Rolls-Royce Phantom (2003–)

Model History

January 2003

Massively imposing, technically advanced, all aluminium 19' 2" Rolls Royce launched January 2003 and built by BMW at Goodwood to appeal to the super rich, heads of state and the movers and shakers of big business. The grille alone successfully counters the threat of the Maybach, and so does the rest of the car. 6' 6" wide and 5' 4" high. Weighs 2.35 tons.

Pulled along by purpose built 6.75 litre V12, 453bhp and 720Nm of torque. Gets to 60 in 5.7 seconds then on to about 150mph. Combined consumption 17.8 mpg, yet cruising at 55 has achieved as much as 29mpg. UK base Price £214,500; Euro price 320.000; US price $320,000 + local taxes, so UK price inc VAT and 1st reg tax = £252,063. Suicide rear doors for more elegant entry to rear seats. Wonderful looking wheels (must be bigger than any other car's) with run-flat tyres to counter attacks on the occupants and RR initials that remain upright to 80mph.

A sublime experience to be driven in. Amazingly quiet at low speeds and accelerates strongly to 130mph. Simple, pleasant top quality interior. Top notch ICE. After the initial shock, the Silver Cloud retro look is now growing on people. This car really does say it's the best car in the World. Voted one of Autocar's top ten cars of 2003. Very pleasant to drive. Extraordinarily masteful, minimalist interior with ugly switches hidden. 2000th car built December 2005. In solid factory black, no other new car in the World has as much presence.

Armoured version of the Phantom announced April 2007. Engineered to VR7 level, the highest current international protection rating, the Phantom Armoured is virtually indistinguishable from the standard version, inside and out. The car features high-tech fibre composites and special purpose steel to provide protection for the bodywork, while the glazed area is constructed from sheets of thickened glass. In addition, a polycarbonate layer is fitted to the inside for extra passenger protection. The Phantom’s aluminium spaceframe chassis and suspension components have been strengthened to cope with the additional weight of the modifications. Powertrain remains unchanged, providing 453bhp and 720Nm of torque. As well as ballistic security, the new package has been designed to offer the same luxury, refinement and comfort as the standard Rolls-Royce range.

July 2007

List Price - Phantom £219,975, US$333,350, 328,000

Model year 2008 prices are based on standard models excluding optional extras. All prices are net of local taxes and delivery charges.

UK £224,000

Europe 334,000

US 340,000

Canada $440,000

Middle East $340,800

APAC $337,700

Russia $340,000

Japan Y42,600,000

February 2009

Rolls-Royce announced a product update to the 2009 model year Phantom and Phantom Extended Wheelbase. Harmonising the front appearance of the car with that of the Phantom Drophead Coupé and Phantom Coupé, a new streamlined front bumper has been designed and integrated with a shallower grille, finished in stainless steel. Other new exterior features include LED door handle illumination and the fitting of 21-inch cast aluminium wheels as standard.

Two further wheel options exist, both manufactured in forged alloy and available in either painted or part polished finishes. Inside, rear passengers will benefit from a new RCA component input which provides auxiliary audio and visual connectivity to the 12-inch monitors mounted within the picnic tables. Further features include new front and rear door cappings with integrated grab handles and new bi-directional double reading lights in the C-pillar provide additional illumination. Rear climate control, volume control and electric window switches are now conveniently repositioned, housed in a wood veneer panel in the door. Production at Goodwood from spring 2009.

March 2012

Reflecting the new world in which we live, this pinnacle family of cars – including Phantom Saloon, Phantom Drophead Coupé and Phantom Coupé – have been thoughtfully updated with contemporary yet timeless design enhancements that frame the introduction of cutting-edge technologies which significantly improve the car’s drive-train, ease-of-use and connectivity.

Rolls-Royce Director of Design, Ian Cameron, likens the evolution of Phantom Series II design to a “familiar theme, lit in a different way”. And Phantom’s striking new front-end, with re-styled bumpers and rectangular light apertures, perhaps best encapsulates the essence of the significant changes that lie beneath.

Rolls-Royce is the first to include full LED headlamps as standard on a production car. As well as delivering a characteristic whiter light, augmenting safety and preventing driver tiredness, these allow for the introduction of new technologies that better control lighting.

Curve light functionality, for example, uses electronically-controlled reflectors to focus headlamp beams in the direction of travel, providing greater illumination of the road ahead when cornering. Adaptive headlamps change the cone of light projected onto a road – effortlessly of course – in response to different driving speeds.

Every part of the Phantom experience should be effortless, so new driver assistance technologies and a modern user interface with re-designed multi-media controller have been introduced for Phantom Series II. The new satellite navigation system has been fully updated with functions that include 3D maps with landscape topography, guided tours and enhanced points of interest, as well as composite route planning.

Information, maps and video content are presented on Phantom’s larger 8.8 inch control centre display, a feature underlined by eight programmable bookmarks presenting access to key functions at a driver’s fingertips. Front, rear and top-view camera systems further augment ease of manoeuvring. When reverse parking, for example, rear path prediction automatically deploys on the screen.

The word waftability has long been part of the Rolls-Royce lexicon, with models past and present being renowned for their magnificent ride experience. Phantom Series II reinforces the company’s reputation for both.

A new 8-speed automatic gearbox and rear differential enhance already exemplary driving dynamics perfectly complementing the V12 direct injection engine. Fuel consumption improves by 10 per cent on the combined cycle and emissions fall from 388 to 347 g/km as a consequence.

What does a Rolls-Royce Phantom (2003) cost?