Pops’ Rants: The New Rolls-Royce Phantom Is Already 10 Years Old
Everyone seems to be lazy this weekby Pops, on
And how are you folks doing this week? I gotta tell you, last week was rough with all that Mercedes X-Class jazz. And awkward and funny at the same time with reports that Jeep is doing better than FCA. And just when I thought that I would take a break from writing this week, Rolls-Royce launched the new Phantom. The NEW Phantom. With new everything. Except for the design. Have you seen it? Well, if not, have a look at the old Phantom because they’re basically identical. Remember how a while back I said that some at Rolls-Royce must be smoking pot at the office? The new Phantom is proof of that.
Seriously now, I wish this was some sort of prank, but April 1st is... ermmm... seven months way? What’s Rolls-Royce thinking? And what with the Pagani Zonda Fanstasma Evo that just broke cover? Wasn’t the Zonda discontinued years ago? And, why would Jaguar waste a more powerful V-8 engine on an XJR that doesn’t have an "SVR" badge? Yup, that’s what’s bugging me today, and it’s exactly what we’ll discuss below. So grab a cup of something and read on.
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I’ve Heard of Evolutionary Design, but this Is Ridiculous!
I never thought I'd live to see Rolls-Royce launch a new-generation model that looks like a facelift of the previous design.
Evolutionary design is all around us nowadays. Most current BMWs are very similar to those from 10 years ago, and don’t get me started on cars like the Audi A6 and A8. But, I never thought I’d live to see Rolls-Royce launch a new-generation model that looks like a facelift of the previous design. Yeah, I’m well aware that Rolls-Royce is part of the BMW Group, but come on, we’re talking about different things here. Rolls-Royce is all about flamboyant luxury and features you can’t get anywhere esle, plus a ridiculous amount of bespoke items you can order as long as you have a big, fat wallet. So what gives?
Just look at it. It’s the same concrete block-shaped front fascia with the square radiator flanked by rectangular headlamps. Yes, the headlamps are a bit narrower with a different cluster under the glass, but it’s the same freakin’ thing. And instead of the LED daytime running lights below, Rolls-Royce carved two openings. Now that’s what I call innovation! NOT!!!
The side panels are almost the same, the roof is almost the same, and the rear end is almost the same.
And it gets worse! The side panels are almost the same, the roof is almost the same, and the rear end is almost the same. Even the taillights are almost identical and a big disgrace for the "New Phantom" lettering on the rear license plate. What new Phantom? Where is it? I’d like to buy one. Okay okay, I admit that there a few notable design changes in the grille, the beltline, the door handles, and the trunk lid, but it’s not enough. This isn’t a new design, but a polished mid-cycle update. Open the door and there’s another horror movie before you. The interior isn’t that much different than the old one.
It’s a good thing that the platform is new and the V-12 is strapped to a pair of turbochargers. It doesn’t save it, but at least I can’t say it’s not utter crap. Unfortunately, potential Rolls-Royce customers won’t care. They would’ve bought the old model anyway. Because why not...
The Zonda is a thing of the past and it should remain there.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Pagani discontinue the Zonda in 2011, replacing it with the Huayra? I can definitely understand that some special-edition models arrived later, because these cars are assembled by hand and it can take a while, but it’s 2017 and Pagani just unveiled a new version of the old supercar. Marketing much? Seriously now Pagani, this throwback thing is becoming ridiculous, and surfacing a "new" Zonda from time to time isn’t going to change its production timeline. The Zonda is dead. How about you focus on the Huayra or maybe even a successor for your only supercar. Oh, and here’s some good advice: maybe it would be a good idea to develop a second and even a third nameplate to keep the business alive. The Zonda is a thing of the past and it should remain there.
SVR Everything Damn it!
In all seriousness now, all Jaguars should get SVR versions at some point.
So Jaguar just launched a thing called the XJR575. If you haven’t seen it yet, it stands for XJR with a bit of extra power and a higher price tag. And, not a lot of changes inside or out, aside for the dark trim that gives it a stealthy appearance. Normally, I would say it’s a bad deal, but I just can’t get past the fact that Jaguar could make better use of its SVR brand. The XJ would make a great performance sedan — and a cool competitor for the Mercedes-AMG S63 and BMW M760i xDrive — and Jaguar is doing it all wrong.
Instead of sticking a more powerful 5.0-liter V-8 under the hood, Jaguar should’ve let the regular XJR top the range for a while and come up with a properly beefed-up version wearing an "SVR" badge. Just think about it. It could have a 600-horsepower engine, aggressive aerodynamics front and rear, and chassis tuned for track performance. Heck, Jag could even go wild and set a Nurburgring record for full-size sedans! But no, they just had to make a slightly better XJR. Opportunity wasted...
In all seriousness now, all Jaguars should get SVR versions at some point. And limited-edition Project X variants that will make all Mercedes-AMGs, BMW Ms, and Audi RSs seem slow.
Read our full review of the 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII.
Read our full review of the 2017 Pagani Zonda Fantasma Evo.
Read our full review of the 2018 Jaguar XJR575.