If this is the world’s most luxurious car, exactly how – you may be wondering – does it ride?
Your interest may be particularly high if you know that, in sticking to a philosophy it has had since the previous Phantom, the latest version runs on a new and interesting type of run-flat tyre. The car’s Continental Seal+Silent tyres have foam-lined sidewalls that double as noise isolators, as well as automatically sealing a puncture – and they have much softer sidewalls than conventional run-flats.
So, would you know? Well, over a test that lasted several days and extended for close to 700 miles in all, not one tester guessed or had anything but the utmost praise for the car’s rolling comfort, which is at once astounding and outstanding. While, as we’ve already covered, the Phantom rides more quietly than any big saloon you could compare it with, the car also cradles its body above its wheels with a suppleness that’s doubly clever.
The car not only prevents you from even being aware of 90% of the imperfections in the road surface (like the S-Class and Audi A8, it uses a camera-based processor to proactively adjust the suspension in advance of crossing bumps), but it also conjures an almost imperceptibly loping, singularly laid-back, soft and supple rolling character that quite brilliantly seems to represent the idea of the grandest of limousines.
The genius here, then, is not that the Phantom’s suspension can perfectly prevent you from feeling the lumps and bumps you’re travelling over at all; because nothing on four wheels could. It’s more that the supremely supple, ever undetectably adjusting, long-wave gait of the car so perfectly embodies your expectation of how the most luxurious car in the world will feel.
That success, it should be noted, is recorded in spite of just a hint of excitability from the suspension over ruts of a certain lowish profile and highish frequency, and the odd, very muffled thud over the sharpest edges. Both traits are common to so many air-sprung cars.
However, the gentleness of the car’s ride lope feels every bit as opulent in the Phantom’s back seats as it does when you’re sat equidistant between its axles in the front; and it’s no doubt in part because of the distance between those axles that no single bump seems to be able to affect the front and rear wheels simultaneously.
From the driver’s seat, meanwhile, the Phantom is so much more engaging and enjoyable to drive than any car with this brief has any right to be. While it communicates loud and clear, between one road surface and the next, how quickly you should drive it in order to deliver the utmost tranquillity for your passengers, it’s also well capable of keeping its body under a dependable sort of control at brisk road speeds. This isn’t a ‘onespeed car’.