2009 Rolls-Royce Phantom Photo
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Quick Take
The 2009 Rolls-Royce Phantom mistakes all its passengers for royalty, even when they aren’t. Read more »
8.6 out of 10
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Think Rolls-Royce, think chauffeur-driven. It’s an image the company has been trying to play down for decades; to win over new buyers who will become brand enthusiasts, loving their Roller for its dynamic appeal rather than its rear legroom. The Phantom Coupé – to be unveiled at next month’s Geneva Motor Show in production trim – is the model that might finally do just that.

Bosses at the U.K.-based, BMW-owned, firm believe this is the most driver-orientated model in the Phantom range. They’re trumpeting its subtle change in character while still playing up RR’s traditional strengths of luxury, comfort, design and craftsmanship. They’re also confident they’ve created the world’s foremost transcontinental tourer.

Chief designer Ian Cameron explained: “Rolls-Royce has always been about pace, performance and style. For the Coupé we gave the quintessential design a dynamic twist. This adds a sense of drama to the outstanding engineering and drivability that are fundamentals of Rolls-Royce cars.”

The two-door four-seater is based on the 101EX concept, first shown at the Geneva expo in 2006. The Coupé is 9.8 inches shorter than the Phantom sedan, but like the other members of the family, it features rear-hinged doors. Crucially, they aid the overall stiffness of the body as they allow for an uninterrupted A-pillar. The result is the most torsionally rigid Rolls-Royce ever. A brushed steel finish to the A-pillar and bonnet, as seen for the first time on earlier 100EX prototype, is also on the Coupé.

Built around a lightweight aluminum chassis, at the heart of the Coupé is the same 6.75-liter V-12 that’s in the Phantom. It produces 453 hp, with the 0-60 mph sprint completed in 5.6 seconds. That’s the same as the Drophead Coupé – the convertible version of the car – though a 25 percent increase in fuel tank capacity over that model has boosted the driving range.

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