With typical British understatement, the Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II made its debut in Geneva. Largely unchanged since it arrived on the scene in 2003, the super-lux sedan gets only subtle visual changes, but a number of mechanical enhancements improve its functionality and fuel efficiency. Those same modifications also apply to its two-door Phantom Coupé and Drophead Coupé cohorts.
Although hard to spot at a casual glance, the Phantom's lower front fascia has been mildly recast. However, the biggest change involves its new LED headlamps. In addition to featuring an industry-first standard of using those ultra-bright elements for both high and low beams, these distinctive lighting units also incorporate corner-following adaptive technology and change their intensity in response to vehicle speed.
While the Phantom's existing 6.75-liter/435-horsepower V12 engine carries over unchanged, it's now backed by a new eight-speed automatic transmission in place of the old six-speed unit and sends power to the rear wheels via a new and improved differential -- changes Rolls says are good for a 10-percent bump in mpg and a commensurate drop in CO2. Inside, the Series II Phantom family boasts improved 3D satellite mapping as well as a gaggle of view-enhancing cameras to help when maneuvering these classic cruisers in tighter confines.