Although both the standard-wheelbase Phantom tested here and the EWB (for extended-wheelbase) version are slightly shorter cars overall than those they replace, they are still behemoths by normal saloon car standards. At 5.76m in length, even the standard Phantom is more than half a metre longer than the longest Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
So from the outset, it’s clear that this isn’t a car designed with any fear – or even vague acknowledgement – of the concept of excess. And certainly not when something like such a long wheelbase can contribute so plainly to rolling refinement, in ways that we’ll come on to later.
The platform underneath the Phantom is an all-new, all-aluminium space-frame dubbed (perhaps with unnecessary pomp) the ‘Architecture of Luxury’ and it makes the car’s body-in-white at once 30% stiffer than the previous Phantom’s was and slightly lighter.
However, Rolls-Royce admits that the fully dressed and trimmed Phantom is heavier than the car it replaces – and deliberately so; because adding running chassis technology, refinement measures and on-board luxury features, as Rolls-Royce has, can’t be done without weight coming along as well.
The Phantom has all-new suspension (double-wishbone front, five-link rear) that sits below standard air springs and adaptive dampers, and alongside both four-wheel steering technology and active anti-roll bars. It carries sound and vibration-deadening measures deployed in ways you won’t find in any other production car, from within the tyres themselves upwards, and this accounts for more than 130kg of mass all on its own.
The car’s 60-deg aluminium V12 engine is also all-new, displacing precisely the same 6749cc as the old Phantom’s atmospheric V12, but using twin turbochargers to supply 563bhp and 664lb ft of torque from just 1700rpm. Overall, that allows a 25% improvement on the torque-to-weight ratio, which a car like this needs more than most, compared with the old Phantom.
As for the car’s styling, it’s intended by director of design Giles Taylor to be slightly less formal and marginally more modern than that of the previous Phantom while retaining the defining aristocratic air that marks the car out so clearly.
The famous ‘Pantheon’ radiator grille of Phantoms past has been toned down so as to sit within the surrounding bodywork instead of proud of it, but it also sits higher than on the previous model. Overall, the car takes the most historical inspiration from versions of the 1955-originating Silver Cloud bodied by coachbuilder James Young.