Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe: Apparitions of Past, Present and Future

Perhaps the most unique and indulgent car money can buy, the Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe is an experience like no other.

A vast, ornate and stylized expression of opulence, class and taste, the modern Rolls Royce retains the hallmark comfort, grandeur and extravagance of the ultra-luxury British brand and re-interprets them faithfully for the 21st Century. One of four derivatives of the premium super-luxury Phantom line, the Coupe’s sheer body, engine size, rich appointment, serene on-road experience, and role as a two-door version of the usually chauffeured four-door Phantom, makes it the ultimate expression of personal luxury.

Long regarded as a lifestyle experience or indulgent asset ultra-wealthy clients procure like a yacht or ski cabin, a Rolls Royce has few automotive competitors and is often judged by different parameters. The Phantom Coupe is a more unique proposition, with only the Bentley Brooklands or top-end Mercedes-Benz CL-Class models as possible alternatives. However, while the CL-Class meets similar automotive criteria, its contemporary corporate design isn’t nearly as haughty, dramatic, pampering or exclusive, and while the Brooklands may have more torque, but is based on an aging pre-BMW Rolls Royce design on its last legs, and lacks the Phantom Coupe’s stark statement and cutting edge style.

A magnificently stylized and contemporary design that brilliantly weds the brash, blocky and upright design language popularly associated with the brand, to more subtly flowing and elegant curvature, the Phantom Coupe is topped off with sparse flourishes of ostentatious embellishment. Developed under BMW ownership, the Phantom Coupe’s dimensions reflect a Bavarian sensibility, with a short front overhang, long wheelbase and somewhat long rear overhang, which together works to improve driving dynamics, balance, handling and boot space. Tall, long and wide, the Phantom Coupe’s gigantic dimensions make compact crossover SUVs seem like family hatchbacks, but bestow upon the driver a regally high and alert driving position.

With a high waistline and low glasshouse, with a contrast between pillar-less side windows and a huge rear-pillar, the Phantom Coupe has great and imposing presence, which is boldest from front views. Using contrasting shapes and sizes for its fascia, the Phantom Coupe’s huge and very upright polished grille features a retractable and ornate Spirit of Ecstasy statuette elegantly straddled atop. Slim running lights also sit juxtaposed to big round headlights while a luxuriously long bonnet leads to a windshield frame with small triangular side windows – The Phantom Coupe’s sense of occasion and opulence can be enhanced with an optional bare stainless steel bonnet and windscreen frame combo.

Utilizing a subtle ridge at the side of the fascia like the classic Rolls Royce Corniche, the Phantom Coupe’s long flanks are characterized by a light penned L-shape character line and sexy rear-swinging ‘suicide’ doors, while a gentle curve over the rear wheel-arch leads to a modestly tapered in and sloped boot. With huge 21-inch alloy wheels, the Phantom Coupe’s wheel-arches are filled in nicely and look proportioned to its 5609mm length and 1592mm height. With its wider front track and bold fascia, the Phantom Coupe looks imposing from front, while from rear views are subtly athletic and elegant.

A sumptuously appointed luxury coupe with sublime ride, the Phantom Coupe promotes a gentle, indulgent and elegant driving style like one adopts to impress a lady friend. Keeping in theme, the Phantom Coupe’s rear-swinging doors seem to have been designed to allow elegant cabin ingress, while the theatrics and unconventionality of the door swing, length and weight also prompt one to open and close them for companions of the fairer sex. Once inside there is acres of front space, where is seating high and upright for an alert dining table position with improved visibility for cornering. Rear space, is also good, with the thick rear pillars bestowing a private and exclusive ambiance.

A sumptuous feast of finest luscious leathers, woods and chrome, the Phantom Coupe’s rich interior is uncompromisingly luxurious and radiates old world charm that hides modern technology. With no visible plastics, Phantom Coupe passengers only touch the finest materials, while a rotating analogue clock panel reveals an intuitive infotainment unit controlled from a hidden dial. Elegant climate controls match round ‘eyeball’ vents with organ-stop controls. With a traditional absence of speedometer, the Phantom Coupe instead has a power reserve dial, which approximates engine speed. The Phantom Coupe’s un-hurried and gentlemanly ambiance is reflected by low-set steering grip moulds and no manual gear selection. An optional fiber-optic lit ‘starry sky’ roof adds to night time ambient lighting.

Powering the Phantom Coupe’s statuesque frame is a super-smooth BMW-developed V12 engine enlarged to Rolls’ traditional 6.75-liter displacement and re-tuned for creamy delivery and huge low-end torque to achieve the required and effortless wafting sensation. Thoroughly modern, the Phantom Coupe’s 48-valve DOHC direct injection V12 hums at whispering volume as it propels 2590kg of unrivalled personal luxury to 100km/h in a sensational yet near silent 5.8-seconds and to an electronically-governed 250km/h maximum. Though tasked with a hefty load, the Phantom Coupe’s prodigious engine rarely needs to be taken by the scruff into high revs, but rather feels amply motivated from tickover, with 75% of its maximum torque available at 1000rpm and 531lb/ft peaking at 3500rpm.

With long throttle travel and vast torque, the Phantom Coupe is a smooth and elegant drive, while its six-speed auto gearbox makes seamlessly shifts, and features a more responsive ‘sport’ setting. Gliding through town or motorway, there’s little evidence of combustion under the hood until a stab at the throttle elicits an urgent increase of velocity, and wells power to 453BHP at 5350rpm. Responsive, progressive and ample, the Phantom Coupe’s engine provides muscular fluidity and better efficiency than rival Bentley Brooklands’ traditional Rolls 6.75 V8. Efficiency being relative, the Phantom Coupe is still thirsty, requiring 6.7-liters 98RON fuel and emitting 377g/km CO2 emissions on the combined cycle – However, if necessary, can use low octane 91RON fuel.

While its’ amply powerful engine and tall top gear allow the Phantom to cruise at 160km/h using just 10% of its power, its ride characteristics are equally serene and laid back. Seeming to float when cruising, the Phantom Coupe is the ultimate boulevardier, soaking up bumps and cracks with a suppleness belying its huge low profile 255/50R21 front and 285/45R21 rear tires. With its wafting ride best enjoyed in front, the Phantom Coupe delivers a pampering and relaxing driving experience that isolates the rough edges of real world road and noises. Swiftly gliding on tarmac, the Phantom Coupe’s driving experience is one that takes a couple of days to adjust to

A refined and most automotive pleasure, the Phantom Coupe’s ample charms and gilded and cosseting cabin and ride characteristics are not fully appreciated from a first drive but have an underlying complexity of flavor and style that becomes an acquired taste after a couple of days driving, not unlike a taste for fois gras, Cohibas or single malt Scotch is developed. Initially the Phantom Coupe seems distant, soft, disconnected with over-assisted steering. However, living with the Phantom for a few days one adapts to its magnificently indulgent nature and becomes enamored of its haughty and indulgent waft, and a countryside drive, makes one appreciate that masked under layers of Rolls Royce sumptuousness lies confident BMW handling.

On snaking country roads, the Phantom Coupe leans somewhat on corners but settles in confidently when outside wheels are loaded, and remains balanced with firm rear grip. The Phantom Coupe’s suspension, configuration and weight distribution provide handling precision, poise, grip, balance and fluidity belying its weight and sumptuously supple ride, while turn-in and cornering lines are precise with front wheels with front wheels resolutely dug in to tarmac.

After acquiring a taste for the Phantom Coupe’ serenely swooshing ride and light but accurate steering, developing an instinct for its proportions is next. When moving, the Phantom Coupe’s high seats provide good road views, but parking in tight London streets can be nerve racking, owing to its huge dimensions, long and high bonnet, tight rear windscreen, thick rear pillars, and highly cautious parking sensors, until one establishes a instinct for its sumptuous proportions.

Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe

  • Engine: 6.75-liter, in-line V12-cylinders
  • Valve-train: 48-valve, DOHC, direct injection
  • Bore x stroke: 92 x 84.6mm
  • Compression ratio: 11:1
  • Gearbox: 6-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
  • Gear ratios: 1st 4.171:1; 2nd 2.34:1; 3rd 1.521:1; 4th 1.143:1; 5th 0.867:1; 6th 0.691:1
  • Reverse / final drive ratios: 3.403:1 / 3.46:1
  • Power, BHP (PS) [Kw]: 453 (460) [338] @ 5,350rpm
  • Specific power: 67.1BHP/liter
  • Power-to-weight ratio: 175BHP/ton
  • Torque lb/ft (Nm): 531 (720) 3,500rpm
  • Specific torque: 106.6Nm/liter
  • 0-100 km/h: 5.8-seconds
  • Maximum speed: 250km/h (governed)
  • Fuel requirement: 98 RON (minimum 91RON)
  • Fuel consumption, urban / extra-urban / combined: 23.2 / 11.3 / 15.7 liters/100km
  • CO2 emissions, combined: 377g/km
  • Length: 5,609mm
  • Width: 1,987mm
  • Height: 1,592mm
  • Wheelbase: 3,320mm
  • Track, F/R: 1,687 / 1,671mm
  • Headroom, F/R: 981 / 942mm
  • Shoulder room, F/R: 1,491 / 1,298mm
  • Elbow room, F/R: 1,562 / 1,266mm
  • Aerodynamic drag co-efficient: 0.36
  • Luggage capacity (DIN): 395-liters
  • Unladen weight, DIN: 2,590kg
  • Gross vehicle weight: 3,050kg
  • Payload: 460kg
  • Fuel capacity: 100-liters
  • Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs, 374mm / 370mm
  • Steering: Variable power assistance, rack & pinion
  • Turning circle: 13.1-meters
  • Tires, F/R: 255/50R21 / 285/45R21
  • Price, UK: £310,000