Rolls-Royce’s Phantom Series II subtly overhauls a most subtle car – Robb Report

No automotive nameplate has such a grand heritage as the Rolls-Royce Phantom. The Phantom has always been the crowning achievement of its creator, a model which, since the very first Phantom I in 1925, represents the not ultra luxury cars. Eight generations later, the Phantom VIII continues the same tradition of bespoke excellence. Full-size, fully-loaded and at a hefty price tag, the Phantom is one of the most emphatic statements that an individual has “arrived” in more ways than one.

Rolls-Royce reinvented itself with the new Phantom VII in 2003, a car received with much fanfare by seasoned owners and a whole new generation of American buyers when it hit American shores in 2004. It was replaced by the Phantom VIII in 2017, looking ‘similar from a distance’, but on an all-new aluminum platform that set the stage for every Rolls-Royce to follow.

Now, with the new Phantom Series II, the Phantom VIII enters the second phase of its life. According to Torsten Müller-Ötvös, managing director of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, the Series II, presented this morning, is the “new expression” of the ultimate Rolls-Royce model. The revised design reflects feedback from owners who requested visual and cosmetic upgrades, but with a “light touch” that would preserve the Phantom VIII’s commanding presence.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom II series.

Rolls-Royce motor cars.

Most immediately apparent is the polished new horizontal line connecting the daytime running lights above the classic Pantheon grille, which is now illuminated. Subtle changes to the grille design also make the ‘RR’ badging and Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament more visible, lest there be any question as to the nature of the beast.

The new Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II.

Exterior trim and the now-illuminated Pantheon grille are available in dark chrome.

Rolls-Royce motor cars.

Like precious jewels, the headlights feature intricate laser-cut starlights, shimmering like the Starlight Headliner that spans the roof of the interior and evokes a miniature midnight galaxy overhead. Overall, the car’s silhouette retains the formal proportions of every Phantom from the start, emphasizing short front and long rear overhangs, with a long wheelbase between the of them. Meanwhile, the high shoulder line and wide C-pillar provide privacy for rear-seat occupants.

The interior of the Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II.

The Phantom II Series Starlight headliner extends across the roof of the interior, evoking a miniature midnight galaxy overhead.

Rolls-Royce motor cars.

The new wheels make another fashion statement and are available in a 3D milled stainless steel design or a sleek disc design. The latter refers to the very first Phantom wheel and is available in polished stainless steel or black lacquer. In response to customer requests, the grille and exterior trim are now available in dark chrome. The interior, which features a thicker steering wheel, remains almost unchanged. A note about that long wheelbase: it can be even longer in the Phantom Extended, the preferred choice for owners wanting to be chauffeur driven. Imagine that.

A close up of the elegant Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II wheel disc design which references that found on the very first Phantom.

The disc design of this Series II wheel references that of the very first Phantom.

Rolls-Royce motor cars.

Aimed at today’s Rolls-Royce buyers – a younger, tech-savvy crowd – the new Phantom features Rolls-Royce Connected, which communicates with Whispers, an app for private Rolls-Royce members only. This preloads navigation instructions and displays the car’s location, security status and other vitals at the touch of a button when the owner is away from the vehicle.

Above all, the latest and most opulent Rolls-Royce was the perfect ‘canvas’ for the marque’s Bespoke division, which handles orders from customers who demand a truly unique Phantom. The Phantom Platino, a singular masterpiece named after the platinum element, expresses the capabilities and ingenuity of the Bespoke department. The two-tone silver-white car features an interior that uses fabrics as well as traditional leather.

The unique Rolls-Royce Phantom Platino.

The unique Phantom Platino expresses the capabilities and ingenuity of the British brand’s Bespoke department.

Rolls-Royce motor cars.

In days gone by, when Rolls-Royce owners asked coachbuilders to create unique bodywork for a Phantom chassis, the driver’s seat was given a durable leather upholstery, while the luxurious cabin was usually finished in wool, silk or other opulent fabric. Recently, Rolls-Royce has explored alternatives to leather, from hand-painted silk to shiny bamboo fibers.

A look inside the unique Rolls-Royce Phantom Platino.

Sumptuous fabrics and traditional leather take center stage in the interior of the Phantom Platino.

Rolls-Royce motor cars.

Always present is the Phantom’s Gallery, the glazed expanse on the dashboard that can hold custom artwork of the customer’s choice. Altogether, the Phantom Series II continues the tradition of supreme luxury that inspired the prestigious publication Coach to call Rolls-Royce the “best car in the world” in 1907, an observation perhaps no less relevant today.

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