Does it rewrite the definition of luxury?

If there was ever an automaker that had a flagship model lead the way to success, that would be Rolls-Royce, riding on the magic carpet ride that has been the Phantom. With roots that predate World War II and an illustrious history that was only put on hold for a short period of time between 1939 and 1950 due to the second World War, the Phantom is one of the longest-running models in automotive history. It has always been the epitome of luxury, even when the very first model that took the streets by storm back in 1925. Over the years, the Phantom has seen a total of seven generational shifts with the most recent happening for the 2018 model year. The new Phantom VIII debuts with a fairly fresh look, an all-new aluminum architecture, and an all-new 6.75-liter, turbocharged, V-12. The 2018 Phantom also takes a huge step into the modern era with a new digital instrument cluster, updated infotainment system, and night vision, among other things.

And, if that’s not good enough for you, this baby even has “The Gallery,” which is a new take on the dashboard that allows customers to specify what works of art they want displayed inside the vehicle on the upper dash. If that doesn’t redefine luxury, nothing ever will. That new V-12 delivers a cool 563 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque, so there’s plenty of power to go with that luxury as well. With that in mind, it’s time for us to take a much deeper look into the new Phantom VIII, so let’s get to it, starting first with something that can’t be ignored – it’s unique and illustrious history.

  • 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V12
  • Transmission:
    8-Speed ZF
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    563
  • Torque @ RPM:
    663
  • Displacement:
    6.75 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
    475000
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    8.8/10

History

1925 Rolls Royce Phantom Maharaja of Kota Exterior
- image 411262

The Rolls-Royce Phantom went into production as the replacement model for the Silver Ghost in 1925, and it featured push-rod overhead valves. The four-door sedan underwent many name changes before the Phantom II came in 1929. Initially, the car was christened as New Phantom, which later changed to Phantom I.

The Gilded History of the Rolls-Royce Phantom
- image 724714

The Phantom II came as its replacement and carried the same engine as the previous model, but with an all-new chassis. Rolls-Royce also made a special version called the Continental, which featured shorter wheelbase and stiffer suspension. The U.S. market received Phantom II models made in Derby, as the Massachusetts factory was closed down after the Phantom I was discontinued. Rolls-Royce only made the chassis, engine and mechanical parts of the vehicle, while everything else was provided by coachbuilder of owner’s choice.

In 1936, Rolls-Royce launched the Phantom III replacing the previous model and this became the sole V-12 Rolls-Royce until 1998 when Silver Seraph was introduced. A total of just 727 V-12 Phantom III chassis were built between 1936 and 1939. The Phantom III went out of production after 1939. Rolls-Royce again launched the Phantom brand with Phantom IV in 1950. This model became the rarest Rolls-Royce ever built with only 18 models ever produced. Rolls-Royce reserved the Phantom brand for royalty and heads of the state and powered the car with a 5.7-liter, inline-eight-cylinder power plant. This model also got the bodywork from individual coachbuilders and emblem of Spirit of Ecstasy was put on the bonnets for the first time ever on a Phantom model. The last model was built in 1956.

The Gilded History of the Rolls-Royce Phantom
- image 724722

In 1959, the Rolls-Royce Phantom V came out. The super-luxurious four-door saloon was based on the Silver Cloud II and carried the same V-8 engine of 6,230cc displacement along with a four-speed automatic transmission. The exclusive car was owned by many high profile personalities including Queen Elizabeth and her daughter Queen Elizabeth II. The Phantom VI came out in 1968 based on the Phantom V with a new engine which was also powering Silver Shadow. The four-door luxury car usually came in limousine form, largely made by Mulliner Park Ward. Frau based in Italy made at least two convertibles, one with two doors and the other one with four. There were two engine options both in V-8 configuration in 6.2-liter and 6.75-liter. The production stopped in 1990 after a total of 374 units.

The Phantom flagship was reintroduced in 2003 and continues to be available in the market. This the first model introduced after BMW took-over the brand. The car is assembled in Rolls-Royce plant in Goodwood. The current Phantom VIII was available in 2-door drophead convertible and 2-door coupe style along with 4-door saloon, so the Phantom VIII should get the same variants over the next couple of years

For more information on the Phantom’s long and illustrious history, check out The Guilded History of the Rolls-Royce Phantom. Otherwise, let’s talk about the Phantom VIII and what it brings to the table for 2018.

Exterior

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII Wallpaper quality High Resolution Exterior
- image 725009
2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Exterior
- image 724998
2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Exterior
- image 725159
The car still has the same generally boxy design and, if you were to look at just a silhouette of the VII next to the VIII, you wouldn’t be able to spot the difference.

In what would be typical of a facelift from other manufacturers, what we see with the Phantom VIII is a lot of the same, but plenty of new at the same time. Overall, the car still has the same generally boxy design and, if you were to look at just a silhouette of the VII next to the VIII, you wouldn’t be able to spot the difference. But, what’s important to remember here is that the little subtleties make all the difference. Rolls took the time to construct the aluminum body in a way that closes the gap at the seams as much as possible, with the only noticeable gaps in the body resulting from the doors themselves. All other seams between body parts have a clearance so tight that you can’t see them at a glance or have been integrated in such a way that you can’t tell they are there. The other big note on this front is the way the grille is now integrated into the nose. Instead of being a separate unit, it’s part of the front fascia.

To the untrained eye, the front end might not look all that different, but there’s actually a lot going on here. First off, those two central vents below the grille have been replaced by a slightly recessed area for the front license plate, while the air dam and corner vents are all now one big piece with a honeycomb mesh for extra character. Those weird horizontal driving lights from the outgoing model have also disappeared and in their place is a smaller set of vents, one on each corner, that provides a look of depth and some mild aggressiveness – something that could attract the younger wealthy crowd. As we move higher in the front end, you’ll notice that the nose itself sits higher, raising the Spirit of Ecstacy emblem higher than on the outgoing model. The headlights are smaller and sleeker than before, and also recessed into the fascia by a couple of inches. Inside, them, you’ll find integrated LED running lights as well as the “most advanced” laser headlight system that is said to project light nearly 2,000 feet down the road, illuminating even the darkest of nights. Finally, the sharp body lines of the hood have been moved further inward, and the hood has a taller presence, really accenting the new grille quite nicely.

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Exterior
- image 725012
You can’t even make out the fuel filler door in the C-Pillar, and the stationary glass behind the rear door is now a bit larger at the bottom with rounded corners

Moving over to the side profile, the changes are a lot less obvious, but they are there. For instance, the slope to the rear end, where the rear windscreen is, is designed at a larger angle, which should make it a little more aerodynamic. You can’t even make out the fuel filler door in the C-Pillar, and the stationary glass behind the rear door is now a bit larger at the bottom with rounded corners. The chrome trim here has also grown a bit wider, and matches the door handles, but isn’t all the gaudy, really. The lower half of the body did actually change quite a bit. For instance, those dramatic body lines below the belt line have been smoothed out and are barely visible. This adds a bit of mystery to the side, but also gives a sense of cleanliness. Further down, the side skirts are now the same height from front to rear, and a gentle body line runs from the front wheel well toward the rear, where it blends into the body just past the central door seam. The wheel wells are also significantly toned down, now featuring just a light defining the line at the top. It’s a very attractive look, indeed.

Around back, you’ll find even more changes. As you can see, the rear quarters are bubblier than before and don’t sit quite as far below the rear deck. And, because of the unique angle of the rear glass, it’s also got a slight curvature to it while to rounded corners of the top adds just a bit of extra character. The license place recess is now a bit deeper in the deck lid, while the chrome trim above has grown a bit to overlap the recess and takes on a 3D look – it’s a nice touch really. Down below, the rounded rear fascia and slightly concave corners are the only character to speak of aside from the chrome trim that sits just below the deck lid. The exhaust outlets haven’t changed in shape but look to be just a bit wider. Finally, the most important change here is the taillights. Those old, dated units of the Series II VII are long gone and have been replaced by sleeker modernized units that feature an all-new matrix. The taillight portion is made up of the outermost edges, while the inner portion is reserved for brake light functions. In the center of each sits a tiny LED reverse light to go with the Rolls-Royce emblem in the center.

So as you can see, to the untrained eye, or even at a glance, there isn’t really a whole lot to talk about. But, if you go over the details, you can tell that Rolls put a lot of time and effort into revamping its flagship sedan.

Visual Comparison

2013 Rolls Royce Phantom Series II
- image 725027
2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII Wallpaper quality High Resolution Exterior
- image 725009
2013 Rolls Royce Phantom Series II
- image 725028
Rolls-Royce Reveals Next-Gen Phantom VIII High Resolution Exterior
- image 725029
2013 Rolls Royce Phantom Series II Exterior AutoShow
- image 448710
2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Exterior
- image 725030

Interior

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Interior
- image 725002
The interior of the Phantom VII was really more of an acquired taste with its overly flat and uneventful face.

When it comes to the interior, you might find that, somehow, Rolls managed to really bring some serious change into the fold for this generation and has made the Phantom more modern than ever. The interior of the Phantom VII was really more of an acquired taste with its overly flat and uneventful face, those weird, minivan-line glass panels in the A-Pillars, and a center console that reminds of something you might see in a van. It’s not that it wasn’t elegant, it was just really dated for a model with this kind of credentials. But, that problem is no more, as Rolls really did go above and beyond what most of us here at TopSpeed really expected. Oddly enough, the dash still has the same general boxy shape, and what more could you really ask for, as it really does match the exterior design. But for this generation, there are lots of new little goodies up front. For starters, the upper tier of the dash is now known as “The Gallery” and is home to artwork that can be chosen by customers at the time of customization – talk about luxury.

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Interior
- image 725008

Moving beyond that, those old, classic, and dated gauges ahead of the steering wheel have been replaced by an all-digital unit. And, before all of you start losing your minds, take a look at it. Rolls did an excellent job at maintaining the classic look as much as possible, with the digital gauges imitating the analog gauges of the last-gen models. You’ll find what appears to be the same circular HVAC vents, but hose in the center have now be dropped down to sit below the infotainment display and above the CD changer controls. The HVAC controls down blow still feature the same horizontal temperature controls, but the knobs are now smaller and sit above them, while the physical buttons sit much higher. Ultimately, this reorganization and general refinement has allowed for a much cleaner look while everything is much closer together and easier to access by both the driver and the front passenger.

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Interior
- image 725005
The center console is also heavily revised with the front portion sitting a bit higher than before and the armrest unit leading the way with a knob controller for the built-in infotainment system

The steering wheel is all new, with those funky buttons below the hub replaced by sleeker thumb units. The upper side spokes also get thumb buttons – something the last-gen model didn’t have. All three spokes are shorter than before, making for a slightly smaller wheel, while the lower spoke is now hollow in the center. The center console is also heavily revised with the front portion sitting a bit higher than before and the armrest unit leading the way with a knob controller for the built-in infotainment system. That arm rest, by the way, is now a single-piece unit as opposed to that weird dual-opening design from before. The seats get a new stitching pattern while the doors are layered with glossy wood trim and chrome inserts – an absolute must in a vehicle of this caliber.

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Interior
- image 725006

Moving to the rear, there’s a whole lot going on here as well. Obviously, space is of the utmost importance, so there’s plenty of that. You get the clever and unique LED lighting in the room, while the center console in the center gives rear passenger their very own space. As such, each gets their own climate controls on their respective doors, and curtains mounted to the glass allows for some extra privacy as long as you don’t mind your driver seeing what you’re doing. In the rear of the front seats, there is a pair of picnic tables as well as rear theatre monitors, both of which are electronically controlled and concealed behind the glossy wood trim. The rear seats can be changed at the time of customization, with options like an intimate lounge seat, individual seats with a concealable center console, and a newly introduced sleeping seat, which as you probably guessed is likely to be the most comfortable option.

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Interior
- image 725003

As far as other little goodies are concerned, there are a few. For instance, there are a number of heated items inside that go far beyond that of your typical heated seats. To put it simply, you can now warm up all four armrests, the rear center armrest, front center console lid, and the lower C-pillar in addition to all four seats. And, you don’t have to worry about sound pollution either. The new Phantom has no less than 285 pounds of sound insulation plus double glazing to help keep the ride quiet.

Drivetrain

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Exterior
- image 725013
Architecture of Luxury translates into an all-new aluminum space frame that includes double wishbone suspension up front and a five-link setup in the rear

Architecture of Luxury. That’s what Rolls is calling its newest underpinnings, and it translates into an all-new aluminum space frame that includes double wishbone suspension up front and a five-link setup in the rear. According to Rolls, this new suspension is able to deliver major improvements in control over lateral roll and shear forces, while making the car more agile and stable than ever. Four-wheel steering is also added into the mix, which should contribute to a better overall driving experience.

But, there’s still one missing piece to the equation, and that’s the air suspension system. It’s a self-levelling system that is said to make “millions of calculations” per second all based on things like body position, steering inputs, camera information, and wheel acceleration. Rolls-Royce claims this system allows the suspension to see ahead of the car and adjust as needed proactively instead of reactively. This “proactive” system only works at speeds of up to 62 mph, however, so ride quality may not be quite as good at highway speeds. All told, the new Phantom is lighter than ever before and is said to be 30-percent stiffer than the outgoing model.

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 724995
Lurking in the front bowls of the world’s most exquisite car sits an all-new 6.75-liter V-12 engine that’s not only massive but quite powerful as well.

Under that long, sexy hood is the other centerpiece, one that provides more than enough motivation to get you down the road not only in style but with a quickness as well. Lurking in the front bowls of the world’s most exquisite car sits an all-new 6.75-liter V-12 engine that’s not only massive but quite powerful as well. It delivers a cool 563 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque. And, to top it off, it’s also mounted to a pair of turbochargers – something previous models just didn’t have. And, since those turbos are in place, all of that gut-wrenching torque comes in at a very low 1,700 rpm – impressive. These figures also represent an increase of 109 ponies and 133 pound-feet of twist over the Phantom VII – now that’s quite the improvement. Sending power to the wheels is an eight-speed ZF gearbox with optimized gear ratios and an attitude problem.

Rolls has yet to release any official performance figures outside of power output, so if you’re wondering about the 60-mph sprint or top speed, you’re out of luck for now. What we can tell you, however, is that there should be a huge improvement over the VII. That Phantom could hit 62 mph in 5.9 seconds, but the Phantom VIII is significantly lighter and has something like twenty percent more power, so that figure should drop pretty dramatically. The 62-mph sprint could reside in the high-four-second range, with the low-five-second range being a little more likely – it really all depends on just how much weight was really shed with this generation thanks to that new chassis and suspension setup.

Drivetrain Specifications

Engine , 6.75-liter V-12
Horsepower 563 HP
Torque 663 LB-FT @ 1,700 RPM
Transmission ZF 8-Speed gearbox
0 to 60 mph 5 seconds (est.)
Top Speed 155 mph

Pricing

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Exterior
- image 724987

Considering we don’t even have full performance specs yet, it shouldn’t be a surprise that pricing is a complete mystery as of now. Of course, anything sporting a Rolls-Royce badge is usually associated with tons of custom work and individual personalization, so sticker prices don’t really mean much – nobody buys a Rolls without making it their own before taking delivery. With that said, the initial starting price could come in somewhere around $475,000, but customers will surely surpass that rather easily once they start having their way with them. It’s not a bad starting point, though.

Competition

Bentley Mulsanne

2017 Bentley Mulsanne High Resolution Exterior
- image 666911
2017 Bentley Mulsanne High Resolution Exterior
- image 666927

The Mulsanne came to be when it was time to replace the aging Arnage, and for 2017 it received a fairly extensive facelift – for a Bentley, anyway. As far as comparisons go, if you’re looking for a super-high-end sedan, you’ve got a choice between the Phantom and the Mulsanne. Both of which take things to extremes. Like the Phantom, the Mulsanne also has a somewhat boxy design, which is also emphasized greatly by its large, rectangular grille and dominating body lines. Inside, it’s about as luxurious as you can get with loads of wooden trim, acres of leather, and is highly customizable – do you want to drive it or just ride in the back? It’s a tough call, really. Here’s the real kicker, though – especially if you’re a power or speed addict.

The Mulsanne uses a 6.75-liter engine for motivation, just like the Phantom, but this engine is a V-8. It delivers 505 horsepower and 752 pound-feet of torque, but Bentley needs to deliver those performance specs quickly and correctly because the Mulsanne can hit 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds and tops out at 184 mph. Those are significantly hard figures to beat when it comes to massive luxury sedans like this. Pricing, on the other hand, starts out relatively lower than the phantom, with the last-gen model commanding about $290,000 before options and customization. Pricing for the facelifted model has yet to be released, but a sticker price of roughly $300,000 is expected.

Read our full review of the Bentley Mulsanne.

Conclusion

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Exterior
- image 725158

Admittedly, I wasn’t too impressed with what we had seen up to the debut. The spy shots and teasers left me really wanting more. But, one has to remember that this is Rolls-Royce we’re talking about and extreme makeovers aren’t exactly its forte. And, while the changes to each segment of the car are far from revolutionary, collectively, the Phantom VIII is a huge improvement over its predecessor. There’s enough new outside to keep it fresh, and the refinement of the interior is more than adequate. Most of the work came into play under the skin, where the supporting bits and pieces really tie the car together as a whole. So, while there isn’t a huge difference between the Phantom VIII and the Phantom VII, there’s enough to keep those wealthy enough to afford one more than happy. You just can’t get luxury like this in too many places, you know?

But, what do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Spy Shots

November 4, 2016 - Next Rolls Royce Phantom begins dropping camouflage

June 6, 2016 - Upcoming Rolls Royce Phantom caught inside and out

February 9, 2016 - First testing session

Update History

Update 7/18/2017: It’s been eight months since we last saw the Phantom in prototype form, and now, a few leaked images of the 2018 Phantom flyer has given us an early look at what we can expect when it debuts. Check out our special section below to find out all about it.

Updated 11/04/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Rolls Royce Phantom out for a new testing session and, when compared to the previous prototypes, this one lost all of those fake panels under the foil.

Updated 07/05/2016: Rolls Royce dropped the first teaser image for the eighth generation Phantom which is set to be unveiled sometime in 2018. While it offers pretty much nothing on the future design language, the new image offers us a first look at the company’s all-new aluminum architecture, that will be used for both the new Phantom, but also for a series of future Rolls-Royce models.

Updated 06/06/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Rolls Royce Phantom out for a new testing session, and for the first time they managed to also take come shots of the interior.

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