Full 2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Review
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe sees only minor changes, including newly standard daytime running lights, different wood cabin trim choices, new wheels and an optional highly polished grille frame.
You're walking down the red carpet, attractive companion by your side and an Oscar or a Grammy clutched firmly in hand, making your way toward your waiting car. Of course it's a convertible, but not something as common or relatively mundane as a BMW or Mercedes, nice as they are. No sirree, your ride is nothing less than the 2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe.
Whether you're the owner or an onlooker, one can't help but be impressed upon seeing this magnificent automobile. It's not only the regal styling that commands attention, but also the sheer size. 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 well stocked the Phantom Drophead is with quality materials and luxury features, its considerable bulk is almost understandable. Indeed, no fewer than 18 cow hides are used to line the cabin in rich leather, and it seems as if a forest's worth of trees contributed to the lavish wood trim. Gaining access to this plush cabin is via one of the Rolls' key styling elements: the power-closing, rear-hinged doors that make getting in or out of the car something of an occasion.
As grand as this car is, you can make it even more stunning to behold by selecting the optional teak wood rear deck. Rather fittingly, this cover for the dropped top (or "hood" in Rolls-Royce/British parlance) resembles the gleaming wooden deck of a yacht with its 30 strips of teak joined together with black caulking. This option is expectedly 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 personalize this nearly $500,000 car via Rolls-Royce's Bespoke services. The latter offer customization seemingly limited only by your imagination and checkbook. Should 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, panache and hand-crafted excellence 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 2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe when it comes to sheer opulence and presence.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 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, automatic and adaptive LED headlights, LED running lights, automatic wipers, a two-piece "picnic" trunk lid, a five-layer convertible soft top, front and rear parking sensors, front and rear heated seats, 10-way power front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, memory functions and multizone climate control. Electronic features includes Rolls-Royce emergency telematics, voice controls, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a navigation system and a multifunction electronics interface with an 8.8-inch display and pop-out controller. Also standard is a 15-speaker Lexicon surround-sound stereo with an in-dash single-CD player, in-glovebox six-CD changer, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB/iPod audio interface 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 literally 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, the teak deck, lambswool carpets and such frivolities as champagne fridges, humidors and monogrammed leather surfaces. 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. Rolls-Royce estimates that the Drophead will go from zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. Should you care to know, EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 14 mpg combined (11 city/19 highway).
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 sensors are standard, while optional front and rear cameras help with parking and pulling into traffic.
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 that grazed in Alpine meadows free of barbed wire and prickly shrubs that would damage their hides. 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. The seat controls hidden under a center console panel are equally odd.
More complex functions like the navigation system are managed by an interface that is essentially a disguised version of BMW's iDrive system. The trademark mouselike controller is hidden inside the center console when not in use, while the display screen disappears behind a classic analog clock encased in a veneer panel.
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 Drophead's backseat still provides plenty of adult-sized comfort for hours of high-class travel.
Although the Drophead Coupe's convertible roof is cloth rather than a complicated metal folding design, it features five layers that render it just as impervious to noise as its solid-roofed Phantom siblings. Powering back that enormous roof (or "hood") takes a bit longer than you'd expect, but once down, there's an impressively tranquil environment even at highway speeds.
Big. That's the best word to describe the 2014 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.