How does a design team go about changing something as timeless as the Rolls-Royce Phantom?
That was the question that the designers at Rolls-Royce had to deal with when designing the new Phantom Series II. Being that the last big overhaul for the Phantom happened in 2003, the company was looking to revamp the car while still keeping the signature look that discerning luxury buyers look for in the car. In enhancing the car the company chose to “[combine] state-of-the-art technology and engineering with timeless contemporary design, the latest expression of Phantom is, once again, redefining the luxury car market.”
The car’s enhancements, explained by Giles Taylor, who Joined Rolls-Royce in April of 2011 intended to be refinements rather than changes. He notes that the car is the pinnacle in every singe view and the permanence and poise of the car is such because of the design that was right the first time around. Up front, the headlights go from round to rectangular, and now benefit from adaptive LED lighting technology. The LED lights is white and has a longer beam, which will be easier on the driver’s eyes. A single piece grille, introduced in 2009 is carried over from the previous Phantom, as its seamless design allows designers to carry the body color all the way to the grille, accenting the long hood line while emphasizing Rolls-Royce undeniable strive to achieve craftsmanship.
From the side, the Series II carries on tradition with few changes, trying instead to keep in line with the existing timeless silhouette. Adjustments included the chrome trim around the windows, which is bolder in an attempt to highlight the car’s daylight opening while adding length. New side marker lamps are now used and the Series II rides on new, forged alloy 20-inch wheels that contemporize the car and fit it perfectly.
Modifications on the rear included some bright-work below the trunk that adds a “lift” while accenting the back. The tail lamps are also more modern and the exhaust finishers which were only used on the Coupe of Drophead Coupe are now available on the Phantom Range. The car still has that undeniable gravity and presence when passing you by on the street which is something that Taylor noted.
On the interior there are a range of changes that further make the car into an elegant sanctuary. According to Rolls-Royce, three main areas where uplifted on the inside. To begin, the screen which grew from 6.5″ to 8.5″ allowing for additional functional bookmarks as well as better graphics for the navigation and rear camera video. The new rotary control is now the same as in the “Ghost” which further complement the better car-user interface in the vehicle. Further advances include the better amplifier that still uses Logic 7 which tailors sounds to occupants, this is also an class-leading improvement on the Series II. There is better connectivity with a new smartphone cradle, USB port and multimedia and auxiliary input which now come standards. The seats were simplified to achieve a calmer effect taking away some stitching so the occupants can really enjoy the comfort and suppleness of the leather.
Rolls-Royce buyers don’t like big changes but they also want to keep up with trends. When dealing with the flagship Phantom the company did what was right and upgraded were it needed to while keeping in-line with the classic and timeless parts of the car and company that loyalist like. The company believes that what it did will only enhance the “pinnacle position” of the car and are confident the Series II is the best car money can buy. The 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II is scheduled to go on sale in September. The price? Figure on a base MSRP north of $380,000.