Times are tough, so it's hard to visualize someone in reality plunking down US$403,000 (NZ$492,000) for a new Rolls-Royce. BMW, which owns the brand, has been producing the Phantom since 2003. In conditions of weight and girth and overall charisma, the Phantom is the monster of the commerce. Consider it the anti-Lotus. It puts me in the mind of journey ships and the way they somehow stay floating. Take impressive that big and heavy, stuff it with equipment and cutlery and groaning batter tables, and it immobile manages to bob atop the ocean. The physics evade me.
The Phantom is the sea liner of the road. It's so big that occupation it a sedan seems oblique (the Brits prefer "saloon."). It's 5.7 metres long, a touch under 2m wide and effortlessly over 2700 kilograms when filled with options, fuel and humans, by all rights the thing should stumble and waddle. Yet, no. Feather along in traffic, and there's never any dithering, no rocking or lurching or improper shifting of weight. If you need to make a quick go away or hit the highway, the 531-pound-feet-of-torque, 6.75-litre, V-12 engine is positively game.
The features that differentiate the Series II included a new set of headlights that gives the front ending a crisper look. These rectangular LEDs replace the curved orbs of old. A new eight-speed ZF automatic communication makes gear transitions smoother, and the steering and infotainment systems are upgraded to BMW's newest iDrive, also found on the BMW 7 Series. Lavishness in electronics is having them in fact work. The car is handcrafted, and completed in Britain constant. Figure that paying all those employees in pounds isn't contemptible moreover.
The Phantom's inside has more cow hide than you'll find at some Texas ranches. My test car also incorporated such road-going requirements as a wood-lined cigar case concealed in the glove section; Rolls-Royce-embossed sparkler glasses in the doors; thick-pile fitted carpet which would be at home in Windsor stronghold; and a rear-seat cooler that fits petite sparkling wine bottles. Still, it's hard to understand how a non-Italian, non-exotic car can cost so much. Eye those abovementioned accessories and start thinking how much they'd really cost if you bought them a la carte (a mini dorm fridge, some carpet remnants, glasses), and stuffed them in a minivan. After all, the Royce's refrigerator runs US$4100, the glove-box humidor US$4050.