From £313,200
The most exclusive grand tourer of them all

Our Verdict

Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé
Two-door Coupé is the third, most driver-oriented variant yet

Can the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé offer enough extra driver appeal to make it a viable sporty alternative to the saloon or convertible?

What is it?

The entirely predictable coupe version of Rolls’ Phantom Drophead cabriolet. Only the very richest need apply – but the lucky few who put one in their (inevitably well-stocked) garages will get themselves the most exclusive grand tourer on the planet.

Power comes from the same 6.75-litre V12 engine that powers all the BMW-era Rollers, meaning 453bhp and 531lb ft of torque. That’s undoubtedly more-than-plenty – although the figures look slightly anaemic next to the astonishing 731lb ft that the Bentley Brooklands extracts from its far more old-fashioned turbocharged V8.

What’s it like?

An amazing experience. You could spend hours in the Phantom Coupe without even moving and not run out of things to look at and touch. As with other modern Rollers, the detailing is exquisite, from the rear-hinged ‘suicide’ doors to the umbrellas that pop out of the front wings.

The neatest toy is the so-called ‘Starlight’ headlining – an extra cost option that adds 1600 tiny lights into the ceiling, creating the effect of sitting beneath a glowing night sky. And yes, millionaire owners will be able to specify their own crests or patterns to be included in the pattern.

Driving the Phantom Coupe proves it’s far more than just a show-pony. Indeed, some subtle dynamic tweaks ensure that this is by far the best-handling of the Phantom family, and the first that an owner might try to pilot in an enthusiastic fashion.

Steering weight has been increased compared to the Phantom saloon and Drophead, and although the rack is still very low-geared, it delivers enough communication to make brisk progress an stress-free experience. The Phantom Coupe never feels less than massive, but it does a far better job of shrinking its apparent dimensions on a sweeping road than the saloon or cabrio do.

Rolls-Royce has also added a ‘Sport’ button to the steering wheel to sharpen the transmission’s reactions. It works reasonably well, although there’s still no way for the driver to directly determine which of the six ratios is engaged – but despite the V12 engine’s silken efforts, the Phantom Coupe never feels quite as rapid as you think it should. It wouldn’t see which way an enthusiastically driven Brooklands went.

The lack of straight-line performance probably won’t bother potential owners too much – especially not as they will be getting themselves one of the most refined vehicles in the world. The Coupe is amazingly quiet and comfortable – conversations can be conducted in hushed tones at the sort of speeds necessary for crossing entire Continents. Firming up the ride hasn’t diminished ride comfort either. All in all, an amazing car.

So, should I buy one?

You should certainly start saving. The Rolls is almost £70k more expensive than the Bentley Brooklands – but at this end of the market that’s not going to be of anything more than peripheral concern. If you’re looking for the most exclusive coupe in the world – and you’ve got the bank balance to land it – then this is it.

Mike Duff

Join the debate

Comments
16

25 June 2008

If I had eleventy-million pounds, I'd have the Bentley, easily. Exclusive the Rolls may be, but pretty it ain't. The Brooklands looks just right. The Rolls really doesn't.

25 June 2008

Not with you on that, although the Volkswagen Brooklands is handsome, so was Clark Gable and he was from a different era. This BMW Coupe although not pretty scores on being modern. So George Clooney on a bad hair day then...?

VW 0

BMW 3

if it's heavy, it ain't happenin' 

25 June 2008

If I had enough finances to be snobby about things, I wouldn't touch the Bentley. Rolls everytime - its one of the few super-luxury cars I've ever genuinely hankered after.

25 June 2008

I've always been a Bentley man myself (again, if I ever had the money!) and would still take the Brooklands, but only just! These latest Rolls (this and the Drophead to Bentley's Azure) are very attractive; the first Rolls designs I've liked for many a year. Good luck to them, I say. A bit of friendly rivalry between the two (of the like not seen since the early '30s) would be good for both marques, I think.


25 June 2008

[quote NiallOswald]If I had eleventy-million pounds, I'd have the Bentley, easily. Exclusive the Rolls may be, but pretty it ain't. The Brooklands looks just right. The Rolls really doesn't.[/quote]

Last Christmas I saw a mud-covered Drophead Coupe in a Lake District car park. It was a majestic thing, larger than could be reasonably expected or managed in every direction (I particularly remember being surprised how tall it was). It has the looks, although the picture accompanying this article does make it look fussy, in the flesh its just jaw-dropping.

§

25 June 2008

I got to sit in and rev an Azure, marvelling at the bellow from the huge tailpipes and the way 3 tons of car rocked on its suspension. If a nice man from RR feels like letting me do the same with a Phantom then I might just be persuaded ;) The interior of the Bentley felt properly special (as you would hope for £230k+), I imagine the Rolls is just as good if not better to be in.

Maybe silver isn't the best colour, I just can't get past the 'Milhouse from the Simpsons' aspect of the styling. Something strange about the rear 3/4 view too - I prefer the sleeker Bentley to the dumpier Rolls.

Still, if you've got the cash for one, you can probably afford both...

26 June 2008

Another automotive irrelevancy in this day and age. Stupidly expensive, ugly, thirsty and hedonistic, I just do not see the point. This sort of car needs to be consigned to the history books.

www.eco-trainer.net

26 June 2008

[quote theoriginalshoe]

Another automotive irrelevancy in this day and age. Stupidly expensive, ugly, thirsty and hedonistic, I just do not see the point. This sort of car needs to be consigned to the history books.

[/quote]

What subjective rubbish. Just because it is irrelevant to you does not make it irrelevant to everyone else. Someone with more money than you (3 of your 4 points covered) and a different perception of beauty (the 4th) will think differently.

1 July 2008

Something (a product) only becomes irrelevant when nobody buys it.

I think Bentley and Rolls have nothing to worry about there. If I really was swimming in wealth, I would buy one of each because they are rather different cars, based on platforms from different eras.

But I really must ask why Rolls decided on such a hideous front headlamp treatment for their Coupe & Cabriolet. Revolting, in my humble opinion. Such a shame when the rest of the car is rather handsome and most definitely distinctive.

1 July 2008

I'm told by people who should know that sales of what you might called moderately esoteric machines - Astons and the cheaper Bentleys - have fallen off a cliff in the last couple of months, so it will be interesting to see what happens to cars like the RR at the top end of the market. As always during an economic downturn, the question won't be whether people still have enough money - the rich tend to stay rich in these situations - but whether they feel splashing out the best part of half a million quid on the motor is the done thing when the plebs are tightening their belts.

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