2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom Preview

2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

The 2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom, Coupe, and Drophead Coupe confer an instant feeling of royalty on anyone within (save, perhaps, the hired driver), but you'll need the funds of a prince to afford one.

Long considered the premier name in automobiles when extreme luxury and refinement are desired, Rolls-Royce's Phantom is the marque's current top-of-the-list, available in Sedan, Coupe, and Drophead Coupe (convertible) styles.

No matter the body style chosen, the Phantom is an expansive automobile. The distinctive, classical exterior sports the characteristic tall, upgright grille, Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, and slab sides that hark back to the dawn of the brand. Despite the heritage of design, the Phantom of today looks every inch the modern hyper-luxury car as well.

Inside, the Phantom is automotive opulence defined. Supple, hand-stitched leathers, full-grain woods, and elements that are more analogous to fine cabinetry and home furnishings than what you'll find in a more common car. Even the chrome elements are substantial and speak of quality, being true chromed metal rather than the plastic substitute used in typical luxury sedans.

Comfort, as you might have guessed, is exquisite, whether in the front or rear seats. It's a Rolls-Royce, and not just any Rolls, but the flagship.

Of course, it takes a substantial powertrain to motivate all of this architectural excess, and the Phantom doesn't disappoint: a 6.75-liter V-12 engine generates 453 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque. The result is smooth, nearly silent power delivery that can still accelerate to 60 mph in under six seconds. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels.

Handling, as you might expect, is somewhat ponderous, but considering its size and nearly 6,000-pound weight, the Phantom could be considered agile. Independent suspension, self-leveling air springs, electronic damping, and feather-light steering all contribute to a surprisingly easy-to-drive character. Fuel economy isn't so surprising, however, coming in at 11 mpg city and 18 mpg highway, regardless of the model chosen.

The features list of the 2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom is extensive, with very nearly anything available upon request. Standard available options include custom paint, embroidery, a range of wheel choices, headliners, upholstery styles and colors, alternate steering wheels, drink cabinets, and all of the technology you can dream of. It's truly a customer-is-always-right situation, so the only real limits are your imagination and your bank account.

As for safety, the Rolls-Royce Phantom hasn't been officially crash-tested. It is, however, a substantial vehicle made largely of steel, with all of the modern electronic, airbag, and other safety devices you'd expect. Parking sensors are standard, while front and rear cameras are an add-on option. Some of the latest generation of safety assists, like lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot detection aren't available at all, however.

Priced to start from about $380,000 and ranging upwards to more than $440,000, the various Phantom models are investments to rival or beat most homes.

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