Full 2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe Review
What's New for 2012
There are no changes for the 2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe.
It weighs more than a Cadillac Escalade yet only offers the interior space of a compact car. And it starts at over $400 grand. So the 2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe obviously isn't going to be something that will be scrutinized on a comparison chart. No, this ultraluxury coupe ("coo-pay" if you want to adopt an English accent) is essentially a class of one, a superbly crafted automobile that harkens back to the 1930s when premium-brand cars were fitted with custom bodies and bespoke features. Witness the Phantom Coupe's rear-hinged doors and massive list of options that allow one to make this already unique car more so.
Naturally, as a two-door version of the Phantom sedan, this Rolls-Royce has size, prestige and presence in abundance. But with a shorter wheelbase and a sport-tuned suspension, it's more responsive to drive. There's even a Sport mode for the transmission that along with the powerhouse engine further makes this near-3-tonner move like a car two-thirds its size. Still, there's no getting around the bulky dimensions and we doubt Phantom Coupe owners are interested in clipping apexes on mountain roads anyway. Rather, it's the overall effortlessly performing and pampering Rolls-Royce experience that seals the deal.
A large part of that experience is being ensconced in a cabin that would rival the finest English manor's parlor for sheer opulence. Virtually every surface is covered in the finest leather, expertly finished wood or lustrous chrome. The sheepskin carpets are so plush that one may be tempted to ditch the shoes and dig in their toes. The rearward-opening doors allow graceful ingress/egress, while cargo can be easily stowed away in the trunk via its two-piece, picnic-basket-style lid. Should all that not be glamorous enough, consider the optional "Starlight Headliner," which turns the cabin's roof into a starry night sky via tiny illuminated holes. In addition to that celestial celebration, there are a number of extensive customization options to allow one to further personalize their Phantom Coupe.
Yes, 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. That princely sum gets you the aforementioned Rolls-Royce experience, something that includes admiring glances from most anyone with a working set of eyes. You may get a bit of that with the 2012 Aston Martin DB9, 2012 Bentley Continental GT or 2012 Maserati GranTurismo, but not in quite the same way. There is nothing else like the 2012 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 2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe is a four-seat ultraluxury coupe with two rear-hinged doors.
All the expected luxury features 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.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 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 2012 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 2012 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.