Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII — ultimate luxury and innovation

It is a car from a different universe for the rare few to own and others to relish

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Truth be told, there is no other car like the Rolls-Royce. Fit for royals and kings, the Rolls-Royce is considered the most luxurious vehicle on four wheels. Made for the discerning few, the Rolls-Royce and its distinct features stand above the crowd in the super luxury car market.

Used to be the toy for Europe’s wealthiest, the “RR” emblem is finding its ways in the hands of Asia’s billionaires. It is not surprising that China is Rolls-Royce’s largest market after the US.

Recently, Rolls-Royce launched the eighth version of the Phantom for the Malaysian market.

Best Car in the World

The Phantom remains as the flagship luxury vehicle for the carmaker under the ownership of BMW Group.

The Phantom was first introduced in 1925. It was developed in great secrecy with the project code-named “Eastern Armoured Car”. Phantom I turned out to be an instant success and helped the carmaker secure the title of “Best Car in the World”.

Over the years, the Phantom has been the ultimate ceremonial chariot, conveying some of the world’s most influential men and women.

From the Phantom I to sixth, Rolls-Royce had upped the game with the launch of the Phantom VIII 2017 last year. The latest iteration of the revered flagship in the Rolls-Royce brand, with its bold yet elegant design, underpinned the engineering attention to detail.

The new model has been a long time coming, about 14 years after the introduction of its predecessor which was introduced in 2003.

Dubbed as the pinnacle of luxury items, this eighth generation Phantom is packed with the latest innovations and advanced car technology available today.

Architecture of Luxury

The House of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England, has embarked on a revolutionary approach for the motor industry with the new Phantom.

The company uses Rolls-Royce’s own architecture called the “Architecture of Luxury”. Unlike the majority of so-called luxury manufacturers who are limited to sharing individual platforms with other brands, no future Rolls-Royce will be of monocoque construction as used by mass manufacturers, and the new Phantom would be the pilot model.

The Architecture of Luxury is an all-aluminium space frame architecture designed by Rolls-Royce engineers from the ground up in such a way, as to be scalable to the size and weight requirements of different future Rolls-Royce models.

The space frame delivers a new level of “magic carpet ride” because it is lighter, stiffer, quieter and more technologically advanced.

It is also approximately 30% more rigid than its predecessor coupled with the new four-corner air suspension system, state-of- the-art chassis control systems, 130kg of sound insulation, double-laminated glass and dual-skin alloys across the bulkhead. The new Phantom does not only reach the pinnacle for comfort, it aspires to be the “Most Silent Motor Car in the World”.

It is said that during the acoustic test ran by Rolls-Royce engineers, the new Phantom produced a sound level that was so low until they had to check whether their instruments were calibrated correctly.

Rolls-Royce took it to the extreme level to reduce noise by installing sound insulation in most components of the Phantom VIII, from the space frame down to the tyres.

A specific foam layer is placed inside the tyres to wipe out tyre cavity noise and reduce overall tyre noise by nine decibels. The result is approximately 10% quieter than its predecessor at 100kph, despite its powerful engine.

And it is now only comfort. Under the hood, the new 6.75 litres twin-turbocharged V12 engine that delivers 563hp and 900Nm torque from just 1,700rpm, spiriting the new Phantom from 0kph-100kph in a manufacturer-rated 5.4 seconds.

In addition, the powertrain is equipped with the satellite-aided transmission, eight- speed gearbox and married with the “flag- bearer” — a stereo camera system integrated into the windscreen that sees the road ahead and adjust the suspension proactively.

Roll-Royce Phantom VIII

The eye is also drawn to the double ‘RR’ badges etched on the back (Pic by Muhd Amin Naharul/TMR)

Its headlight implements latest laser light technology, providing a 600m range of light or the distance equivalent to six football fields arranged in a single file.

The technology advances through its electronic assistance systems, alertness assistant, a four-camera system with panoramic view, all-around visibility including helicopter view, night vision assist, collision warning, pedestrian warning and WiFi hotspot, among others.

The exterior design of the new model exudes opulence which presents a contemporary interpretation of the Phantom’s philosophy.

Front the front view, the Rolls-Royce synonymous Pantheon grille is raised higher than the Phantom VII, which positions the iconic “Spirit of Ecstasy” muse a half inch higher.

From the side, the new Phantom has the 2:1 proportion that features a short front and long rear overhang, an upright front and a flowing rear. The side view design is somewhat mimicking the Phantom V by separating the front wing line from the waist line, suggesting both elegance and an unrushed grand arrival.

The eye is also drawn inboard by a neatly tapered tail which lines subtly creases in the boot lid, with the double “RR” badges etched on the back.

A Whole New World

Roll-Royce Phantom VIII

The suite is illuminated by 1,344 stars, the largest starlight headliner ever in a Rolls-Royce (Pic by Muhd Amin Naharul/TMR)

Stepping aboard the new Phantom is akin to entering a totally new world. Beginning from the coach doors that are automatically closed via sensory touch points on the door handles. You would just be lost in luxury.

Phantom patrons can commision different seating choices — lounge seat, individual seats with occasional armrest, individual seats with fixed centre console and the newly introduced sleeping seat.

In any configuration, a conversation can be carried effortlessly as the cabin is that quiet and aided with the angling of the rear seats that ensure occupants are able to talk to each other without straining their necks.

Rear picnic tables and theatre monitors are secreted behind the wood panelling on the rear of the front seats, which are electrically deployed and retracted with a touch of a button.

The suite is illuminated by 1,344 stars, the largest starlight headliner ever in a Rolls-

Royce. The level of comfort is further heightened by the seat heating functionality that includes the front door armrests, front centre console lid, lower C-pillar, rear side armrests with all individual seats and rear centre armrest.

Now, at the heart of the new Phantom design aesthetic is the “Gallery” — a reinterpretation of the motor car’s dashboard and instrument panel area. Customers will be able to create a truly individual work of art that spans the width of the upper fascia and taking it wherever they travel.

But Bespoke potential does not end here. From over 20,000 wood veneer combinations available, 44,000 hues of paint for the bodywork, choices of leather upholstery to ancillary features such as the door handles, driver’s dial, tread plates, you name it, the craftspeople at the Home of Rolls-Royce is at the customers’ Bespoke service. On top of these vast, readily available options, the patrons’ imagination is really the only limit for personalisation for them to create a unique Rolls-Royce of their own, one of one.

The Phantom remains Rolls-Royce’s most rare model and tagged as the “blank canvas” of Bespoke. With the Architecture of Luxury, the Gallery, the “magic carpet ride”, the powerful V12 engine, the Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII is more than just a symbol of wealth. It resonates human accomplishments and desire to deliver the unimagined luxury and comfort.

Pricing in Malaysia for the Phantom standard wheelbase starts from RM2.2 million, with the Phantom extended wheelbase from RM2.5 million, based on the customers’ specifications. Depending on the Bespoke demands, the first Phantom is expected to hit Malaysian roads by next year.

Indeed, it is a car from a different universe for the rare few to own and others to relish.