Fabulously opulent. Best in the back, but the chauffeur will be happy too.

Our Verdict

Rolls-Royce Phantom

The Rolls-Royce Phantom comes with opulence befitting its huge price tag. It is the benchmark for ride quality

Matt Prior
5 October 2006

What is it?

You don't need to drive this car. Nothing personal, you understand – it’s just that its entire existence has precisely nothing to do with the driver.

Unless he’s prone to eavesdropping, in which case he’s going to be disappointed, because this stretched Phantom, now on sale in the UK, has a sliding partition to separate rear-seat employers from front-seat employees.

What's it like?

There's an extra 250mm in the wheelbase, inserted right behind the B-pillar. It makes the rear accommodation (already hardly shabby) much more accommodating.

The rear doors are longer (as is the roof), and they now open to nearly 90 degrees, rather than 80. Headroom remains unchanged, but legroom now exceeds a London cab’s. As does comfort. But you’re not just paying for some extra carpet, metal and air.

The real reason that this model was conceived was to cater for those who prefer to be driven and allow the easier fitment of bespoke equipment. Since its inception for the Middle and Far Eastern markets, Rolls-Royce has only built one EWB Phantom with a non-bespoke interior.

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Driven this week

Drinks cabinets, workstations, record decks, gun racks… think of it and it’s yours. James needn’t know what you’re up to. Anyway, he’ll be too relaxed to care. This car rides wonderfully (although roll is pronounced), its steering is light and slow, but accurate. The 6.75-litre V12 and automatic gearbox are perfectly suited.

Should I buy one?

A Mercedes S-class may have slightly less wind noise, but this car feels hand-crafted, special and unique. The Phantom felt bespoke even before the wheelbase was extended; now it can feel precisely how you want it to.

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