Full 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Review
What's New for 2011
Other than a limited-edition run of 100 specially trimmed cars to celebrate the centennial of Rolls-Royce's "Spirit of Ecstasy" hood ornament, there are no changes for the 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe.
You've just disembarked from your 30-meter Azimut yacht after sailing through the Mediterranean. Well rested after a few weeks on the water, your lovely spouse by your side, you walk toward your awaiting motor car, a convertible (insert your choice here). Had you finished this sentence with something as bourgeois as a BMW or Mercedes-Benz, then shame on you. For those accustomed to the best of everything, nothing less than a 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe will do.
Should you be scratching your head at the term "Drophead," know that it is simply British car jargon that means convertible top. Although it is 10 inches shorter than the standard Phantom, the Drophead Coupe (pronounced "coop-ay" in fine British tradition) is still a massive automobile. To put this into proper perspective, consider that it is but 2 inches shorter in length than a Chevy Suburban and weighs even more. The Drophead is also incredibly wide, which makes maneuvering in tight spots a rather tricky affair.
Everywhere your eyes fall and your hands touch, the Drophead provides breathtaking styling and luxury. The power-closing doors are hinged at the rear, giving the normally mundane aspect of ingress/egress a sense of occasion. The cabin is furnished in materials befitting a near-half-million-dollar car. No fewer than 18 cow hides are used to ensconce the cabin in rich leather. In addition to a palette of standard colors, the interior can be had, via Rolls' Bespoke services, in virtually any color the customer desires. The same goes for the exterior paint -- if you want your Drophead to be the only fuchsia one in the country club parking lot, Rolls will no doubt make it happen.
Speaking of styling, we'd be remiss if we didn't urge you to opt for the teakwood rear deck. Not exactly something you could replicate via your carpentry skills and the neighborhood lumber store, this cover for the dropped top resembles the gleaming wooden deck of a yacht. Thirty strips of matched Asian teak are joined together and accented with black caulking, creating a gorgeous design element that oozes class. Yes, the teakwood deck requires occasional oiling (recommended at each service interval), but it is bloody well worth it given the added touch of class it gives the Phantom.
Oh yes, there's a car under all this pomp and circumstance, and we're happy to report it's a mighty fine one. Meticulously engineered by BMW and Rolls-Royce, the Phantom Drophead Coupe perfectly blends the dynamic virtues of a modern German car with the style and panache expected of a classic British luxury automobile. The power from its V12 is immense yet refined, its ride is supple and its handling is surprisingly un-yachtlike. There are other high-end luxury convertibles, but none can truly stand tire to tire with the 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. If you have the means, there is no other automotive choice.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe is a four-seat ultraluxury convertible with two rear-hinged doors.
Everything you'd expect from a luxury car is standard, along with 21-inch wheels, run-flat tires, an adjustable air suspension, power-closing doors, bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, a two-piece "picnic" trunk lid, a five-layer convertible soft top, parking sensors, front and rear heated seats, power front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, memory functions and multizone climate control. Electronic features includes Rolls-Royce emergency telematics, keyless ignition/entry, voice commands, Bluetooth, a navigation system and a 15-speaker Lexicon surround-sound stereo with an in-dash single-CD player, in-glovebox six-CD changer, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio with a lifetime subscription.
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 that piece of sculpture, there are unique exterior and interior colors, unique Rolls-Royce badges, an illuminated solid silver hood ornament, polished wheels, metal foil instrument fascias, a leather-lined glove compartment/console box and a Spirit of Ecstasy desk ornament with a signed letter of authenticity.
Should you still yearn to make the car more yours, rest assured that Rolls-Royces can be customized to your heart's content. Besides the infinite palette of interior/exterior colors that's available, there are different wheel designs, front and rear camera systems, visible exhaust tips, a brushed stainless-steel hood and such frivolities as champagne fridges and humidors. Individual requests are likely to be accommodated.
Powertrains and Performance
The Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe is powered by a 6.7-liter V12 that produces 453 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission sends that massive power to the rear wheels. Rolls-Royce estimates that the Drophead will go from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Fuel economy is likely to be better than your yacht's.
Safety equipment includes run-flat tires, antilock brakes, traction and stability control, a pop-up rollover protection system, active front head restraints, front knee airbags, front side airbags and Rolls-Royce emergency telematics. Front and rear parking cameras are optional.
Interior Design and Special Features
Believe it or not, the 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe has a pretty nice interior. Almost every surface is adorned in beautifully crafted veneer, shiny chrome, soft cashmere or the sumptuous hides of 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 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" 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.
Big. That's the best word to describe the 2011 Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe, a vehicle that is enormous in every dimension despite being 10 inches shorter than its sedan comrade. As such, piloting it through tighter streets can be daunting, with its wide body and huge front end perched in the distance like the bow of a ship (the Spirit of Ecstasy perched atop the grille may start to look like Leo DiCaprio yelling, "I'm king of the world!"). Thankfully, the optional split-view front camera provides a left-right side view of crossroads ahead.
Given its size, the Drophead is definitely happiest out on the open road, dominating high-speed thoroughfares like a road-going ocean liner. The ride is smooth but not floaty, absorbing broken pavement with nothing but muted thumps, and the open-roof structure feels impressively rigid. You could probably hit a land mine and barely notice. Unlike with other convertibles -- especially large ones -- there is no body flex or creaking, which perpetuates the feeling of spectacular, indestructible quality.