It takes 60 pair of hands and over 450 hours to design, construct and craft a single Rolls-Royce Car. Considering the fact that Rolls-Royce still continues the fine tradition established by the coach building industry eons ago in terms of affording a meticulous finish on each machine, these numbers are hardly staggering however they speak volumes in terms of establishing just how high the pedestal for finesse is set at. Each car is a masterpiece and the flagship model, namely the Phantom, is the epitome of perfection that seamlessly marries tradition, technology and opulence into the most desirable set of four wheels that man can strive for.
Incidentally the Phantom was launched in 2003 and it has been a little over a decade that the car has been in production and gone on to do some serious numbers for Rolls-Royce across the globe, however with technology and expectations changing at a staggering pace, Rolls-Royce couldn’t just sit still and rest on the laurels of the brand. A change was in the making, but this being a Rolls-Royce meant that the change had to be at par with the very DNA of the brand, not just some nip and tuck with chrome tossed in for good measure-that would be sacrilege! Going back to the maxim established by Henry Royce, Rolls-Royce once again set out to take the best that exists and make it better. The result of which is the Phantom II.
The changes in exterior design are immediately apparent when you look at the Phantom II head on. The saloon now features a more rectangular shape and while the predecessor had rectangle headlights, the newer ones are sleeker and further accentuated by the indicator strip set right below, unlike the round units on the earlier car. The headlamp cluster itself is a work of art and is composed of LEDs which Rolls-Royce has used to their advantage as the technology offers a better way to manage the manner in which the light is projected. Not only do you get a white light for better visibility, the adaptive headlamps automatically change beam patterns according to driving conditions.
At lower speeds, light is dispersed in a wide pattern, while at speeds in excess of 50km/h the beam becomes narrower and more focused on the road. The light beam also rotates up to 15 degrees in the direction of the steering in order to better illuminate the intended line of travel. Other changes on the Phantom II include a new front and rear bumper and a choice new alloy designs for the large 21 inch wheels. Of course the majestic Pantheon grille and the Spirit of Ecstasy remain unchanged; however the Phantom II does get a new single piece grille surround, which has earlier been seen on the Phantom Drophead Coupe. The silhouette remains the same, including the long hood, set back passenger cabin and the sheer height and size of the car. The lines are timeless on this beauty, and though it has received some clever tweaks, the design is still a decade old yet looks amazingly fresh.
Open the doors and you are greeted with opulence. I, being part of the select billions on this planet who is born without a silver spoon, could happily live inside a Phantom II and not want a house ever! Pristine materials, including the highest quality of wood and leather available essentially drape the interiors. Fine polished metals that feel rich to the touch add their aura to the functional yet uber stylish interiors and to pamper your feet, the floor is covered in a deep lambswool rug.
The element that grabs you however is the simplicity in treatment and design. Space it at a premium, and the large seats ensure you are literally seating in the lap of luxury. Additional touches include the starlight headliner over the rear seats which feature over 1600 tiny fibre optic lights that have been handwoven into the leather lining to create a starry sky within the compartment of the Phantom II. As part of the bespoke program, the stars can be customized to the owner’s liking including creating their company logo out of the stars, or simply having their favourite constellation on display! Regardless, the effect is mesmerizing and a rather unique touch.
In terms of creature comforts, the Phantom II features just about every goodie that exists on this planet. A high end surround sound system from Harman which includes 16 speakers a nine channel amplifier and two subwoofers tucked away within the confines of the double floor, fold out screens, a revised and updated multi media interface with a larger 8.8 inch screen, an analogue clock and a plethora of controls to adjust the seats to your liking. Another major update on the Phantom II is the telephone cradle which has been replaced by a smartphone dock and also houses a USB, AUX-in and 12V power socket.
Driver aids include a top view camera display for ease of maneuvering in tight spaces and a high end reverse parking camera to help in reversing. Of course, with the bespoke program you can ask for a fitment, and it shall be delivered, so in effect the sky is the limit on the level of kit you can avail on a Phantom II. What did grab my attention was that numerous elements neatly fold and tuck themselves away when not in use; a feature that ensures that the interiors look timeless and elegant without too much clutter.
At the heart of the Rolls-Royce Phantom II is a hand assembled naturally aspirated 6.75 litre V12 engine, which incidentally also did duty under the hood of the Phantom I and currently continues to power the entire Phantom range on offer. Capable of generating 460PS at 5350rpm and a solid 720Nm of torque at 3500rpm, the engine is a powerhouse and rightly suited for a vehicle of this stature. Power delivery is linear and a lot of this has to do with the fact that about 75 per cent of the torque is available from as low as 1000rpm. The refined engine unit now mated to an 8 speed automatic gearbox as Rolls-Royce has finally done away with the older 6 speed unit.
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