So can the Rolls-Royce Phantom come close to justifying its price – even its existence – when the best conventional luxury saloons cost a third as much? 

Objectively, probably not. But perhaps it doesn’t really have to. It is priced apart from other cars, doesn’t really compete with other cars and buyers will expect an experience apart from other cars.

It offers refinement and a feeling of well being, something that's important to Rolls buyers

Its rival’s failure in this final, critical measure throws the Phantom’s success into focus; it’s an imposing, beautifully-made – if not beautiful – object, a real Rolls-Royce.

The Phantom also offers impressive performance, a cosseting ride and an impeccably comfortable cabin. Little else can touch it for that feel-good factor and little goes about its duties in the same prestigious and refined fashion.

Admittedly, those looking for the ultimate in technology or engagement may be better served looking elsewhere – at the new Mercedes S-Class or Aston Martin Rapide S, for example – but the Rolls-Royce has its own distinct qualities and it will deliver what the brand's devotees are looking for.

As an event, a piece of theatre, few other cars come close.