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Rolls-Royce unveils grandiose Phantom VIII to the world. Image by Rolls-Royce.

Rolls-Royce unveils grandiose Phantom VIII to the world
A spaceframe chassis, sound-proofed tyres and a 571hp V12: say hello to the all-new Rolls-Royce Phantom.
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Newer articles featuring 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom

2018-03-06: Rolls-Royce goes Bespoke with three Phantoms
2017-11-22: First drive: Rolls-Royce Phantom

What's all this about?

It's an all-new Rolls-Royce Phantom, and when we talk about nameplates going back a few years, we often reference cars like the Land Rover (1948) or the Porsche 911 (1963) or the Ford Fiesta (1976). Well, this is only the eighth generation of the Phantom, but this is a model that dates back to 1925 - with only two interregnums (1939-1950, and then 1991-2003) to report.

So it's important, then?

We'll say. Although no one is more assured of the Phantom VIII's importance than its parent company, which describes it as the 'best car in the world' and the 'world's leading luxury item', in almost the same breath. The Goodwood-based concern also talks about the Architecture of Luxury, The Gallery, The Embrace and The Art of Movement.

I'm sorry - the what, what, what and what now?

OK, let's start with the interior, as that covers the last three of the above. The Gallery is the name for the full-width panel of toughened glass that makes up the Phantom's dashboard, which has simultaneously freed up space on the console for owners to display their own works of art if they so wish - this is the 'Art of Movement' bit. Already, Rolls has teamed up with a few leading artists, designers and luxury companies, who have all come up with their own interpretation of what is possible for this gallery space. The Embrace is what Rolls calls the feel of sitting in the Phantom; its doors (still rear-hinged 'coach' items at the back of the car, as with the old model) close automatically and soundlessly, leaving you enveloped in one of the most opulent car interiors that has ever issued forth into the general public. Honestly, the standard of the cabin is exquisite, but, should you feel it's somehow not grand enough, then there's a long-wheelbase version for the super-picky.

Right. And the Architecture of Luxury?

This refers to the Phantom's all-new aluminium spaceframe chassis, a design feature that means no Rolls-Royce product, going forward, will be built of monocoque construction. At this point, Rolls refers to monocoques as being the preserve of 'mass-manufacturers and some mass-luxury brands', and we have a pretty good idea which companies it is referring to with that last jibe. Nevertheless, the Rolls-Royce structure is said to be 30 per cent more rigid than the old Phantom VII's architecture and it also means the new Roller is slightly lighter than before.

Can you just go over the looks?

Lovely, isn't it? In profile, Rolls-Royce says it evokes memories of the elegant Phantom V (1959-1968) and overall its distinct lack of join lines between body panels is aimed to make you think the entire car has been 'hewn from a solid block of aluminium'. Up front, the round lower lamps of the old Phantom have gone, replaced by sleek one-piece units that feature a new light signature and laser illumination, meaning the Phantom VIII can shine beams fully 600 metres down the road at night. The Pantheon radiator grille is a time-honoured Rolls tradition, but it is now integrated into the surrounding bodywork, rather than standing proud of it, and yes, it is still adorned with the Spirit of Ecstasy figurine. Going back to the side view, 22-inch alloys reside in the arches and Rolls is proud of the 2:1 proportions, characterised by a long rear overhang and a short overhang ahead of the front wheels.

And how about under that long bonnet?

A twin-turbo, 6.75-litre V12 petrol engine does the almost unseemly work of burning fossil fuels to propel the Rolls along, but rather than the company simply saying it has 'ample' power, we can tell you the specifics: it churns out 571hp and 900Nm, that latter torque figure available from just 1,700rpm. Air suspension, working with double wishbones up front and a five-link rear axle, are said to provide the most magical of 'Magic Carpet Rides' on the Phantom VIII, while silence is the aim for the interior. The glasshouse is 6mm-thick double-glazing all round, there's more than 130kg of sound insulation crammed into the Roller's hidden portions, high-absorption materials are used elsewhere for acoustic damping and - best of all - even the tyres are sound-proofed.

You what?!

They have a layer of foam inside the cavity, which means they reduce road roar by 9dB; that's a huge amount. Called 'Silent-Seal' tyres, these things play their part in making the Phantom VIII 10 per cent quieter at 62mph than the Phantom VII, which was a near-silent car at that sort of speed anyway.

Anything else on the technology?

Yes, the Phantom VIII will be stuffed with all manner of toys, such as Alertness Assistant, a four-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, a 7x3 high-resolution head-up display, Wi-Fi hotspot and the latest navigation and entertainment systems. It will also have an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox with the addition of Satellite-Aided Transmission, which means the Rolls-Royce uses mapping to determine if it's about to take on a steep incline or descent; it then prepares the gearbox accordingly.

Wow. And how much is all this?

We don't have a specific word on price, but we can probably safely say that the rough amount of money you will need to own a Phantom VIII will be 'lots'.

Matt Robinson - 27 Jul 2017

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