New Rolls-Royce Phantom: The most technologically advanced Rolls ever is revealed in London
Rolls-Royce doesn’t release very models very often, so when it does, they’re pretty incredible. Today in London, Rolls-Royce unveiled the latest version of its flagship Phantom model, and it’s the most advanced, ambitious car the brand from Goodwood has ever made.
From the front, the new Phantom looks pretty forceful, and thanks to seamless panels, an abundance of chrome and somewhat slick lines, it’s classic and brutal at the same time. As you’d expect from a Rolls-Royce, the front of the car is dominated by a grand but integrated grille, and the square styling of the car makes it look like a slab of luxury hovering above the road’s surface. Look closer, however, and you’ll see that while it’s still unmistakably a Rolls-Royce, it’s still an extremely advanced car.
The new Phantom’s squinty new headlights are ultra-bright thanks to LED technology, and a closer look at the grille reveals a camera used for several of the car’s autonomous functions.
On the inside, the new Rolls-Royce Phantom takes things further. Among all the stitched leather and wood, there’s also an exciting new feature for car interior design. Instead of a dashboard filled with an infotainment screen, air-conditioning and a glovebox, Rolls-Royce has created a glass-covered space that can be completely customised by the owner. Called the Gallery, it should appeal to people who really want to make their Phantom different – and don’t have the money to collaborate on a one-off model like the Sweptail.
At the launch event today, Rolls-Royce unveiled two or three gallery designs, including a pattern produced using an algorithm created in 24-karat gold. Yes, it’s ridiculous, but for customers who have no real budget for these things, it’s a good way of helping them stamp their own identity – or their brand – onto the car.
When you do want information, though, the Rolls-Royce also features a 12.3in TFT screen that eases out of the dashboard, displaying the satnav, media information and more. As for the other in-car tech, it’s relatively hard to say. Rolls-Royce has said the new Phantom features a Wi-Fi hotspot – which isn’t exactly groundbreaking – along with “the latest navigation and entertainment systems”. IT also says the Phantom includes a groundbreaking head-up display, although I didn’t get to see it in action.
And there’s also a host of technology onboard that you can’t see, too. For example, the new Phantom’s “Magic Carpet Ride” self-levelling air suspension uses body and wheel acceleration data along with steering inputs – but this time features new Flagbearer tech, too. This system uses images from a stereo camera system integrated in the windscreen to see the road ahead, adjusting the suspension proactively at speeds of up to 100km/h to maintain the best ride possible.
Although the Phantom might not be for performance – after all, going fast isn’t as graceful as gliding – it still features a somewhat ridiculous engine: Rolls-Royce has shoehorned a 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 powerplant into its new car, and it’s capable of producing 563bhp. However, it’s not tuned for speed. Instead, the Phantom’s powerplant is built to deliver most of its power at the lower end, keeping noise down, but still providing enough torque to “push-on” without any fuss.
The Phantom’s V12 is connected to a 8 Speed gearbox which uses Satellite Aided Transmission to make driving more effortless. Simply put, it’s a gearbox that uses satellite navigation data to change gear in advance of bends or junctions – making the driving experience even smoother.
Even though most of the Phantom’s owners will be driven, the new Rolls-Royce also features a range of technology to help the chaffeur out, too. Rolls-Royce says the new Phantom features an Alertness Assistant, Night Vision and Vision Assist designed to improve driving at night. Active Cruise Control is also included, along with all the usual pre-emptive safety features such as pedestrian and cross-traffic warnings, too.