Full 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Review
What's New for 2013
For 2013, the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe receives a refresh. This means a more cohesive front end treatment highlighted by rectangular LED headlights and a smoother bumper, a new eight-speed transmission that slightly improves performance and fuel economy, and revised electronics that include a more user-friendly infotainment system interface.
After collecting that Grammy, that championship ring or the accolades for closing that big deal, you approach your waiting convertible after a long day. Is it a BMW? A Mercedes, perhaps? Nice cars, but rather mundane for a person of your considerable means and achievements. Your ride is nothing less than the 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. Just the sound of its name ("Drophead" is British for convertible top) alone is enough to command respect even before one views the car.
Being a member of the Phantom family, the Drophead Coupe is an unabashedly massive automobile. Compared to a Chevy Suburban, it measures just 2 inches shorter in length, is nearly as wide and weighs even more. But given how densely packed it is with quality materials and luxury features, it's almost understandable. Indeed, no fewer than 18 cow hides are used to envelop the cabin in rich leather. The Drophead's breathtaking styling is further emphasized by the power-closing, rear-hinged doors that make getting in or out of the car something of an occasion.
If you were to choose just one option, we'd highly suggest making it the teakwood rear deck. Rather fittingly, this cover for the dropped top resembles the gleaming wooden deck of a yacht with its 30 strips of matched Asian teak joined together with black caulking. Yes, the teak deck option is costly and would require the occasional oiling, but it's well worth it given the added touch of class it gives the Phantom. You may further make this near-half-million-dollar car your own via Rolls-Royce's Bespoke services. The latter offers customization seemingly limited only by your imagination and checkbook. So if you want your Drophead to be the only fuchsia one in the country club parking lot, Rolls can make it happen.
Oh yes, under all this glamour is a mighty fine car. 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 Rolls. 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 match the 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe when it comes to sheer opulence and presence.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 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, LED 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 include Rolls-Royce emergency telematics, keyless ignition and 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.
If you want 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 and exterior colors that's available, there are different wheel designs, front and rear camera systems, visible exhaust tips, a brushed stainless-steel hood, various interior trim upgrades 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. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends that massive power to the rear wheels. Should you care to know, EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 14 mpg combined (11 city/19 highway).
Safety equipment includes 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 sensors are standard, while front and rear cameras are optional.
Interior Design and Special Features
The interior of the Phantom Drophead is simply sumptuous. Almost every surface is adorned in beautifully crafted wood, shiny chrome, soft cashmere or the butter-soft 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 2013 Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe, a vehicle that is enormous in every dimension despite being 9 inches shorter than its sedan comrade. As such, piloting it through tighter streets can be daunting, with its wide body and huge front end off in the distance like the bow of a ship. 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 drive over a land mine and barely take notice. Unlike with other convertibles -- especially large ones -- there is neither body flex nor unseemly creaking, which perpetuates this icon's feeling of spectacular, indestructible quality.