It's billed as the most silent car in the world, and earlier today we got the chance to jump inside and get a private, one-on-one preview of the eighth iteration of Rolls-Royce's most iconic model - the Phantom.
While it's (not unexpectedly) really just a penthouse apartment on wheels, the Phantom VIII features a number of updates that really capture the direction of the British marque, incorporating classic style with the latest modern technology to create a luxury car that's as much a piece of art as it is an icon.
“From its debut in 1925, a Rolls-Royce Phantom has been the choice of the world’s most influential and powerful men and women, and as a result, a constant presence at history’s most defining moments. As this next chapter in the Rolls-Royce story opens, the New Phantom points the way forward for the global luxury industry. It is a creation of great beauty and power, a dominant symbol of wealth and human achievement. It is an icon and an artwork that embraces the personal desires of each of our individual customers.”
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
New additions such as "The Embrace," a phrase Rolls-Royce has coined to describe the process of entering the car, set the New Phantom apart and help create the kind of experience only customers willing to put together a bespoke package from the Goodwood factory are willing to pay for - "As the patron settles in to the car, an assistant or valet steps forward and lightly touches the sensor on the door handle so it whispers closed of its own accord, enveloping the occupant in 'The Embrace.'"
Once inside, the car not only features heated seats but heated front door armrests, a heated front centre console lid, a heated lower C-Pillar, heated rear side armrests with all individual seats, and a heated rear centre armrest. Lavish is most certainly an understatement.
After heating your loins and extremities to a comfortable temperature, you can now experience what the British marque refers to as "The Gallery." Rolls-Royce describes this as such - "The Gallery is an unprecedented new concept in luxury. Reinterpreting the motor car’s dashboard for the first time in 100 years, patrons will be able to commission a truly individual work of art that spans the width of The Gallery in their New Phantom."
But it's not all experiential updates, with the Phantom VIII featuring all-new aluminium spaceframe architecture designed by Rolls-Royce engineers that will underpin every future Roller beginning with the New Phantom, aptly named the "Architecture of Luxury." This innovation will allow the Goodwood factory to streamline in-house production into a lighter spaceframe that features 30% more rigidity than the previous Phantom VII, also ensuring no future Rolls-Royce will be manufactured with monocoque construction.
While we didn't get to actually drive it (the New Phantom is powered by an updated 6.75-litre twin turbo-charged V12) being a pre-production model, there's no doubting the innovation in luxury that the BMW-owned automaker strives for, both functional and experiential, and it's one we can't wait to get behind the wheel of should the opportunity arise.
Set for it's Australian launch at the end of September, expect deliveries of the New Phantom to hit our shores at some point in 2018, but stay tuned for more updates. If you can't wait until then, check out our chat with Michael Bryden, Rolls-Royce's lead in-house bespoke designer, here.
Many thanks to Kristian Dewsnap and the team at Rolls-Royce Melbourne for facilitating this private viewing, along with Hal Serudin and the rest of Rolls-Royce Asia-Pacific.