Full 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe Review
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe receives LED headlamps and revised front and rear styling. It also features retuned suspension and steering systems for a sportier driving experience, while a new eight-speed automatic transmission improves fuel economy. A revamped infotainment system brings the interior up to date.
Every Rolls-Royce Phantom says to the world, "I have arrived," but in the Phantom Coupe, there can be no doubt that "I" refers to the driver. With its shorter wheelbase, sportier state of suspension tune and two-door body style, the 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe is the driver's car of the Phantom line.
Naturally, the Phantom Coupe is still an enormous and palatial car. Its long hood and smooth, spherical roof evoke the grand, swoopy, pontoon-fendered Rolls-Royce carriages that have made the brand famous for more than a century. Still, the Phantom Coupe speaks a thoroughly modern design language, particularly now that new quad-element, full-LED headlamps bisected by horizontal LED daytime running lamps have been fitted for 2013. Other updates for the year include LED turn signals, a single-piece grille surround and new wheel finishes.
Inside, the Phantom Coupe is available with pretty much every imaginable luxury, and the whole place is handcrafted in impossibly soft leather hides, hand-rubbed wood and gleaming metal inlays. This year's new infotainment interface is basically a version of BMW's iDrive system, and operation is pretty straightforward once you're familiar with all the menus. The biggest difference between the Phantom Coupe and the sedan, of course, is the former's smaller backseat. There's still plenty of room for two adults to spread out in back, but the best seats in the 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe are the thrones up front.
In spite of the coupe's size and heft, acceleration is immediate, silent and brutal. Other super-luxury coupes like the 2013 Bentley Continental GT and 2013 Mercedes-Benz CL65 are quicker and more nimble, but neither can waft about with the effortless grace and head-turning road presence innate to every Rolls-Royce. Even standing still, the 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe is the ultimate two-door expression of privilege and success.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom is a four-passenger, ultra-luxury coupe. Standard equipment includes 21-inch cast-aluminum wheels, an electronically adjustable air suspension, front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree camera system, power-closing rear-hinged doors, a power-closing trunk lid, multizone climate control, heated front and rear seats, driver memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, wool or cashmere headliner and two umbrellas hidden in the front fenders.
Bluetooth, keyless ignition/entry, a navigation system, voice command functionality, Rolls-Royce Assist emergency telematics with Concierge Services and a multifunction electronics controller are also standard. The audio system is a Harman Kardon Lexicon Logic 7 system with discrete surround-sound capability, a glovebox-mounted six-DVD changer, USB and auxiliary audio input and satellite radio with a lifetime subscription. Also standard on the Coupe model is the Phantom's Dynamic package, which adds stiffer antiroll bars (to sharpen up the car's handling) and sportier suspension, transmission and brake calibrations.
While the Phantom Coupe's options list does not feature a drinks cabinet or refrigerator, it does offer many of the customizable extras available on the Phantom sedan, including various wood, metal and mother-of-pearl inlays, a leather headliner, monogrammed headrest, leather seat piping, a glovebox humidor and a "Starlight" roof liner with embedded pin lights simulating nighttime stars. The paint and trim combinations are infinite, since Rolls-Royce will mix paint and treat the interior materials to match any color combination a customer dreams up.
Powertrains and Performance
The only available powertrain for the 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe is a 6.7-liter V12 that produces 453 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque. All Phantom models are rear-wheel drive, and for 2013, get a new eight-speed automatic transmission. The Phantom Coupe is a touch quicker than the Phantom sedan, capable of accelerating from a standstill to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, according to Rolls-Royce.
The EPA rates the Phantom Coupe's fuel economy at 11 mpg city/19 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined.
The 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe safety equipment includes antilock brakes, traction control and stability control, active front head restraints, side airbags for front occupants and full-length side curtain airbags. In addition, front and rear parking sensors are standard, as is a camera system that shows rear, side and overhead views to assist you in parking this very large coupe.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Phantom Coupe may seat only four, but it still feels as large as your living room, at least for front seat occupants, who sit in thrones that face a broad, vertical and squared-off dashboard. The rear-hinged coach doors make accessing the wide rear bench seat surprisingly easy once the front seats have motored forward. As in the sedan, the rear seats are set back deep into the roof's cove, where it can get a little claustrophobic, particularly since no sunroof is offered.
Clean, traditional instrument dials and an elegant center-mounted clock contribute to the interior's formal atmosphere. Even with the thicker-rim steering wheel Rolls-Royce has fitted for 2013, the Phantom Coupe is far too dignified to take on even a remotely sporty ambience.
It certainly does feel special, though, thanks to its many exquisite details, from its multilayer wood veneers cut from the same log to its deep-pile lambs-wool carpets and hundreds of leather swaths sourced from cows raised far from thorny trees or barbed wire that might spoil their hides. Hand-craftsmanship is evident in the form of splendid stitchwork and pleated leather that no machine could finesse.
Hidden behind the clock is the Phantom's new 8.8-inch infotainment screen that includes a split-screen interface, thus allowing a certain amount of multitasking, such as changing radio or media sources while simultaneously displaying the navigation map. Eight memory keys below the screen serve as bookmarks for radio presets as well as one-touch recall of favorite navigation destinations. The entire setup is very similar to the iDrive interface in BMW models (right down to the iDrive-style multifunction controller on the Phantom's console), and generally speaking, it works well, though if you're the driver, you'll want to take some time to familiarize yourself with its menus before you hit the road.
For a vehicle that weighs nearly 3 tons before passengers embark, the Phantom Coupe is amazingly quick. The V12 is spectacularly powerful and virtually silent in operation, providing a forceful yet drama-free surge of acceleration, like a ground-bound private jet, each time you mash the right pedal.
We have yet to sample the 2013 model with its revised suspension and quicker steering, which together should tidy up the big coupe's handling and sharpen its steering response a bit. In previous drives, the Phantom has impressed us with its light yet communicative steering and composure around turns, so we expect the 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe will remain the best driving Phantom in the family.