By Matt Degen
It's hard to envision an automobile more extravagant than the 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom. When it comes to spare-no-expense production vehicles, this massive British luxury car ranks among the world's elite. Perched on top of the global automotive pyramid, Rolls-Royce vehicles are exclusive to begin with, and the Phantom is the brand's costliest. At $400,000 and up, these vehicles are nearly twice the median price of a new home. The Phantom was introduced in 2003 and has been revised for 2013 with sleeker looks, more technology and a new name: The Phantom Series II. The handmade vehicle is available as a 4- or 5-seat sedan, a 4-seat coupe and a 4-seat convertible. For those who want to travel even larger, there is the Extended Wheelbase version of the sedan.
Want to show the world that you have enormous wealth and a craving for the most comfortable means of motoring? Driving or – more likely – being chauffeured in a Rolls-Royce Phantom is all the statement you need.
The 2013 Phantom is an enormous vehicle to pilot, and not the most rewarding one at that, especially in sedan form. In that regard, the smaller and less-expensive Rolls-Royce Ghost is sleeker and has a more powerful engine.
For 2013, the Rolls-Royce Phantom receives minor exterior changes that include a sleeker fascia with LED headlamps, upgraded technology with a larger center display and navigation software, and an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission.
Driving Impressions The Rolls-Royce Phantom is among the few cars in which you're just as likely to find the owner in the rear seat as the driver's seat. Whether the person piloting...this immense vehicle is the owner or a hired hand, he or she will be treated to an extremely hushed, comfortable ride. Serenity is the adjective of choice here. With a stated zero-to-60-mph time of under 6 seconds, the Phantom's massive V12 engine easily hustles the equally enormous car with aplomb, but speed is not the objective here. Even with the steering wheel's "S" button engaged to stiffen the suspension and adjust the throttle response, the 2013 Phantom feels more phantom than devil – which is the whole point.
Entering or exiting the rear seat of the Rolls-Royce Phantom sedan is an elegant affair thanks to rear-hinged doors that open wide. In sedans the rear passenger doors close automatically with the touch of a button, while coupes and convertibles allow driver and passenger a similarly grand entrance – or exit – with rear-hinged doors.
RETRACTING HOOD ORNAMENT
There are a lot of classy things about a Rolls-Royce Phantom, but among the nicest touches is the famed Spirit of Ecstasy ornament that flies over every hood. These are valuable commodities to be sure, so when the car is not in use the ornament can be automatically retracted, which just looks slick.
The interior of the Rolls-Royce Phantom is elegant but surprisingly simple, with an emphasis on leather and wood vs. tech gizmos. Instead of being festooned with myriad buttons, knobs and switches, the Rolls takes a minimalist approach, even with the new iDrive-like system from corporate owner BMW that allows the driver to control navigation, radio and other functions with a rotary dial and planetary buttons. When not in use, the whole setup hides out of sight. Other aspects of the Phantom have also caught up to modern times and include an 8.8-inch color screen, a multi-camera system that presents a virtual bird's-eye view of the car when reversing, and a USB port.Exterior
The Rolls-Royce Phantom is, in a word, enormous. Even the "smallest" versions, the coupe and convertible, are more than 18 feet long, or about 4 feet longer than a Honda Civic. The 2013 Phantom sedan is even larger at over 19 feet, while the Extended Wheelbase version takes the cake at just under 20 feet in length, making it a proverbial "land yacht." That seafaring analogy isn't far off. Phantom models boast plenty of wooden parts mixed with metal, and the convertible (dubbed "Drophead Coupe") is inspired by J-class yachts of the 1930s and stands out with a massive rear teak deck that impresses with the top down.
Like other Rolls-Royce cars, 2013 Phantom models are often bespoke, meaning they are ordered with custom features to suit a buyer's taste. What all owners can expect are an 8.8-inch color display that can hide behind the dash, a LOGIC7 Surround Sound system by Harman, and a central control module to command infotainment features. With the 2013 revision, Rolls-Royce Phantoms now offer full LED headlights as standard, while a multi-camera system gives drivers a virtual bird's-eye view of the car when in reverse. Lambswool carpet and the finest of leather further coddle passengers.
With a bespoke Rolls-Royce Phantom, what you order is pretty much limited to your imagination. Some popular configurations include a two-tone paint scheme, a variety of 21-inch wheels, a gold-plated Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, the Dynamic Package for a sportier ride, and a glovebox that contains a humidor or pen set. Headliner options include leather or cashmere so you can literally have only the best above your head. A theater configuration allows rear-seat passengers to watch TV or DVDs on twin 12-inch screens that fold into the backs of the front seats.
2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom models are rear-wheel drive and powered by a big, naturally-aspirated V12 engine. Not long ago, Rolls-Royce would merely say that power was "adequate" to move its massive cars. Nowadays the British automaker doesn't mind backing up that assertion with data: The Phantom sedan can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds, while the coupe and convertible models can do it in 5.6 seconds. A "power reserve" gauge shows the car using just 10 percent of available power while cruising at 70 mph. Sedan and convertible Phantoms are electronically-limited to a top speed of 149 mph, and coupes go up to 155 mph. All models use a new, 8-speed ZF automatic transmission.
453 horsepower @ 5,350 rpm
531 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/18 mpg
The Rolls-Royce Phantom is in rarified territory as an ultra-luxury, hand-built car. Its price is correspondingly stratospheric. A 2013 Phantom Sedan starts at just over $400,000 before options, and the Extended Wheelbase version starts at over $470,000. A coupe model starts at over $430,000, while a convertible, like the EWB, starts at over $470,000. At these prices, the 2013 Phantom is pretty much king of the luxury hill. Even a Bentley Continental is roughly half the price. We expect the Phantom's resale value to be marginal, with the value easily dropping by $150,000 or more within a few years.
By Bob (CA) on Monday, August 29, 2011
I want this caroverall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "See my review above"
Cons: "The absolute fascination with a black exterior and interior!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Most people that have rated this car here have never even sat in a Rolls-Royce. I own a Rolls-Royce. A Rolls-Royce is expensive to purchase and expensive to properly maintain, BUT when the vault-like door shuts after you have settled into your seat you have entered another dimension in motoring - a world apart from all those other folks driving around you. Quiet, soft sounds, a world of everything working correctly. Just shifting into drive is a pleasure as you are merely moving an electric switch while soundlessly a little electric motor actually shifts the gears. Yup, the Phantom is worth the money if you truly enjoy driving or being driven in true style and absolute comfort"
27 people out of 29 found this review helpful
By Big Ben (NY) on Monday, August 15, 2011
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,400overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have a maseratti and a range rover and I do not drive them anymore since buying this amazing piece of luxury machery."
15 people out of 21 found this review helpful