"When arriving at a party or business meeting from the back of a Rolls-Royce Phantom, no other car makes such a statement"
Introduced in 2003 the hugely expensive Rolls Royce Phantom features a powerful 6.7-litre V12 engine that is also used in range topping BMW 7 Series models. Weighing nearly 2.4 tonnes the Phantom is available in standard or extended wheelbase form and possesses more road presence than a Maybach. Due to it's imposing grill and immense size, it also commands instant respect from other road users. Inside, the beautifully handcrafted interior is made from the finest materials available making the Phantom a majestic long distance cruiser and helping it feel more like a posh hotel room. Running costs are huge however and it absolutely drinks petrol. But, these are downsides that are likely to be insignificant to owners who desire the ultimate in luxury transport and can easily afford the colossal price tag.
The biggest surprise when at the helm of the Phantom is how delicate and light the controls feel and how well the big saloon handles on twisty roads. The thin steering wheel requires only small inputs for such a big car, the sophisticated air-suspension dealing with all bumps in the road no matter how big or small. Capable of 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds, the Phantom is no slouch either boasting an electronically limited top speed of 150mph. Most owners however will spend the majority of their time in the rear of the car, which is good news for chaffeurs.
Setting new bechmarks for comfort is what Rolls-Royce does best. The Phantom is supremely luxurious in the rear cabin, sumptuous leather and thick carpets representing the very height of luxury. Leg and headroom is very generous, especially in extended wheelbase models and noise levels are almost none-existent. With the optional rear bench seat fitted the Phantom will transport five people in total comfort.
Ever since it's introduction in 2003 the Phantom has proved to be very reliable with no major faults reported. BMW also produce some of the most reliable engines in the world. In the event of an accident the big saloon should protect passenegers well thanks to it's weight and strong build quality, superior to almost everything else on the road.
Although not really designed to visit your local supermarket, the Phantom is quite painless to own. The cavernous cabin features clever storage areas and easy to reach heating controls. Rear opening doors can be electronically operated from inside the cabin and even contain useful umbrellas, such is the level of sophistication. The large 460-litre boot is big enough for all but the grandest of suitcases, although an optional boot extension package is available. Run-flat tyres are also fitted as standard meaning you'll never be stranded at the side of the road, whilst attempting a turn in the road can be tricky due to a large 13.8metre turning circle.
Value for money
Despite the hard to swallow price tag the Phantom comes with an impressive amount of standard kit. The list of optional extras include rear privacy glass, exterior cameras, daytime running lights and even ceremonial flag poles. Bespoke interiors and exteriors are also available at extra cost should you require the car coloured to match a favourite tie or earring. Many of the extra costs involved will be insignificant however if buyers can afford the initial asking price.
Capable of just 17.1mpg on the combined cycle the Phantom also produces 385g/km of C02 resulting in an annual tax bill of £460- pocket change for most owners. Fitted with a 100-litre fuel tank the Phantom's average range is just 370 miles and with each refill costing well over £100, it's not exactly cost effective. Come service time expect further huge bills- a set of four tyres for example costs in excess of £1700. Finally, considerable depreciation and high insurance costs mean only the well-off can afford a Phantom.