No bigger, but almost certainly better, this automotive icon of the gilded life glides in for a subtle mid-life refresh. If you’re in the market for this legendary machine, you can expect better connection, better lighting, smarter tech and even more emphasis on bespoke materials and craft.
1. You can't hear the engine
For a start, you can't hear the engine. At the heart of the Phantom is a massive twin-turbocharged 6.75 litre V12, yet no-one from Rolls-Royce deigned to even mention its existence, let alone reveal such uncouth things as output, performance figures, or even emissions. All you need to know is that it has ample amounts of everything. In reality, Rolls is subtly prepping the ground for the banishment of cylinders altogether; not that you’ll notice.
2. The Pantheon Grille
The Pantheon Grille is still the Phantom’s defining characteristic. The design team has given it a subtle makeover, emphasising the ‘RR’ badge and the famous Spirit of Ecstasy, as well as introducing a night-time illumination system. There’s no mistaking what this car is.
The Phantom’s headlights have been given intricate laser-cut bezels, embedded with ‘stars’ that reflect the famous starlight headliner specification and add even more presence to this 5.7m long machine.
4. The new disc wheels were a massive technological challenge
Available in both polished stainless steel and black lacquer, they evoke the design of 1920s era Rolls-Royces, while still looking effortlessly contemporary.
5. Not a lot has changed inside
Not a lot has changed inside; you can still specify a headlining with a constellation of fibre-optic stars, infinitely customisable to represent any section of the night sky, from any point in time and place. Throw in a couple of ‘shooting stars’ to keep passengers engaged.
6. This three-dimensional metallic ripple
This three-dimensional metallic ripple is embedded in the car, set within the glass-fronted ‘Gallery’ that adorns the Phantom’s cliff-like dashboard. Chose a work by your favourite artist or sculptor, or simply ask Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke division to shape the space for you.
7. A thicker steering wheel
Another subtle change for Phantom: that imposing steering wheel has been made ever so slightly thicker to create ‘a more connected and immediate point of contact for the owner-driver.’ Most Phantom owners, however, will stay loyal to the back seats, especially in the 6m long Extended Wheelbase version.
8. The Phantom Platino edition
The Phantom Platino edition makes another nod to RR history with a split between leather and fabric seats. Up front, the driver has to make do with the company’s buttery soft leather upholstery. The rear compartment is finished in a two-tone fabric, a blend of Italian textiles and bamboo fibre-derived material. The spilt harks back to the era of open-topped chauffeur compartments when leather was seen as a utilitarian choice.
9. ‘Whispers’ app
If you’re a Rolls owner, chances are you have the ‘Whispers’ app on your smartphone (or at least your personal assistant does). A private members’ app, it’s now set up to dovetail with the Rolls-Royce Connected system onboard Phantom, helping with navigation, security, and other car-related services.
10. Exclusive fabric
As well as incorporating the exclusive fabric into the dashboard gallery, the one-off Phantom Platino edition features a clock with a 3D-printed ceramic surround. Nothing is out of the ordinary in a car that is always unique.
This article is part of The T3 Edit, a collaboration between T3 and Wallpaper* which explores the very best blends of design, craft, and technology. Wallpaper* magazine is the world’s leading authority on contemporary design and The T3 Edit is your essential guide to what’s new and what’s next.