By on September 29, 2010


While TTAC gets scorn for lofty criticisms of mainstream vehicles, should we demand perfection in a $405,000 (as-tested) vehicle? Because the Phantom is inches away from yesteryear’s glory: the highest regarded, finest engineered luxury vehicle before anyone cared about luxury vehicle upstarts like Mercedes-Benz or Lexus.

That’s not to say the Phantom isn’t drop dead gorgeous. The suicide doors are dumbfoundingly awesome. That Hooper Coachwork inspired design is impossible to miss: clock the long hood and short deck. And an elegant swageline, strong and stoic at the front, gently falling earthward before the taillights. Which are suitably small, drawing your eyes to the beauty of finished metal instead of the overwrought lighting details of lesser vehicles.

And if you don’t roll a MegaCab Ram truck, you’re in a lesser vehicle. The majority of its linebacker-sized frontal area contains that wonderful Roller grille, making the Phantom damn near impossible to fault from the front. But the “headlights that look like foglights” need the boot: a counterintuitive move that–like four spoke wheels–is an Industrial Design deadly sin. When nighttime bystanders look at your ride funny in the valet lot, something needs to be fixed.

Nitpicking no doubt, especially in “light” (sorry) of what’s inside. The dash is old-school charming, vents are made of an actual metal substance and the wood-encased analog clock rotates to show a sat-nav screen in a distinctly James Bond manner. The floor mats are made from absolutely randy-feeling wool, but the carpet could use a dose of Rogaine for a thicker pile. That rug looks fine in the exquisitely finished trunk: kudos to the leather trimmed boots around the dog leg hinges and a pull-down button graphic portraying an actual Rolls-Royce, not a generic silhouette.

While the latest BMW-sourced, leather wrapped, i-Drive wheel hides behind a wood door, it’s black plastic container is worthy of a Dodge Caliber. Dude, didn’t I pay enough for leather, suede, aluminum or plumbing fixture-grade brass at this touch point?

And yes, you’ll use that somewhat-easy i-Drive system far more often than a BMW, because this is such a relaxing vehicle.

Seating for five is comfortable, with excellent visibility up front and bespoke privacy from the massive C-pillar. That’s dandy, just avoid the action-packed, extra-plush rear quarters in a Maybach, LS460L or even the Hyundai Equus: replacing British Charm (terrible food) with a lap dance (and a free buffet) is most appealing at this Caligula-ish price point. No matter, the Lexicon audio is respectable up front, absolutely amazing in the rear. And the rear power suicide doors (with integral umbrellas) are much like the retractable lady statue on the hood: a thing of beauty.

But the seating inferiority complex continues, as air conditioned seats are a welcome addition to every luxury vehicle in the current millennia. Rolls’ engineers made the finest HVAC out there, but do us a solid and introduce cool air via that legendary tuck-and-roll upholstery, please. Or perhaps I shouldn’t be a broke-ass car scribe, getting someone else do my errands. In a different car.

So let’s drive this gorgeous beast. The direct-injected, BMW-sourced V12 is a smashing success: lifting the Phantom’s nose from a standstill, accelerating to 60mph in 5.7 seconds like a crescendo from a philharmonic orchestra. It’s no bi-turbo Benz at speed, punching the air with a coffin nose hood in a distinctly freight train-like manner. Steering feel is acceptable by Toyota Camry standards, delightfully accurate for livery drivers of the Panther persuasion.

Braking is outstanding, though the pitch, roll, massive understeer and tall seating position encourage sane levels of steering transitions. Which explains the reverse tachometer (Power Reserve meter) and bearing-infused Rolls-Royce hubcaps to a tee: show some respect, lest the owner knock you down to a mere hack, hooning a yellow cab.

Ride quality is this Roller’s raison d’etre, and it shant disappoint. Until it does. With hard walled, run-flat tires stretched to a rubber band sidewall on a 21-inch wheel, the Phantom cannot provide the ride expected from its NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) material packed body, near silent powertrain and pin drop quiet highway ride. Cross an enormous bump and the Phantom glides like a cloud, but hit a sharp pavement joint or frost heaves and the Phantom “thuds” more than a gymnasium floor during basketball season. The Phantom is dying for a traditional wheel/tire option, perhaps with thick whitewalls to compensate for the extra sidewall: because Rolls-Royces aren’t purchased for handling prowess and sporty rims.

So the Phantom is a somewhat-flawed vehicle, but is it best in class? Yes. Nobody comes even close to its appeal. Once Rolls-Royce sweats the little stuff present in cheaper, more advanced alternatives and refines every last detail, the Phantom will be God among men.

Readers who follow TTAC on Facebook had the opportunity to ask questions about the Phantom. If you would like to ask questions of reviews in progress, check out our Facebook page. Fans, here are your answers:

Paul S: sounds like Rolls’ styling isn’t for you, but the Phantom is brand management so honest it makes me cry. Rob F: like a fancy restaurant used to impress a first date, like comparing a Panther Chassis’ ride to a Toyota Avalon, the “sheer crapulence of it all” (as you so eloquently put it) is why this car rules. Richard L: Donuts woulda been scary, had I found a parking lot big enough to try. Antoine P: buy a Maybach, RENNTECH it and enjoy the best in turbocharged luxury hoonability. Jonathan H: it’s odd for a man to wear a miniskirt, but the paparazzi won’t see your junk if you soberly exit the Roller.

Ingvar H: the cheapest one on (wholesale) Manheim Auctions is 120 large, I doubt a running Phantom goes for less than six-figures. Jim J: people seeking less conspicuous consumption aren’t in this rarified air. Brian J: Rolls-Royce “Bespoke” program can add that stuff–for a price–except for maybe the air conditioned seats mentioned above. Ronald B: a fellow Roller on the highway waved at me all gentleman-like, but stereotypical Phantom owners exist: someone who was obviously high on something said I should be “blazin’ up in that b****.”

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84 Comments on “Review: The Rolls Royce Phantom...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    At first glimpse I thought the top pic was Chrysler’s Imperial concept car.
     
    Nice car.  One of those one’s everybody wants to own at one point just to be able to say they had one, heck even to be able to say they rode in one.

    • 0 avatar

      I really hope Chrysler does build the Imperial. When my friend and I bought Chrysler 300′s years ago, we were almost certain the Imperial would be our next cars. I think Chrysler NEEDS the imperial and NEEDS the redesigned 300C in the worst way. It has to improve its image. Chrysler owners, however, for the most part, and from what I’ve seen, LOVE Chrysler. i know I love my SRT8.

      As for the Phantom… one of my uncle’s neighbor’s in Freeport,LI has one. Its a monstrosity and GAWDY unless you are the King or Queen of some country.

      I’ve been in this and the Maybach. Frankly, even if I was a billionaire, I’d probably perfer the Maybach – especially if I needed to teleconference on the road. The Phantom is the kind of thing I’d rent for my Wedding. I would never, ever want to buy this for myself. 

      I wonder how long till Hyundai builds one of these :P

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    "That Hooper Coachwork inspired design is impossible to miss: clock the long hood and short deck. And an elegant swageline, strong and stoic at the front, gently falling earthward before the taillights. Which are suitably small, drawing your eyes to the beauty of finished metal instead of the overwrought lighting details of lesser vehicles."

    Brillian observation regarding the tailight size and the bodywork. The above paragraph also describes my 93 S3 to a tee.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    When I first saw this car, I thought how Ford could have turned the Town Car into a similar silouette. The current TC hints poorly at it, and if Ford was serious about the TC, they could have easily upgraded it into something that at first glance would look remarkably similar.

    The Rolls has a shape that is perfect for a luxury car. It doesn’t pretend to be sporty like Infinitis or Acuras, and most other expensive cars. It simply exudes class.

    What Lincoln and Cadillac used to do, the Rolls demonstrates how to do so today.

  • avatar
    twotone

    “…upstarts like Mercedes-Benz…”

    Mercedes had a 20-year head start on RR.

    Twotone

    • 0 avatar

      Perhaps not the best choice of words, but there was a time when a Mercedes was nothing compared to a Rolls Royce.

    • 0 avatar
      Nicodemus

      ““…upstarts like Mercedes-Benz…”
      Mercedes had a 20-year head start on RR.
      Twotone”

      The first Mercedes was made in 1901, the first Rolls-Royce in 1904 – how do you figure 20 years? Oh and Mercedes Benzs is an upstart, not coming into being until the mid 1920′s!

  • avatar
    jmo

    When you see it on the road it just has such presence.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    You know, I’m all for plush carpeting, but take a look at the zoomed-in side shot… it’s absurd; I don’t want to get into my car and feel like I’m standing on a bath mat!
     
    Also, you’d think that if there was any car crying out for an X5-style top-down camera setup, it’d be this one – at least, if you’re the chauffeur. I can’t imagine that Monsieur will be pleased when you scrape the door on an ill-placed Chevy Caprice as you back out of the gas station.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    That’s dandy, just avoid the action-packed, extra-plush rear quarters in a Maybach, LS460L or even the Hyundai Equus

    You know what’s funny, or sad?  That you can say “even the Hyundai anything” in a Rolls Royce review, but find yourself challenged to come up with an equivalent Cadillac.

    Think about that.  Hyundai getting mention—respectably mentioned, not a backhanded “Pony” comment—in a Roller review.  Wow.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    http://pictures.topspeed.com/IMG/crop/201005/one-off-rolls-royce-_460x0w.jpg

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Two points:
    1. How did you swing this?
    2. Is it me, or does that steering wheel look like it was lifted from a BMW and given a splattering of wood?
     
    I agree that this car just doesn’t look “right”.  You can forgive the grille and the exterior is okay, but the inside doesn’t look like the details were sweated (design wise, not materials), you’re right, there. It’s hard to say this, but it seems like a compromise car and in exactly the way that the Mini is: you can see what they’re trying to do, but they can’t quite get there.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      http://www.aperfectsolution.us/images/phantom_05_steering_wheel.jpg
       
      The thin rim makes it look old school – which I like.

    • 0 avatar

      1. It’s a privately owned Roller in the Houston area, not a press car.
      2. It’s you.  While I’m sure the hub has some engineering interchangeability with a BMW 7, the wheel is HUGE, unique and entertaining.  Makes you feel like you’re the Captain of a small yacht.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Makes you feel like you’re the Captain of a small yacht. 

       
      Basically you are.  And that feeling still screams LUXURY to me.  You also made me think of PJ O’Rourke’s review of a RR convertible in Car and Driver.  Some of his better recent writing. http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/09q4/2010_rolls-royce_phantom_drophead_coupe-road_test I am a C&D subscriber and normally I wouldn’t shill for them (a man has to have some throne room reading material) but it did actually make me laugh out loud.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Hmm….  I swear I’ve seen that steering wheel design on a BMW before, but I can’t recall where.
       
      I will maintain it looks “wrong” for the car.  I’m sure it’s a nice wheel and that there’s limits to what you can do with an airbag-equipped wheel, but it doesn’t suit the car, or at least doesn’t photograph well.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Hmm….  I swear I’ve seen that steering wheel design on a BMW before, but I can’t recall where.
       
      Z8?

    • 0 avatar
      Rick T.

      Didn’t know Roger Rabbit that lived in Houston.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Dog leg trunk hinges on a US$405,000 car? Oh my.

    • 0 avatar

      Dog leg hinges rule, they are a hallmark of a real luxury car.
      Name me a trunk with an automatic pulldown combined with those wretched strut hinges (and the terribly rough range of motion that comes with them), because I can’t think of one.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Phaeton and A8. The Campagnolo-sourced hinges in some Phaetons are perfection.

    • 0 avatar

      Jack is right..they sure are pretty. But do they close from max open to fully closed on their own?
      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/ttacs-top-ten-trunk-hinges-your-submissions-please/

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      The gas strut hinges in my 9-5 are pretty nice, though not having tasted snobbery-worthy vehicles such as Audis, BMWs, and Mercs, all I can say for sure is that they best those in my 1993 Ford Escort, my 1995 Mercury Mystique, and the doglegs in the 9-3.
       
      My biggest gripe is that leaves and stuff tend to get into the lower holding area the struts fold into when the lid is closed, and it’s hard as hell to get it all out of there.
       
      The lid doesn’t auto-close, either, of course. But a reasonably good flick will get it to close well enough. My understanding is that if it falls but doesn’t latch, the car will snag it and pull it locked. I always re-close it anyway.
       
      But that’s acceptable to me. I guess I’m satisfied with roughing it.

    • 0 avatar

      Jack,
       
      Someday I’ll own a Campy corkscrew. I was so pleased with the Campy equipment on my bike that I sent a fan letter to Valentino Campagnolo. He sent me back a computer printout sheet with all the split times from Miguel Indurain’s hour record run, autographed by Indurain.

  • avatar
    N Number

    Great review, Sajeev.

    A BMW sourced V-12?  It used to be that Rolls Royce was known for creating one of the most legendary V-12 engines of all time, and what a wizard of an engine it was (and still is). Rolls-Royce powered machines did epic battle against BMW powered adversaries.  Of course times have changed the engine manufacturing split with the car manufacturing in the 70′s.

    What do you mean by bearing-infused hubcaps?  Do the emblems in the centre remain upright at all times?

    • 0 avatar

      Yes they do remain upright, just like the hub-mounted meters on 18 wheelers cruising down the Interstate.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      When did RR have a V12? In my lifetime they used V8′s licensed from GM. I think the big Bentleys still use it.

    • 0 avatar
      ChesterChi

      So the wheels with the funny hubcaps are one step away from spinners ?  How “classy” !

    • 0 avatar
      Slicky

      “When did RR have a V12? In my lifetime they used V8′s licensed from GM. I think the big Bentleys still use it.”

      RR never used V8′s licensed from GM.  The RR V8 was an in house design. See more here: http://www.kda132.com/Technical/SectionB/CloudEng/cloud2.html

      Perhaps you’re thinking about the automatic transmission? RR did license the hydramatic from GM.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      “The Rolls-Royce Phantom III was the final large pre-war Rolls-Royce. Introduced in 1936, it replaced the Phantom II and it was the only V12 Rolls-Royce until the 1998 introduction of the Silver Seraph.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_Phantom_III
       

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Sheesh, what are they teaching the kids in school these days?
      Rolls Royce V-12:
      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/66/Rolls-Royce_Merlin_-_West_Yorkshire.jpg
      The BMW adversary:
      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/85/BMW801_hr.jpg
       

    • 0 avatar
      N Number

      Indeed.  Apparently I gave the B&B a bit too much credit on this one.  The Rolls Royce Merlin has got to be one of the most well known piston engines in the of all time.   These are still raced at Reno in the world’s fasted motor-sport.  Photos don’t do it justice.  You’ve got to hear it in action.   Enjoy.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDppwPbmbrY&feature=related

    • 0 avatar
      Nicodemus

      Don’t be too upset, the deal that got BMW the rights to the RR name was not a one-way street. RR PLC took control of the BMW’s Aero-engine subsidiary as a result.

  • avatar
    Uncle Mellow

    I suppose if I could afford one of these then I could also afford to get the front-end remodelled , with proper lights and a less oversized RR grill.

  • avatar

    The majority of its linebacker-sized frontal area contains that wonderful Roller grille, making the Phantom damn near impossible to fault from the front.
     
     
    Damn near impossible to fault? Are you serious? In the words of a British friend of mine, the Phantom’s front end is “vulgar”. The drophead coupe’s not as bad and the Ghost is almost attractive, but the Phantom’s front end just screams “get out of my way, I’m rich”. Not an elegant design at all. The rectangular headlamps are just too much when they are flanking the already very squarish Roller grille.
     
     
    FWIW, I’m not a fan of the new Bentley Mulsanne’s schnoz either.

    • 0 avatar
      baabthesaab

      I’m with you, Ronnie. UGLY. Awful. Bad!! Just not at all what RR of old would have done. Where once there was something to dream of, now I shake my head. I’d rather look at a Fusion!

    • 0 avatar

      Here’s my personal bias: I like the rectangular headlamps, probably because I am a child of the 1980s.  While I would like to see the grille scaled down a good 20%, I’m quite thrilled with the overall execution of the front end.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynamic88

      I have to agree as well.  Really ugly in the front.   Looks like a kit car.   Looks like a cartoon of a RR.    Some day RR will figure out that 1930s grills went out of style seven decades ago.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I am a child of the 1980s.  While I would like to see the grille scaled down a good 20%……
      ______________________________________________________________________________________
      Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night?
      Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic?
      Have you or your family ever seen a spook, spectre or Ghost?

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The whole point of this car is to showcase wealth in the most vulgar and obvious fashion.  You don’t buy a Phantom to be subtle.

  • avatar

    The Rolls Royce Phantom looks like a cartoon caricature of a luxury car much like the Hummer H2 is a caricature of an SUV.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. I find the styling eye-bleedingly awful from every exterior angle. I assume it’s tailored for its market — which is probably now more likely to include professional basketball players and pop stars than old-money potentates — but it screams noveau riche. I guess there’s no percentage in understated gravitas these days.

  • avatar
    DearS

    Call me egoist but I’d love to park a car costing a fifth of the Phantoms price or less that I love more, say a 750i or Panamera, just cause its possible (though not for me, lol)

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    I’m up on the grille. It fulfills the mission/purpose of the car – to get out front and scream absurd wealth. More than once I’ve crossed the street in Manhattan in front of one of those grills and thought… “I’m safe – there’s no way that driver will tarnish that grille with my proletarian ass.”

    May I comment on the carpet? The carpet is the same light beige as the seating. Now, if I had a driver that would wash and scrub the carpeting whenever I entered and exited – well then I would love to have beige carpeting. It totally brightens up the car. To me, this is the perfect color for a car with a driver.

    However, I have noticed that in mid-level audis and mercedes and even BMW’s that even if you specify light colored seating, you can still have darker colored carpet – because seriously – who has time to vacuum the car carpet all the time? Not me. So can anyone explain why the most accessible of the entry luxury cars still put the carpet in beige? Please? Anyone?
     

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      I can’t comment on all of the makers, but with Lincolns you have the option of several interior color combinations that change the color of the carpets along with the seats.
       
      I prefer an all black interior personally, I find it soothing, relaxing, and classy, but some people like a light interior and carpets, so the car companies make them.  If your floormats get too dingy to be washed clean again, you can always buy another set for $50.

    • 0 avatar

      You can order a Phantom with any color interior you want. But, in person, nothing is more luxurious than that beige/ tan carpet. And that carpet is so thick, you’ll want to take your shoes off just to feel it. It feels like walking on fine carpet.

      That said, I liked the Maybach better.  The seats recline into massage ottomans and the pillows are stuffed with hummingbird feathers and  emu.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    The Rolls Royce V8 was in NO way ‘licensed from GM’. RR did, however, buy in automatic gearboxes from GM for many years.

    RR did make automotive V12s in the 30′s, but I believe the OP was talking about the various RR aeroplane engines from WWII.

    Note that the aircraft engine company is how BMW ended up with the Rolls Royce name, and VW got Bentley and a creaky old factory. VW THOUGHT they were buying Rolls Royce when they bought the car company that made cars with that name. Except, oops, the aircraft engine company actually owned the name, and promptly sold it to BMW who they already had a joint venture with. So VW payed billions for Bentley, and BMW got the RR name for a relatively paltry sum. Though realistically, at the time Bentley was most of the value anyway.

  • avatar
    MattPete

    That is truly one unattractive car.  The price they are asking given it’s ugliness is truly insulting.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    Sajeev -
     
    Nice review, but I do dispute your best in class statement.  If I were obscenely wealthy I’d go for the Bentley Mulsanne in a heartbeat.  It’s subjective, but I find it much more attractive inside and out, it has more power, much more torque, it’s less blingy, and I’d have an extra $100,000 left over from the base price to play with the bespoke personalization options.

    • 0 avatar

      I find the Mulsanne odd and goofy looking from many angles. It certainly looks sportier, if that’s what you want. Plus, the Phantom is due for the engine in the new 7-series.

    • 0 avatar
      matt

      I wouldn’t get the Bentley just because I see too many of them (not the Mulsanne, but the Continental GT’s).  I see one a day, at least.  Hell, there used to be one that lived at my apartment complex (how they manage payments on a Bentley but still live in an apartment is beyond me…).  Sajeev, you live in Houston right?  Hopefully you can back me up about the obscene number of Bentley’s that wander around the Galleria area.
       
      So in the sense of exclusivity, which is what you want at this price point, I’d have to go with the Rolls.

    • 0 avatar

      Lived in the galleria area for 2 years.  Loved it.  And I’ll back you up on that statement, because you see plenty of modern Bentleys of any type, but I have yet to see a Phantom on the road.
      (until I drove this one, I mean)

  • avatar

    I dunno, what does it cost for a company like Metalcrafters or the De Lays to custom build a coachbuilt body? If I had 400 large to drop on a car, I’d buy some high end car to use as the platform and then have a custom body and interior crafted. With that large of a budget, I’m sure I could afford a talented designer. Camilo Pardo is currently available.
     
    Ferrari is already doing one-offs based on the business model set with the Glickenhaus P4/5.
     
     
    While many will want the Ferrari or similar brand name on their custom car, if you’re going custom, one of one is more exclusive than what’s essentially a fancy kit car.

    • 0 avatar

      Its one thing to make a custom body and interior for 400 large, its another to expect OEM levels of quality and reliability from it.  And I suspect Camilo Pardo’s studio is gonna cost you about 10% of your budget.
      One offs are expensive, and usually look like compromised kit cars for a reason.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    It is ugly. Period.
     
    A guy down the street owns both the 2 and 4d versions.
     
    When I see them at the local Circle K or Schnucks parking lot., I have the urge to vomit like a supermodel.
     
    For the money I can add a Muira SV to my collection. And I know which one is gonna be worth big $ at Barret-Jackson 10 years hence,,,,

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    Steering feel is acceptable by Toyota Camry standards
     
    Ouch!

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      I thought the same thing… in such an otherwise glowing review, it struck my as damning by faint praise. OK, granted, the thing isn’t expected to be a driver’s car, but for four hundred large I’d at least expect an optional sport mode for those in-a-hurry late night Taco Bell runs.

    • 0 avatar

      Come on people, this is a LUXURY car.  Soft steering is very, very necessary. I referenced the Camry to put it in context. A huge chunk of America loves soft cars, and the Camry’s tuning proves it. Ditto their sales numbers.
      @Perisoft: No way a car this big can ever be even remotely sporty. And if you have Phantom money, you buy another car with a sport mode.  And you most certainly have. And you’re probably NOT upset at depreciation hit your Ferrari 360 took in the past 2 years.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    ” … gorgeous beast …. “
    I must live in a parallel universe. The front end of that roller is hideous, and the back isn’t much better! It screams: “I have more money than I do taste” loud and clear.
     

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    A huge chunk of America loves soft cars, and the Camry’s tuning proves it. Ditto their sales numbers.
     
    That doesn’t make it right.  Billions of McDonald’s cheeseburgers eaten in those Toyota Camry’s too, doesn’t mean its real food.  The steering feel in the current generation Camry is – well what steering feel?!?  I would expect a 405K car to have better steering feel than a ’76 Oldsmobile.

    • 0 avatar

      Sure it makes it right.  A real car is whatever people like, and Americans always gravitate to softer spring, lazier cars. The car enthusiast fringe can fight it all they want, but nothing’s gonna change.
      Comparing land yacht dynamics to food known to make people obese/diabetic/dead is quite the stretch of the imagination, but I did enjoy it.

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      WOW!  From a writer at TTAC, “the car enthusiast fringe…”
       
      I didn’t know that TTAC was read by the Starbucks drinking, McDonalds eating, Judge Joe Brown watching, Prius drivers who don’t give a rats ass about “enthusiast,” automotive issues.  I guess that’s why you reviewed a Rolls Royce and have story after story about the LeMons series???  I had no idea that my 78 year old Camry driving mother was the mainstream!!!
       
      Hint:  If you’re going to be writing a story and people are going to comment, you need to grow thicker skin.  I say that as someone who was a journalist (not in automotive) for five years.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been writing at TTAC for over 4 years, and nothing said in this review has gotten under my skin. I’ve interacted (for better or worse) with readers since DAY ONE. Actually since we first upgraded the software to allow for comments, probably in early 2007. Go back and look…
      I don’t see where you’re going with this. If you don’t appreciate this dialogue, that’s really too bad, because it’s what I do.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      Forget it, Sajeev. I suspect he’s just baiting you.

    • 0 avatar

      Into what is what I’d like to know. Sorry, it’s just that I’ve been moderating/commenting on car forums too long to not be curious about people’s intentions.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      Who knows? Your response strikes me as being engaged — as in online journalism — not thin-skinned. HoldenSSVSE, care to elaborate?
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      My point.  That a long time writer makes a comment about a $405K car having steering as soft as a Toyota Camry LE.  That I and a couple of others said to keep it short, “ouch,” and then there was a defensive reply that hey, it’s a luxury car it supposed to have soft steering.
       
      Then, when that is questioned (and maybe a better analogy should have been used like the steering in a LTZ Malibu which is still pretty crappy) and then have the “enthusiast fringe,” comment trotted out – hey I didn’t say it.
       
      I had a 2008 Toyota Camry LE as a rental car, second worst car I’ve driven in my life and my first car was a 1987 Ford Tempo, I’m hardly the enthusiast fringe.  It is a pretty defensive statement, or a poor choice of words, but sure not baiting – I stand by my observation, if the steering is compared favorably to a Toyota Camry LE which is over-boosted, soft, numb, with no on-center feel, and requires the operator to drive like there are in the movies (constant corrections from both hands to keep in a somewhat straight line) that doesn’t speak favorably for the steering.
       
      Sure, millions of them sold, doesn’t make it right.  McDonalds serves up billions of burgers.  Microsoft has sold hundred of millions of copies of Windows Vista, and the top selling vehicle in the United States is a Ford pickup truck.  Great marketing in any niche does not equal a great product.  There are plenty of examples in consumer behavior where people happily line up with money in hand to buy a steaming pile of crap, or buy something that is OK (which is how I would describe a Camry) when there are far better alternatives available versus returning to the showroom like a spawning salmon – and all of that is so far off the point.
       
      –> Camry LE steering is pretty sucktastic, we’re not talking Corolla electric steering sucktastic but it is sucktastic
       
      –> If a $405K car has sucktastic steering well that sucks
       
      –> To point that out doesn’t make someone part of the, “enthusiast fringe.”
       
      Can we please go back to the upcoming weekend Curbside Classic, LeMons Update or the observations of Cammy?

    • 0 avatar

      My point.  That a long time writer makes a comment about a $405K car having steering as soft as a Toyota Camry LE.  That I and a couple of others said to keep it short, “ouch,” and then there was a defensive reply that hey, it’s a luxury car it supposed to have soft steering.
      Except that wasn’t a defensive reply. I do this quite often to stir up conversation among the commentators.  Now that I think about it, mission accomplished!
      Great marketing in any niche does not equal a great product.  There are plenty of examples in consumer behavior where people happily line up with money in hand to buy a steaming pile of crap, or buy something that is OK (which is how I would describe a Camry) when there are far better alternatives available versus returning to the showroom like a spawning salmon – and all of that is so far off the point.
      Purchasing a new car is a subjective decision.  Some people love Land Yachts as they stand, others loathe them. I tend to love the Phantom because it reminds me of the Lincoln Town Car in its, um, heyday. No new land yacht/Camry LE/whatever can be as amazingly crappy as Microsoft Vista, and–aside from the Dodge Viper with an untrained owner–it’s rarely gonna shorten the lifespan of anyone like daily consumption of McDonald’s food.
      Subjective also applies to the definition of a great car. And when it comes to the Phantom, it’s so frickin expensive that nobody reading this article (probably) will ever buy one. So it doesn’t matter what we all think anyway. Maybe I better stop stirring the pot.

  • avatar
    FJ20ET

    YOU TAKE BACK THE 4-SPOKE WHEEL COMMENT.

    They look rad on 80′s japanese cars.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Of course Ford could do it; they CHOSE not to do it.The early Sixties Lincoln Continentals were easily the match of Rolls-Royce in overall quality. Ford’s 1965 “Quiet Ride” ads said its dbas were equivalent to a Silver Cloud III.
    I enjoyed Sajeev’s review, but outside the bling-bling and “mine’s bigger” bragging rights, what other reason do these cars have for existing anymore? They’re overpriced at 400K measured against other inflation.
    It wasn’t always just about being a status symbol. Long-term value was a key selling point for buying a Roller in 1960 or an Merc S-Class in 1980. If you bought one for $20-$40K, maintained it by the book, maybe sent it to the factory once a decade for a thorough go-over, and you’d have a “lifetime” car that would still look, feel and drive like new today and pass down through generations.
    That is what supposedly justified the high initial purchase and maintenance costs. In a day when the flash is available for lease at $500/month, does that kind of buyer even exist anymore?
     
     

    • 0 avatar

      Honestly I’d also like to know how well they sell…but since you can’t get this kind of ostentatious styling, luxury appointments, snob appeal, performance, etc anywhere else I suspect there are enough buyers putting a deposit on a Phantom to keep BMW’s RR division in the black.

  • avatar
    kkt

    That front end is just ugly, ugly, ugly.  Sure, the Rolls-Royce is supposed to say “I’m filthy rich”, but this one says “I’m filthy rich and I like big, brutally ugly things.”  I think it’s how the grill is wide rather than tall, and the sides of the grill are just as tall as the grill rather than curving down toward the front.  And the thin rectangular gunslits for headlights.  And just the sheer size.
    Previous Phantoms are graceful while still having an imposing presence.
    If I won the lottery, I’d probably look for a Phantom VI (in addition to something more sporting).

  • avatar
    jimboy

    That is one sorry looking beast. Gotta go with the others on this, front and rear design is hideous, cabin and roofline are nice. Bentley make a far handsomer vehicle.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    In related news, the $405K wundercar has been recalled for a brake issue today.
     
    http://money.cnn.com/2010/09/30/autos/bmw_brake_recall/index.htm?hpt=T2

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Ran into the dude driving his white 4D tonight at the grocery store. Started BSn w/ him and went to have a coupla drinks then a seat in the capn’s chair.
     
    Bleccccchhhh.
     
    An early 80s Bent Mulsanne Turbo felt sprightly and agile by comparison. Also felt more dialed-in.

  • avatar
    tklockau

    While I wouldn’t call these ugly, they seem much more massive and blocky than they used to.  My favorite Rolls is a ’78-’80 Silver Shadow II, probably because I grew up in the 80′s.

    Sajeev, have you ever driven a Silver Shadow, Spirit or Seraph?  If so, how do they compare to this car?

  • avatar

    Never driven the older models, but they will fare just as good/bad (depending on your performance metrics) as a 1980s Lincoln Town Car compared to the current model. Technology is a good thing, even in Land Yachts.
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/panther-week-comparison-1988-vs-2006-lincoln-town-car/
    Now, about the Seraph: I suspect it’s lower center of gravity and similar levels of modern technology make it a more fun car to…uh…take a fast corner with. But I’d still rather have a Phantom.


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