From £313,2008

Steering, suspension and ride comfort

It is in this area that the Coupé promises to differ most from any other Rolls-Royce Phantom. And while hardly revolutionary – we are still talking about a car that rides delightfully and rolls when pointed at a corner – there are certainly differences. With broader rear tyres (and narrower front ones), stiffer rear dampers and springs and a thicker rear anti-roll bar, the Coupé is noticeably sharper than its saloon and Drophead relatives, even though the latter shares with the Coupé a wheelbase 200mm shorter than the saloon's.

The Coupé might weigh a mammoth 2.7 tonnes, but that mass is perfectly balanced front to rear. This means that beyond the initial body roll it progresses through a corner with remarkable poise. It is still inadvisable to go throwing this £300k car about, but with the tighter body control the Phantom Coupé can be powered through a corner without fear of any unseemly lurches.

The Coupé is fabulously comfortable and luxurious, but still rewarding and involving to drive

The improved steering helps – at 3.3 turns it still requires a degree of twirling –but with added feel and a thicker wheel to grasp it’s possible to place this huge car with uncanny accuracy. And doing so is deeply satisfying.

The unavoidable flipside to the improved handling is a slight deterioration in ride quality, most noticeably at low speeds. By any normal standard the Coupé rides very well, but where a Phantom saloon’s passengers wouldn’t notice the slightest movement, the Coupé’s may register a small, far-away thud. Things improve at speed, and shown our sternest ride route the Coupé simply soaked up the evil, compound bumps and lumps in one fluid, controlled movement, the long body remaining remarkably level. Although blessed with its own character, the Coupé remains true to the Phantom DNA: fabulously comfortable and luxurious but still rewarding and involving to drive, without becoming intrusive.

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