Making its debut in 2007 at the North American International Auto Show, the Phantom Drophead Coupe is currently in its second generation, with the British luxury brand having unveiled the Series II in 2013. Updates included changes to the exterior cosmetics, enhanced cabin equipment, and improved fuel economy. 

This $474,600 vehicle is one of the most expensive Rolls models available, but that hasn’t stopped the marque from creating several special editions that cost even more, just in case, you know, the standard car won’t cut it at the yacht club.

The latest example is the "Nighthawk," offered exclusively to North American customers. Part of the Rolls-Royce Bespoke customization program, this ultra-luxury convertible was first seen on public roads in Phoenix during the lavish events of the rich and famous during Super Bowl XLIX. Only nine units will be created.

Rolls-Royce says the design was “inspired by stealth technology in modern aerospace development,” but clearly, the car doesn’t blend into the background. Even with dark paint and minor exterior changes, the Phantom Nighthawk commands attention, especially when you take a peek at the transformed interior.

What did Rolls and Bespoke do to create its two-door, ground-bound aircraft? Read on to find out.

Click past the jump to read more about the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Nighthawk.

  • 2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Nighthawk
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V12
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    453
  • Torque @ RPM:
    531
  • Displacement:
    6.75 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    150 mph
  • Price:
    500000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Nighthawk High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 614642

Befittingly, the Phantom Nighthawk is only available in Diamond Black metallic paint. Rolls was inspired by the radar-absorbent material coating used on stealth aircraft for the gloss-free windshield surround, which is continued onto the matte Diamond Black hood treatment. 

Overall, the exterior design is largely unchanged from the standard Phantom Drophead Coupe, with a squared-off nose, long wheelbase, and extended rear boot. The front-end features standard, rectangular adaptive LED headlamps (an industry first when the Series II was introduced in 2013), which sit above a strip of LED Daytime Running Lamps. The grille is enormous and chrome, while the seven-spoke alloy wheels are 21-inches in diameter and have a polished finish. Finally, ingress and egress is dramatized a bit with suicide doors (called “coach doors,” if you happen to work in the marketing department at Rolls-Royce).

Interior

2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Nighthawk High Resolution Interior
- image 614641

Here we see the clearest evidence of Bespoke’s handiwork. As a continuation of the military aircraft theme, the instrument panel has carbon-fiber-faced dials with incandescent orange tips designed “to evoke the feeling of performance cockpit instruments.” There’s also plenty of carbon fiber in the dashboard and door panels.

While composites are extensively utilized, there is also a small farm’s worth of animal skin, with Hotspur Red and Black full-grain leather upholstery covering just about everything not already carbon-fiber. This includes the transmission tunnel and boot trim. There’s space in the back for a few supermodels. A huge selection of additional options are available to buyers, for further customization.

Drivetrain

2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Nighthawk Interior
- image 615526

Rolls-Royce was content to leave the drivetrain unaltered, carrying over the stock 6.75-liter V-12 powerplant found in the Phantom in years past. Creating 453 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque, the Phantom Drophead Coupe sprints to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, eventually reaching a top speed of 149 mph.

Putting this power onto the pavement is an eight-speed, automatic ZF-gearbox, first introduced in the 2013 update. This unit helps improve overall mileage and emissions, yielding an additional 10 percent of the former and 38g/km less of the latter when compared to the Series I.

Considering the Nighthawk bears the nickname of the F-117, it would have been nice to see Rolls-Royce throw on its Dynamic Package, which tightens the chassis, stiffens the suspension, and quickens the gearshifts. However, even though the Nighthawk is dressed like an attack fighter, the performance is still more private business jet.

Prices

2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Nighthawk Interior
- image 615524

Each of the nine Phantom Nighthawks will start at $569,600, a $95,000 increase over the standard Drophead Coupe. While that is quite a lot for some matte paint, carbon fiber interior panels and orange gauges, anyone seriously considering purchasing this car will inevitably customize it well beyond the original figure. For the target market, $100K is but a trifle.

Competition

Bentley Grand Convertible Concept

2015 Bentley Grand Convertible Concept Exterior
- image 579540

While not yet confirmed for full-scale production, Bentley showcased its drop-top concept at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, and for all intents and purposes, it looks complete enough to hit the pavement running.

With just two doors and a shorter wheelbase, the Grand Convertible is built off the Mulsanne platform, as is evident from the exterior styling and proportions. The interior features tanned leather with diamond quilting on the seats and door panels, as well as walnut and chrome trim. A large wooden deck behind the rear seats imitates the look of a speedboat.

Such allusions are appropriate, considering the vehicle’s 530-horsepower, 811-pound-feet V-8 engine. That kind of output should be good enough to propel the Grand Convertible to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 190 mph. Figures like that would make this Bentley one of the fastest luxury convertibles in the world.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

2014 - 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante High Resolution Exterior
- image 563454

Speaking of fast drop-tops, Aston Martin knows a thing or two about making those. If the Nighthawk is an attack fighter, the Volante is an ICBM. With an exterior inspired by the One-77 supercar, this two-door has a 2+2 layout dripping in full-grain Luxmil leather, plus all the right optional equipment, like a carbon-fiber center stack, rear parking assist camera, and perforated leather door inserts.

However, its most interesting feature is under the curved and pointed hood, where a 6.0-liter, 568-horsepower V-12 pushes this beauty from 0-to-60 just under four seconds. Top speed is rated at 197 mph.

While the Aston’s ride quality is sure to be less comfortable than that of the Rolls, the sacrifice comes with big gains in terms of handling performance. Aluminum keeps the chassis from twisting too much, while the carbon-ceramic-matrix brakes are from Brembo. There are also plenty of drivers-aides acronyms, like Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Positive Torque Control (PTC), and an Adaptive Damping System (ADS). Topping it off are standard 20-inch wheels.

Conclusion

2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Nighthawk High Resolution Exterior
- image 615523

The folks who end up actually buying a Phantom Nighthawk will almost certainly have more money than they know what to do with, but won’t take themselves too seriously. Rolls-Royce only needs to add a heads-up display and side-mounted missile pods to make this car what it truly aspires to be: a half-million-dollar fantasy machine. For the money, it’s not particularly fast, well-appointed, or striking to look at, but it’s still more than capable of eliciting a smile from behind that three-spoke steering wheel and acres of carbon-fiber paneling. And with only nine examples ever created, it’ll be easy for the valet to find.

  • Leave it
    • Outrageously expensive
    • No performance upgrades
    • A bit tacky

Press Release

The latest Rolls-Royce exclusively created for North American customers has arrived in Arizona this evening. The first of nine Phantom Drophead Coupé ‘Nighthawk’ Bespoke Collection cars hit the streets of Phoenix, featuring bold design and a low profile inspired by stealth technology in modern aerospace development. ‘Nighthawk’ features a combination of modern materials and subtle colour to create a new contemporary interpretation of a classic Rolls-Royce motor car. Following its first public drive in Phoenix, Arizona this evening, ‘Nighthawk’ will be on display to millions of Americans during the festivities surrounding Super Bowl XLIX.

Phantom Drophead Coupé ‘Nighthawk’ Collection

These nine stunning Phantom Drophead Coupés showcase the unique design capabilities of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ Bespoke team, and are now available through the company’s 41 North American retail dealers. Inspired by the sleek yet bold designs of stealth aircraft, ‘Nighthawk’s’ designers have used cutting edge technology and materials to ensure the stunning Rolls-Royce Phantom Bespoke Drophead Coupé will not go unnoticed. Incorporating the latest design and technology with the super-luxurious hallmarks of the brand, ‘Nighthawk’ features a lustrous Diamond Black Metallic paint with a Matt Diamond Black bonnet. The windscreen surround design is inspired by radar-absorbent material (RAM) coating used in aviation.

To complete the modern and streamlined feel, the Rolls-Royce Bespoke team has incorporated carbon fiber material throughout the Hotspur Red and Black full-grain leather interior. Carbon fiber design has also been integrated into the dashboard panels as well as the panels adorning the signature coach door. The instrument panel features carbon dials with incandescent orange tips to evoke the feeling of performance cockpit instruments. No detail is left out with additional Bespoke touches such as the leather-trimmed transmission tunnel and leather-lined boot trim.

Like all Rolls-Royce motor cars, ‘Nighthawk’ is powered by a world-class V12 engine delivering effortless, bold performance. Adaptive LED headlamps adorn the front-end, including a glowing bar of LED Daytime Running Lamps giving a distinctive look to the motor car day and night.

“We commissioned ‘Nighthawk’ to demonstrate to our owners the unparalleled creativity of the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bespoke team. Bespoke is the underlying essence of our brand and its options are limited only by the imagination of our owners and how they can extend their vision to the next Rolls-Royce motor car they commission,” explained Eric Shepherd, President of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars North America. “Additionally, ’Nighthawk’ exudes an understated image of power with confidence, a characteristic many of our owners share,” he added.

Phantom is Rolls-Royce’s pinnacle model. It was created with the desire to build the ‘Best Car in the World’, and as such is a vehicle designed without compromise. When combined with the ability for customization through the Bespoke Program, the result is the ultimate in automotive excellence, a modern interpretation of the super-luxury motor car and of the luxury lifestyle for North America and worldwide.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars had its fifth consecutive year of record sales in 2014, topping 4,000 units for the first time. North America led all regions with 30 percent growth and today is the largest region for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars globally. It is also at the top of Bespoke sales worldwide with Bespoke design content more than doubling in 2014. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has 41 dealers in North America, with 36 in the United States, four in Canada and one in Mexico.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: