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New take on a vintage nameplate: Rolls-Royce debuts Phantom VII

Upside down and inside out from The Spirit of Ecstasy’s tip to the sedan’s tail, Rolls-Royce has remade the Phantom. The all-new eighth-generation Phantom, known as Phantom VIII,  The new Phantom’s design was heavily influenced by previous generations of the car while its appearance falls into line with Dawn and the company’s forthcoming SUV.

On the outside, even the casual observer will notice there are hardly any visible seam lines in the body, giving the Phantom a look as if it’s made from one solid piece of aluminum. Its stainless-steel portrait grille is higher than in the previous edition and is integrated into the body of the car. Laserlight headlamps are standard.

Rolls-Royce’s new Architecture of Luxury, an all-aluminum spaceframe architecture designed by Rolls-Royce engineers, serves as the car’s underpinnings. It will be the future of the brand and the base for all models moving forward. Philip Koehn, Director of Engineering confirmed the news saying, “Project Cullinan and eventually the next Ghost, Wraith, Dawn will ride on this architecture, as well as future coachbuild projects.”

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Thanks to that architecture, the new Phantom is lighter and stiffer, boasting a 30-percent increase in rigidity. It features a new double-wishbone front axle and 5-link rear axle, helping to control body roll, as well as making the car more agile and stable, according to the automaker. Its next-gen self-levelling air suspension is designed to increase the comfort level provided by the car’s Magic Carpet Ride.

Rolls-Royce has taken special care to insulate the car as well as possible against road noise, resulting in a 10-percent quieter ride experience over Phantom VII. Starting with a 6mm two-layer glazing around the exterior of the car and extending to the largest ever cast aluminum joints in a body-in-white, and the use of high absorption materials. The floor and the bulkhead of the frame are made of a double-skin alloy, helping to reduce noise. The headliner, trunk, and doors also received sound absorbing upgrades.

Powering the Phantom VIII is a 6.75-litre V12 engine, designed to rev low in order to be as silent as possible. It delivers 563 bhp and around 663 lb.-ft. of torque. The powertrain is complete when mated to an 8-speed ZF gearbox with Satellite Aided Transmission anticipating your acceleration and deceleration.

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Phantom VIII comes equipped with the latest Rolls-Royce technology suite featuring numerous assistance systems including Alertness Assistant, a 4-camera system with Panoramic View, all-round visibility including helicopter view, Night Vision and Vision Assist, Active Cruise Control, collision warning, pedestrian warning, cross-traffic warning, lane departure and lane change warning, an industry leading 7×3 high-resolution head-up display, WiFi hotspot, and of course the latest navigation and entertainment systems.

The Phantom VIII exudes comfort and elegance. Seats have been redesigned for added contentment while Rear Picnic tables and Rear Theatre Monitors are electrically deployed via the push of a button. Buyers can choose between a lounge seat, individual seats with occasional armrest, individual seats with fixed center console and the newly introduced sleeping seat. Inside the new rear center console are whisky glasses and decanter, champagne flutes and coolbox. The front door armrests, front center console lid, lower C-Pillar, rear side armrests with all individual seats, and rear center armrest are all heated.

The Phantom VIII will go on sale later this year and will start around $450,000.

About Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Eileen is the writer of the nationally syndicated column Automotive Minute in The Business Journals, which explores the automotive industry focusing on news, reviews, and interviews. She loves finding out about the business strategy, design, and drivability of vehicles. Eileen is a contributor to U.S. News & World Report Best Cars.

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