2015 Rolls Royce Phantom Series 2 Review

What happens when you put ordinary people in the finest car ever built?
Imthishan Giado

Rolls Royce Phantom Series 2

Apologies right off the bat: this is not going to be a ordinary review of the Rolls Royce Phantom Series II.

What’s the point anyway? It’s the best car in the world. Full stop. If you disagree, you simply have not driven enough cars to know better, and I pity you. The only thing better than five minutes in the back seat of a Rolls Royce Phantom is ten minutes in the back seat with Emma Stone.

So no, this will not be an ordinary review, concerning itself with the exterior, interior and how it drives. Of course it drives like a big barge, a car that feels as imposing and planted as a Range Rover. It is the only car on the planet which no one will ever flash out of the way in the fast lane of Sheikh Zayed Road.

Rolls Royce Phantom Series 2

What’s it like to drive?

You don’t hustle a RR; you pilot it gently, with delicate movements of your wrist on that wonderful thin-rimmed wheel. You don’t accelerate; you build speed, the sensation akin to a great cruise liner, a vast engine humming away in some far hinterland providing limitless thrust till the stars go out.

So I wanted to ask ordinary people, real people what they thought of the new Phantom. To most, it is exactly the same; the new headlights and updated interior don’t even register. All that road-testy stuff doesn’t matter. People don’t care about the headlights on a Rolls Royce because you’ve just asked them to sit in a Rolls Royce.

Rolls Royce Phantom Series 2 

The reaction is always the same: hushed, reverence, like they’re entering a church. You know how people are so quiet in religious place and sort of shuffle about as discreetly as possible? That’s how it is with the Phantom. They insert themselves into the car as gingerly as possible, trying not to mark the exquisite leather with their unworthy backsides.

With other cars, people play with the gadgets. With the Rolls, the experience is tactile. People poke, push and prod every trim piece. “Is this real wood?” they ask, over and over again. Not to say that there aren’t gadgets. The real anoraks know about the hidden button that mechanically closes the rear doors with a soft but decisive thud. Everyone loves the vanishing Spirit of Ecstasy that disappears into the hood at the press of a fob.

What’s the best bit?

But you can’t beat the umbrellas. Those umbrellas! Man, I wish I could explain why people love the umbrellas hidden in the doors so much. Without doubt, it is absolutely the No.1 surprise-and-delight feature for any visitor. Maybe they’re all dreaming of being chauffeurs to Angelina Jolie one day; they’d open the door, unfurl the umbrella in one fluid motion and protect Ma’am Jolie from the gentle drizzle outside her London flat.

Paradoxically, it’s the absence of something that draws attention on the road. People don’t realise how much road noise gets into their cars till they take a drive in a Phantom. Suddenly the silence is everywhere, a stultifying menace, an all-encompassing that chokes and leadens the air. You are keenly aware of every rustle, every thudding tap on your smartphone.

Quiet as a tomb

Once everyone gets used to the omnipresent hush, an amazing thing happens. People start talking to each other. Not just “how’s your day?” but actual, real conversations. They put away their phones. They stop looking out the window. They turn to each and talk, like they’re on their favourite sofa in their favourite corner of the living room. They forget they are on a noisy highway in a dusty, sandy Arab country. They forget everything and focus on each other.

And any car that can do that must be very special indeed.

Rolls Royce Phantom Series 2

Verdict

To drive a Phantom is to understand what real luxury is about. Wealth doesn’t buy more toys and buttons; it buys you isolation and tranquillity. To own a Phantom is to have your own private island in the Caribbean with a beachside landing strip, while everyone else flies coach to Ibiza, surrounded by screaming babies.

I feel confident saying that no one reading is likely to ever own a Phantom. But if someone ever offers you the chance to ride in one, take it. You’ll understand.

Trust me.

Read about the original 1930s vintage Phantom II here

Specs
2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II
Price: Saloon AED 1.7m ($460k), Coupe AED 1.9m ($515k), Drophead Coupe AED 2m ($545k), EWB saloon AED 2.2m ($600k)
Engine: 6.75-litre, V12, 453bhp @ 5350rpm, 531lb ft @ 3500rpm
Performance: 0-100kph Saloon 5.9, Coupe & Drophead 5.8, EWB 6.1seconds, 240kph(limited), 250kph (limited) for coupe, 14.8L/100km
Transmission: eight-speed auto, rear wheel drive
Weight: Saloon 2560kg, Coupe 2580kg, Drophead 2630kg, EWB 2670kg

 

3 responses to “2015 Rolls Royce Phantom Series 2 Review”

  1. Fraser says:

    Nice piece!

  2. Bruce Mascarenhas says:

    Hey! You guys still owe me a ride in the Rolls – Royce Phantom from my win at the car meet ages ago….I have not forgotten & will not give up on such a prized win.

    Still waiting….
    Bruce.

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