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KING OF LUXURY SALOONS

The Rolls-Royce Phantom Series 8

For as long as I’ve known about cars, and in conversations with people who know a lot about cars there’s always been one brand that always pops up during a conversation that involves the pinnacle of luxury – Rolls Royce. Fair enough there are other brands such as Maybach, which ceased to exist in 2012 due to poor sales, only to return rebranded as Mercedes-Maybach in 2014, which was pretty much based on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. When it comes to comfort, style, and exclusivity, it seems the British automakers take gold every time. There’s one particular model that I’m talking about and that’s the Rolls-Royce Phantom.

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Rolls-Royce Phantom Series VIII

The Rolls-Royce brand is synonymous for building the finest luxury cars and has been building the Phantom Series for the past 92 years – no, that’s not a typo – they’re almost a century old. Now in its 8th Generation, the Rolls-Royce Phantom is still crowned king of the luxury segment with CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös describing the Phantom VIII as ‘a dominant symbol of wealth and human achievement.’ I certainly would not argue because he is speaking pure fact.

Now let us talk about the car, this is the most technological Rolls-Royce to date (and one that actually looks modern). Everything about this model looks and probably feels luxurious. Nestled in the engine bay is a 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 petrol engine that develops 563bhp and 900 Nm of torque. The torque figure comes from low down at 1700 rpm, though this car wasn’t built for bolting off the line like Usain Bolt but rather so much torque helps the engine be more silent as it gets you up to speed without breaking a sweat despite it weighing over 2,560 kg. However, it does get from zero to 100km/h in 5.2 seconds.

Holding together this whole piece of British greatness is a body that’s largely composed of aluminum, which is 30% more rigid than its predecessor the Phantom VII. The new phantom has 130kg’s of sound deadening with Rolls-Royce claiming it’s the quietest car in the world, so not much external traffic noise in a Phantom VIII.

I’m getting to the fun parts but before we get there, let’s talk about the Roll-Royce ride quality. Nobody likes moving around in a car, especially when you’re paying a couple million for a it. That’s why Roll-Royce fits this car with double-wishbone front, five link rear suspension layout, with self-leveling air suspension adjusted constantly by continuous electronic control. What that equates to, is Roll-Royce’s “magic carpet ride” which lets you glide along the road, which is further improved by a lighter weight and stiffer structure. To ensure that the car maintains its smooth ride, the car has a windscreen-mounted camera system to scan the road ahead and adjust the suspension proactively for bumps and cambers, active at up to 100 km/h. Four-wheel steering is added to the car making it easier to maneuver in tight spots.

The moment I’m sure most readers were waiting for: the interior of the car, which is way more important than the exterior. With a few options for the rear seats such as a single ‘lounge’ seat unit, individual seats with either an occasional armrest or a fixed rear center console, or a new ‘sleeping seat.’ My choice would be the fixed rear centre console where you get a drinks cabinet with whiskey glasses and decanter, champagne flutes and cooler box, all of this at the comfort of the passenger seat while you’re probably talking business or about to sign a multi-million rand deal. There’s enough room in the car to have a conversation with the passenger next to you without having to twist your body. When the going gets tough and you’re feeling fatigued after a long day you can recline your seat up to 45 degrees without sacrificing leg room. Every panel, every piece of material, every piece of switchgear feels rather special. Rolls Royce’s philosophy is that if something looks like wood, it should feel like wood when you touch it, and likewise for metal components and leather materials. The Starlight Headliner is one of the best features on the Phantom, it gives you a sense that you’re floating amongst the stars in the galaxy and owners have a choice of how the LEDs are set into the ceiling of the car, whether it be to resemble a star constellation or any shape that your heart desires. The Phantom now uses a digital dash and in keeping with tradition there’s still an analogue clock behind the glass which Roll-Royce claims is ‘the loudest sound you can hear in a Rolls-Royce.’ Bragging much? Indeed!

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Being the most technologically advanced Roll-Royce yet, it has some neat safety features! Laser lights cast beams 600m down the road (trust me, there ain’t nothing you’re not going to see); alertness assistant; a four-camera system with panoramic view; all-round visibility (including helicopter view); night vision and vision assist; active cruise control; collision warning; pedestrian warning; cross-traffic warning; lane departure and lane change warning; a 7×3 high-resolution head-up display; WiFi hotspot and latest navigation and entertainment systems.

Being truly bespoke, the Phantom VIII has a Gallery option were customers have a choice of any designer or artist create an artwork to be displayed across the Gallery dash which sits behind a piece of glass. The best example is an owner that has a gold-plated 3D map of their DNA across the gallery, truly bespoke!

An owner is pretty much given a blank canvas when it comes to ‘speccing’ their car to give them that individual touch.

Here are just a few options available to prospective owners:

  • Over 44 000 shades of exterior paint colours to choose from and if you cannot find one, they can make t it for you.
  • Different textures of leather, alligator, crocodile and all the way through to ostrich leather. You can choose any colour you want for the leather finish.
  • Personalised Treadplates.
  • Spirit of Ecstasy finished in either 24-Carat Gold Plated, Illuminated or in Solid Silver.
  • Over 20,000 different varieties of wood to choose from
  • At the rate Roll-Royce is going, it seems as if it has little to no competition. With new technology and so many customization options, it’s safe to say that the Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII is king of the luxury world when it comes to the automobile. Expected to launch next year, here are some figures to drool over.

Specifications:

  • Engine: 6.75liter Twin-Turbo V12 Engine
  • Power: 563bhp (420kW)
  • Torque: 900 Nm of torque
  • Acceleration: 0 – 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds
  • Top speed: 155 mph (250 km/h) electronically limited
  • Price: R7, 200,000 (expected)

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