Completely redesigned, the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce ever created debuted yesterday in London. Boasting new architecture, a new powertrain, more evocative styling and a high level of opulence, the 2018 Phantom VIII sets new benchmarks for the prestige automaker.

While maintaining the fundamental character of its predecessor, this recast flagship sedan embodies what Giles Taylor, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars calls “a wholly new and contemporary interpretation of the Phantom DNA, delivering new levels of iconic presence and an increased elegance of line.” It starts with a rethink of the signature Pantheon grille that now sits higher in the fascia. Smartly integrated into the surrounding bodywork, it’s flanked by powerful laser headlamps that can cast a beam nearly 2,000 feet down the road.

Although retaining classic 2:1 proportions with short-front/long-rear overhangs, the Phantom VIII’s bodywork displays a more dynamic profile that’s set off with hand-polished stainless steel accent elements. It resolves into a tastefully tapered tail that Taylor notes recalls the flair of Phantoms from the 1950s-60s. Finishing the look is a set of 21-inch or 22-inch alloy wheels wrapped in bespoke Rolls-Royce Silent Seal Technology Tires that incorporate an inner foam layer to reduce road noise.

Driving towards the future

Underpinning the Phantom VIII in both standard and extended-wheelbase models is an all-new aluminum-intensive spaceframe that will subsequently be used by all upcoming Rolls-Royce models including the new Cullinan SUV. Formally dubbed “The Architecture of Luxury,” it’s significantly lighter and 30-percent stiffer than the previous Phantom’s core structure. Paired with a new air suspension system that features adaptive damping and roll stabilization plus 4-wheel steering and a state-of-the-art chassis control package, the latest Phantom promises to deliver a superior form of R-R’s “Magic Carpet Ride” as well as more precise handling. 

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Motivation for the Phantom VIII comes from a new 6.75-liter twin-turbo V12 that replaces the previous like-sized, naturally aspirated engine. Spun from the 6.6-liter used in other current Rolls models, it develops the same 563 horsepower but a stouter 664 lb-ft of torque at just 1,700 rpm, sufficient to let the 2018 Phantom hit 60 mph in just over 5.0 seconds and reach an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. This new V12 sends power to the rear wheels via a ZF 8-speed automatic augmented by Satellite Aided Transmission tech that can “read” the road ahead to better select the proper gear for any given driving condition.

Adding art to the equation

The central focus of the new Phantom VIII is its strikingly designed cabin that blends classic elegance with a host of modern touches. Highlighting the mix is a dramatic take on the dash that Rolls calls “The Gallery.” Featuring a full-width panel faced with toughened glass that’s teamed with wood veneer, it matches digital instruments and a 12.3-inch TFT panel with a mini art installation that transforms what was formerly “dead space” into a stunning graphic element. Beyond various artists Rolls has commissioned to develop Gallery images, Phantom buyers also can work through the automaker’s Bespoke Commission to request a custom piece by their favorite designer.

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Other bits of high-lux features include everything from redesigned seats that offer greater comfort, support and personalization, the automaker’s largest-ever Starlight Headliner plus electrically deployable rear picnic tables and theater monitors to self-closing doors, a wider range of heated touch surfaces, thicker glass and a record 287 pounds of sound-attenuation material to also ensure this is the quietest Rolls-Royce ever. In keeping with its status, the Phantom VIII boasts an advanced electronic architecture to better support a comprehensive array of driver assists, navigation/entertainment systems, a head-up display, on-board Wi-Fi and more.

Order books for the new 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII are now open and the delivery of the first U.S. cars will start early next year. While final pricing has not yet been released, it’s expected to open somewhere between $450,000-$475,000 for a standard-wheelbase car and somewhere beyond $500,000 for an extended-wheelbase version. 

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