2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII. Along with the normal Rolls-Roycey words like “heritage,” “brand,” and “bespoke,” was a repeated phrase. A phrase that shouldn’t be necessary. A phrase eliciting a concept that should be obvious if true. The new car, it said, was “not an evolution” on the current Phantom. That, friends, is exciting to hear.
Don’t get us wrong, we like the train-engine-bolted-to-a-horseless-carriage look, and the beast’s scale and presence on the street. Trouble is, since the car first took to unsmoothing our air with its cathedral-facade front end in 2003, the looks have gotten a little, um, tired. Blame the mercilessness of time. Blame the success of the car, which means they’re on every street corner in west Los Angeles. Blame the “imitation-is-the-most-sincere-form-of-flattery” Chrysler 300. Blame the fact that this car’s magnetism vaults it into the public eye more frequently than a Kardashian. Whatever the cause, fact is, the Phantom needs a reboot. A subtle evolution a la the last Bentley Continental won’t do.
The Phantom is not only the ultimate status symbol, it’s the Holy Grail of handcrafted luxury automobiles. Its decadent design is derived from an aluminum structure that rides atop an air suspension for euphoric comfort. Prodigious power is provided by a 563-hp twin-turbo V-12 paired with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. An interior tailored for kings can even be adorned with a custom-artwork dash. Its dizzying array of tech includes night vision and a distinct laser-light system.