The Rolls-Royce Phantom is the ultimate saloon car. It’s the automotive equivalent of a Sunseeker yacht. The only other rival it has is the Maybach, which may be on the level from a technological perspective, but in terms of presence and brand, it isn’t really in the same league.
The engine is fantastic. German engineering and technology have given the Phantom an enlarged 6.75-litre version of the BMW 7 Series V12, but here it produces over 450bhp and a huge 531lb/ft of torque. When mated to the 6-speed transmission, it provides turbine-like smoothness and discreet, effortless performance.
This car has real authority. Sure, I’m personally not completely convinced about the electrically closing rear doors, but they’re still a feature that draws people in. It is a large car, but with the air suspension and precise steering, it doesn’t feel unwieldy to drive. Traveling in the car, there is virtually no noise at all. Furthermore, rear accommodation is superb, with immensely comfortable seats that really do indulge.
For passengers, this car has no rival. Nothing is more comfortable, cosseting or more of an event to travel in – needless to say, it has every option and addition to make the travel experience that similar to being in Concorde. But with far, far more space.
It’s made even more special by being the car Sir Alan Sugar drives! The Apprentice has really added to the Phantom’s prestige, and in an entirely positive way. Respected people own Rolls-Royce, and second-hand buyers seem keen to buy into that themselves.
It will be interesting to see how things fare with the imminent arrival of the Ghost. This is a smaller but still very up market Rolls-Royce, drawing from the acclaimed platform of the BMW 7 Series. It is still very much a Rolls-Royce though – I wonder if the Ghost will generate more interest in the range, and see secondhand Rolls-Royce Phantom prices harden when people realize what bargains they are? See, for some, the only car to be seen in is the range-topper.