. “I wanted to take a motoring constant that has existed for a century, but served little purpose but to hide airbags and componentry, and give it another purpose, space to breathe,” comments Taylor.
The Gallery’ – an Unprecedented New Concept in Luxury
At the heart of the New Phantom’s wholly modern design aesthetic is ‘The Gallery’, a wholly contemporary and luxury reinterpretation of a motor car’s dashboard and instrument panel area.
While the character of the monolithic, upright dashboard pays contemporary homage to Rolls-Royce models of the past, with one clean, symmetrical surface, the main fascia veneer takes the eye from the lower centre up and outwards to create a sense of width.
All of the elements within ‘The Gallery’ are enclosed in an uninterrupted swathe of toughened glass that runs the full width of the dash area. Within it, the instrument digital dials are framed with chrome, adding a degree of jewellery and continuity throughout the front of the interior.
The Architecture of Luxury, ‘The Gallery’, The Embrace, The Art of Movement, the best possible materials in the world and peerless Rolls-Royce design and engineering; the New Rolls-Royce Phantom resets the benchmark not only as ‘the Best Car in the World’, but as the world’s leading luxury item. As the next chapter in Rolls-Royce’s story opens, the New Rolls-Royce Phantom points the way forward for the global luxury industry.