Just revealed, the new Phantom VIII succeeds its 2003 predecessor. Here are my initial thoughts on the vehicle:
- The Pantheon grille, now integrated with the rest of the bodywork, remains as majestic as it is potentially harmful for pedestrian safety. The exterior design is otherwise evolutionary, and retains the proportions of the previous Phantom, as well as key design elements such as the coach doors and wide C-pillar that gives rear seat occupants greater privacy.
- The parking sensors are like ugly pimples on the front bumper. In such an expensive, exclusive vehicle, surely there must be a better way to integrate them into the bodywork?
- The multi-spoke wheel design is beautiful and gives a great sense of both the luxury and power inherent to the Phantom.
- The contrasting two-tone paintwork shown in the press images is stunning. It perfectly accentuates the broad C-pillar, muscular haunches and the yacht-like character lines of the exterior.
- The fixed wheel caps (i.e. the Rolls-Royce logo on the wheels remains upright even when the car is moving) are still a unique and genuinely cool feature. I'm surprised that no other manufacturer has copied this feature.
- According to the press release, Rolls-Royce has fitted the new Phantom with laser headlights with a range of 600 metres. It will be interesting to see how these headlamps compare to those in the new Audi A8.
- 'The Gallery' is a great innovation and design element for the dashboard. The super-exclusive luxury market that Rolls Royce caters to is all about customisation. Adding bespoke touches, such as enabling customers to commission their own piece of dashboard art, enhances the level to which the car can be personalised and is another differentiating feature versus competing vehicles (although I can't think of any competitors to the new Phantom).
- Rolls-Royce bills the new Phantom as the quietest car in the world. I wonder how much quieter it would be with an inherently silent electric powertrain? The instant torque available from an electric motor would also be an ideal fit for the driving characteristics customers would expect from this vehicle.
Above: 'The Galley' section of the dashboard which the customer can personalise with their own uniquely commissioned artwork.