Rolls-Royce Phantom saloon - Engines, drive & performance
The V12 Rolls-Royce engine is designed to provide effortless acceleration
There are some big changes for the Phantom, including four-wheel steering for the first time. At low speeds, this helps the Phantom turn more tightly, making it surprisingly agile considering its huge size – a godsend for chauffeurs in cities like London. Go faster and the rear wheels turn slightly in the same direction as those at the front, improving high-speed stability.
Air suspension plays a big part in making the Phantom ride incredibly smoothly while also preventing it feeling like a waterbed. It makes millions of calculations every second to react to the movements of the car, steering inputs and even exterior cameras to ensure things remain composed. The camera-based system is called Flagbearer – a nod to the men who used to walk ahead of cars with a red flag in the earliest days of driving. Stereo cameras in the windscreen read the road ahead, proactively adjusting the suspension to soak up bumps as you pass over them.
Rolls-Royce Phantom petrol engines
The new 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12 might sound like the sort of engine fitted in a Lamborghini, but in the Phantom it couldn’t be more different, because it’s tuned to be almost silent. Rolls-Royce has gone to unbelievable efforts to make the interior as quiet as possible, fitting 6mm two-layer glass around the car and more than 130kg of sound insulation, including in cavities under the floor and in the headliner. The Phantom even has newly invented tyres with foam inside to cut down on droning noise at speed, so Rolls-Royce is hardly likely to stick a rude exhaust on the motor.
Instead, it delivers its 563bhp and prodigious pulling power from incredibly low revs for a feeling of effortless performance. It all works in perfect harmony with the eight-speed automatic gearbox, which can rarely be felt changing from one gear to the next.
It’s probably enough to describe the performance as “plenty”, but if you must know figures, the Phantom will convey you from 0-62mph in 5.3 unruffled seconds and on to a governed top speed of 155mph. In comparison, the somewhat sportier Bentley Mulsanne Speed is faster, rollicking to 62mph in 4.8 seconds and on to an unlimited top speed in excess of 180mph.