The first Rolls Royce Phantom made its debut for the first time back in 1925, and has remained to be the choice of motor travel for some of the world’s most influential and powerful men and women. At the exhibition, some of the names of these people were published, including Elvis Presley, Elton John, Charlie Chaplin, HM The Queen, Pharrel Williams, and closer to home, Sultan of Johor. Today, the eighth Phantom was finally unveiled to the world at “The Great Eight Phantoms” exhibition in London.
The Genesis of New Phantom
Quite contrary to how other so-called luxury manufacturers are trying to realise economies of scale by
sharing platforms with mass market manufacturers, Rolls-Royce concluded that the future of true luxury
lies in true small-volume manufacture of a dedicated ‘Architecture of Luxury’.
“This realisation was a moment of clarity about the destiny of Rolls-Royce,” reflects Torsten Müller-Ötvös,
Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Every one of our customers – each a connoisseur of
luxury in the extreme – were asking for something more individual to them, not less. We were adamant
that that was what they should have.”
“Key to Rolls-Royce realising its vision of being the world’s leading luxury brand, today and in the future, is
an architecture that spans the entire Rolls-Royce family,” comments Philip Koehn, Director of
Engineering. “The Architecture of Luxury will carry every future Rolls-Royce, not just the New Phantom.
Project Cullinan and eventually the next Ghost, Wraith, Dawn will ride on this architecture, as well as
future coachbuild projects.”
“Phantom VII’s spaceframe architecture was a good starting point and inspiration, but we wanted to do
much more,” adds Giles Taylor, Director of Design. “The Architecture of Luxury gives me the canvas to
protect the lineage and brand integrity of Rolls-Royce without compromise. Starting with New Phantom, I
have the framework to create a future range of true Rolls-Royces. In essence, this is one big coachbuild
“Our approach has been to forge long-term relationships with smaller suppliers run by families that will
focus on us, giving us much more attention and therefore results that live within a quality expectation far
beyond any other automotive concern,” continues Koehn. “For a brand to operate in such a manner
within a larger automotive group is unheard of and truly revolutionary.”
What is the Architecture of Luxury?
The Architecture of Luxury is an all-aluminium space-frame architecture designed by Rolls-Royce engineers that will underpin every future Rolls-Royce beginning with the New Phantom. As such, no future Rolls-Royce will be of monocoque construction as used by mass-manufacturers and some mass-luxury brands.
It is a truly revolutionary approach for the motor industry, and one that is informed by Rolls-Royce’s
standing as a luxury house in the business of cars. Whilst the majority of so-called luxury manufacturers
are limited to sharing individual platforms in a specific sector with mass brands for say their SUV or GT
offerings, thereby introducing unacceptable compromise, Rolls-Royce will be uncompromising in only using its own architecture across all its motor cars, whatever the sector.
It has been designed and engineered from the ground up in such a way as to be scalable to the size and
weight requirements of different future Rolls-Royce models, including those with different propulsion,
traction and control systems, thus underpinning the long-term future product roadmap. Approximately 30 per cent more rigid than the spaceframe architecture on which sat Phantom VII, the new architecture is at the heart of how the next generation of Rolls-Royces delivers the Rolls-Royce experience in terms of ride comfort, acoustic comfort, seat comfort, exterior presence and interior space.
Engineering a Modern Masterpiece
The New Phantom will be the first of a new generation of Rolls-Royces to benefit from the creation of
the Architecture of Luxury. This new architecture serves as the foundation on which this eighth generation
of Phantom reaffirms its position as ‘The Best Car in the World’ by taking the best fundamentals and
making them better.
The first major benefit of the new architecture for the New Phantom are lightness, increased stiffness,
efficient production of standard and extended wheelbase bodies and uncompromised exterior surface
design. The all-new aluminium spaceframe structure delivers extraordinary car body stiffness for exceptional ‘bestin- class’ functional performance whilst also being lighter. Indeed New Phantom is 30 per cent more rigid than its predecessor, leading to better ride comfort.
Accompanying the increased stiffness of the spaceframe is a best-in-class high comfort chassis with air
suspension and state-of-the-art chassis control systems, delivering peerless ‘effortless’ ride and handling
and optimal vibration comfort performance. A new double-wishbone front axle and 5-link rear axle deliver astounding levels of control over lateral roll and shear forces and delivering incredible agility and stability, as does the addition of four-wheel steering, all contributing to an undisturbed passenger whatever the driving conditions. Rolls-Royce’s celebrated Magic Carpet Ride also improves as a result of the new lighter architecture, and the latest generation of self-levelling air suspension.
The suspension makes millions of calculations every second as it continuously varies the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system – reacting to body and wheel acceleration, steering inputs and camera information. In addition, the Flagbearer – evocative of those men who were required by law to carry a red flag ahead of early motor cars – adds a stereo camera system integrated in the windscreen to see the road ahead, adjusting suspension proactively rather than reactively up to 100km/h.
The most silent motor car in the world
Incalculable effort was expended to create ‘the most silent motor car in the world’ including 6mm two layer glazing all around the car, more than 130kg of sound insulation, the largest ever cast aluminium joints in a body-in-white for better sound insulation, and use of high absorption materials. Acoustic insulation from road noise has been helped by the employment of double skin alloy on areas within the floor and bulkhead of the spaceframe. This is a feature unique to New Phantom. Further noise insulation by inserting dense foam and felt layers are between these skins to provide sound insulation not witnessed before in the car industry.
In addition, high absorption layers within the headliner, in the doors and in the boot cavity have further
aided insulation and reduced reverberation. Rolls-Royce also worked closely with its tyre supplier to invent
‘Silent-Seal’ tires – which feature a specific foam layer placed inside the tyre to wipe out tyre cavity noise
and reduce overall tyre noise by 9db, meaning that conversation within the car is completely effortless.
All in all it is a perfect 360° cocooning effect in a motor car that is approximately 10 per cent quieter than
its predecessor at 100km/h. Indeed, when Rolls-Royce’s acoustic test engineer first reviewed results road
and vibration tests, the sound levels were so low they had to check their instruments were calibrated
The heart of a Rolls-Royce – the magnificent V12 reinvented
At the heart of every Rolls-Royce of the modern period lies the power of a V12 engine. At the beginning
of this next chapter of Rolls-Royce’s existence, and with the creation of the Architecture of Luxury, the
New Phantom also benefits from a completely new engine.
With the focus on creating the most silent motor car in the world, a completely silent engine was also
required, and that meant more low-end output at lower revs to ensure that silence. Hence a completely
new, 6.75-litre V12 powertrain has been engineered for New Phantom, in place of the previous naturally
aspirated V12 engine.
The new V12 Phantom engine employs two turbo chargers that contribute to a low-end torque output of
900Nm at an incredibly low 1,700rpm whilst also delivering 563bhp or 420kW of power, resulting in calm
low speed progress associated with state occasions and an unfussed surge of power when one needs to
press on. The addition of Satellite Aided Transmission (SAT), married to a ZF 8-Speed gearbox also
ensures that the driver is prepared for whatever the road has in store for them.
The most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce ever
Another benchmark, the Electronic Architecture of the New Phantom is the largest ever component
produced by the BMW Group, let alone Rolls-Royce, helping to make New Phantom the most
technologically advanced Rolls-Royce ever.
This central nervous system connects and controls all the various advanced intelligence systems of New
Phantom, making it the most advanced luxury motor car available. Some, but not all, assistance systems
on-board New Phantom include: Alertness Assistant, a 4-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, an industry leading 7×3 high-resolution head-up display, WiFi hotspot, and of course the latest navigation and entertainment
‘The Gallery’ – an unprecedented new concept in luxury
At the heart of the New Phantom’s wholly modern design aesthetic is ‘The Gallery’, a wholly contemporary and luxury reinterpretation of a motor car’s dashboard and instrument panel area. While the character of the monolithic, upright dashboard pays contemporary homage to Rolls-Royce models of the past, with one clean, symmetrical surface, the main fascia veneer takes the eye from the lower centre up and outwards to create a sense of width.
All of the elements within ‘The Gallery’ are enclosed in an uninterrupted swathe of toughened glass that runs the full width of the dash area. Within it, the instrument digital dials are framed with chrome, adding a degree of jewelry and continuity throughout the front of the interior.
Behind the physical chrome surrounds of the instrument dials, Rolls-Royce has embraced a more futuristic approach to clearer instruments for the driver, something requested by Rolls-Royce customers around the world. 12.3 inch TFT colour displays with LED backlighting now communicate all driver information from within the round chrome surrounds, with the displays themselves designed with clear and beautiful virtual needles, Rolls-Royce jewellery-like chaplets and clear lettering.
In addition to speed, power reserve, fuel and temperature levels, the displays also react to provide essential information on cruise control settings, navigation instructions, driver assistance systems and a whole host of other information.
Also behind the glass of ‘The Gallery’ are housed the analogue clock – a nod the fact that it is “the loudest sound you can hear in a Rolls-Royce …” and the central information screen which can be retracted behind the centre stack when not in use. The standard clock features a dark face and the surround is finished in black leather. However, each Bespoke Clock features a more intricate design, including a lighter backlit face with crystal effect details and counter-weighted hands, and is finished to match the material selected within ‘The Gallery’.
No word yet on when the eight Phantom will arrive in Malaysia, nor word on pricing. We’ll be the first to update once we get news; in the meantime, enjoy the press gallery below.