Full 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe Review
What's New for 2011
Other than a limited edition run of 100 specially trimmed cars to celebrate the centennial of the "Spirit of Ecstasy" hood ornament, there are no changes for the 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe.
The 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe isn't your typical premium luxury coupe. Far from it, as here we have a two-door coupe (pronounced "coo-pay" if you're British) that weighs more than a Cadillac Escalade and costs about twice what the average American home does. Furthermore, it's the only coupe with rearward-opening doors.
Being a two-door version of the Phantom sedan, this Rolls-Royce likewise provides size, prestige and presence on the grandest of scales. It's also more responsive to drive thanks to a shorter wheelbase and a sport-tuned suspension. There's even a Sport mode for the transmission that provides more responsive performance. But we suspect that for owners these qualities will always be secondary to the overall Rolls-Royce experience.
Everywhere you look and touch in the cabin is covered in rich leather, adorned with beautifully finished woods or accented with lustrous chrome. The carpets are made of deep-pile sheepskin so plush it'll have passengers taking off their shoes. So as to allow easy and graceful loading of passengers and luggage, the doors open rearward while the trunk opens like a picnic basket with a two-piece lid. Should the interior still not be glamorous enough, there's the optional "Starlight Headliner," which turns the inner roof into a starry night sky via fiber-optic lights that shine through tiny holes.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the iconic "Spirit of Ecstasy" flying lady hood ornament (which automatically disappears into the grille when the car is locked to prevent kidnapping). To celebrate, Rolls has seen fit to issue a run of 100 specially trimmed Phantoms. A few of the feature highlights include an illuminated solid silver hood ornament, unique colors and badges, polished wheels, metal foil instrument facings and a leather headliner. And of course Rolls offers extensive customization options to allow one to further make the Phantom Coupe uniquely their own.
Of course, paying more than $400,000 for any car seems ridiculous. But then again, the Phantom Coupe is as much a "car" as the Queen is a little old lady. You're paying for the entire Rolls-Royce experience, including the ability to cruise down the road and draw glances from everyone with a working set of eyes. You may get a bit of that with an Aston Martin DB9, Bentley Continental GT or Maserati GranTurismo, but not in the same way. There is nothing else like the 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe on the road, and by George, for this much money, there had better not be.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe is a four-seat ultraluxury coupe with two rear-hinged doors. All the usual luxury car items are standard, along with 21-inch wheels, run-flat tires, power-closing doors, a two-piece trunk lid, parking sensors, front and rear heated seats, power front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, front seat memory functions and multizone climate control. Standard technology items include Rolls-Royce Assist emergency telematics, a multifunction controller and LCD screen, keyless ignition/entry, voice command functionality, Bluetooth and a navigation system. The audio system is a 15-speaker surround-sound stereo with an in-dash single-CD player, a six-CD changer in the glovebox, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio with a lifetime subscription.
If that list seems incomplete, rest assured that Rolls-Royces can be customized to your heart's content. Should the extensive choice of standard colors not strike your fancy, Rolls will paint the Phantom and tan its leather any color you see fit for an extra fee. Other options include different wheel designs, front and rear camera systems, visible exhaust tips, a brushed stainless-steel hood and the starlight headliner. Individual requests are likely to be accommodated.
Lastly, this year brings the Spirit of Ecstasy Collection, a limited run of 100 Phantoms that celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament. To honor this piece of sculpture, these special Phantoms have a choice of unique exterior and interior colors, unique Rolls-Royce badges, an illuminated solid silver hood ornament, polished wheels, metal foil instrument fascias, a silver clock and instrument dials, leather-lined glove compartment and console box, a leather headliner and a Spirit of Ecstasy desk ornament with a signed letter of authenticity.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe is powered by a 6.7-liter V12 capable of 453 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels. Rolls-Royce estimates that the Phantom Coupe will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds.
Safety equipment includes antilock brakes, traction and stability control, active front head restraints, front knee airbags, front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Front and rear parking cameras are optional.
Interior Design and Special Features
Believe it or not, the 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe has a pretty nice interior. Almost every surface is adorned in beautifully crafted veneer, shiny chrome, soft cashmere or the sumptuous hides of between 15 and 18 Bavarian cattle. The dashboard has so much wood on it that you might mistake it for a clothes bureau. The driver is greeted by classically simple gauges and a minimalist control panel.
The climate controls are mounted a little low on the dash, however, and they consist of strange thumb wheels instead of dials or buttons with a digital display. More complex functions like the navigation system are managed by an interface similar to BMW's iDrive system, with the trademark mouselike controller hiding inside the center console when not in use and the LCD screen disappearing behind the classic analog clock.
Thanks to the rear-hinged coach-style doors, ingress and egress are far easier than in traditional coupes. The doors are impressively large and quite heavy, though one doesn't have to yank them shut, as they are power-operated. Although not nearly as spacious as the Phantom sedan's enormous rear quarters, the Coupe's backseat still provides plenty of adult-sized comfort for hours of high-class travel.
The 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe is really, really big. Driving it through tighter streets can be like piloting the U.S.S. Nimitz through the Erie Canal, requiring you to keep tabs on its wide body while simultaneously peering over the huge front end, which is visible in the distance. Thankfully the optional split-view front camera provides a left-right side view of crossroads ahead. Given its size, the Coupe is definitely happiest out on the open road, dominating high-speed thoroughfares like a road-going racing yacht, though its sport-tuned chassis helps keep it settled on twisty roads. Despite our repeated nautical references, the smooth ride is not floaty, absorbing broken pavement with nothing but muted thumps.