What's New for 2007
A long-wheelbase version known as the Phantom EWB debuts with an additional 10 inches of backseat legroom. Both the EWB and "regular" Phantom also get a new auxiliary audio input jack and "blue chrome" interior metal surfaces.
Congratulations, you've reached the rarefied automotive air inhabited by the 2007 Rolls-Royce Phantom. Up here, there are but two choices: the Roller and the Maybach, both of which start at a price that's at least $80,000 more than the Bentley Arnage and the average American home. That's not a joke.
Should you be weighing the virtues of the Phantom versus its limited but highly desirable competition, making a choice largely boils down to image and taste. While the Maybach may offer more high-tech gizmos and a greater sense of modernity, the Rolls-Royce features an undeniable old-world charm and a stunning larger-than-life presence. From the majestic Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament that lowers neatly into the imposing chrome grille to its 19-foot-long body, the Phantom demands attention like few other automobiles on the road. And at 5-feet-4-inches tall, it humbles other cars and makes the pop starlets who emerge from its lavish backseat look like members of the Lollipop Guild.
For 2007, a new EWB (extended-wheelbase) model debuts with about 10 inches in extra overall length and rear-seat legroom. The EWB rings in at $52,150 more than the "regular" Phantom, or $5,215 per additional inch. Sure, that could purchase an extra Porsche Boxster or Mercedes-Benz E350, but the extra sprawl space should come in handy when the time comes to take Shaquille O'Neal out for dinner. An optional partition bedecked in the finest wood, leather, glass and analog clock makes this Rolls-Royce one heck of a nice limo.
For decades prior to BMW's reincarnation of this most venerable of British marques, Rolls-Royces were nothing more than beautifully (old) fashioned luxury barges with all the technological innovation and dynamic excitement of the Queen Mary. While today's Bavarian-designed Roller is hardly a handler, it is a thoroughly modern car with a high-tech aluminum space frame that gives the Phantom a bending resistance two-and-a-half times greater than the old Silver Seraph. It's also superior to BMW's own 7 Series. The Phantom's air suspension softens the harshest of impacts without feeling floaty like so many comfort-tuned large sedans.
The 2007 Rolls-Royce Phantom is the result of German engineering combined with British style and heritage – and it feels like it. Unlike so many of its predecessors, this beautifully crafted, elegantly imposing ultrasedan lives up to the lofty expectation that a vehicle adorned with the Spirit of Ecstasy should be the finest automotive transportation on earth. While the case could be made for a Maybach or Bentley, no other "motor car" boasts the unique style, grandiose size and sterling reputation of the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Rolls-Royce Phantom is a large, five-seat ultraluxury sedan available in regular and extended-wheelbase models. Most of today's top luxury features come standard, including HID headlights, 20-inch wheels, parking sensors, automatically closing rear doors and trunk, four-zone automatic climate control, full power accessories, an integrated communication system and a navigation system. A surround-sound audio system, designed by Lexicon, features a single-CD head unit with an instrument panel-mounted changer and auxiliary input jack. Major options include 21-inch wheels, a two-person rear seat with a center console, a rear DVD-based entertainment system and a sunroof. More significant, though, are the customizable options available to buyers, which cover everything from special exterior paint colors to multiple types of wood trim. Rolls-Royce will also accommodate buyers with completely bespoke feature requests.
Powertrains and Performance
The Phantom is powered by a 6.7-liter V12 with 453 horsepower. The key to this Roller's 5.7-second 0-60 time is the engine's 531 pound-feet of torque, 75 percent (398 lb-ft) of which is available at just 1,000 rpm, and its six-speed automatic transmission. For 2007, the speed governor has been raised to 149 mph from 130. The BMW-derived engine is thoroughly modern and boasts all-aluminum construction, direct injection, dual-overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing.
The 2007 Rolls-Royce Phantom comes equipped with run-flat tires, a tire-pressure monitor, antilock brakes, traction control and stability control. Side airbags for front occupants and full-length side curtain airbags are also standard.
Interior Design and Special Features
This may come as a shock, but the Rolls-Royce Phantom has a rather nice interior. There's more leather inside than a Wisconsin dairy farm. The stupendous amount of veneer wood trim answers the question, "What happened to all the forests in England?" You'll want to remove your Manolo Blahniks before stepping onto the sumptuous lambswool carpet. As nice as one may think the inside of a Rolls-Royce is, it's nicer. And the numerous customization options provide the opportunity to make this luxurious environment even nicer…er.
For those who will actually drive their Phantom, or perhaps for their chauffeur Cavendish, the instrument panel is clean, with classic gauges, and simple audio and climate controls. The latter are mounted too low on the dash, however, and some may lament that they are not of the typical automatic variety. More complex functions like the DVD navigation system are managed by an interface similar to BMW's iDrive system. Its trademark mouselike controller hides inside the center console when not needed, while the LCD screen disappears behind a stylish analog clock.
The rear seat provides plenty of sprawl-out room, especially in the extended-wheelbase model. The prominent C-pillars conceal the Phantom's important passengers, while the rear-hinged coach doors (Rolls dislikes the more common "suicide" doors moniker) provide them with an elegant means of ingress and egress. Plus, with umbrellas embedded inside those doors, there's no excuse for messing up a finely coiffed head.
The large but spindly three-spoke steering wheel feels light in your hands, yet offers good feedback, allowing the big sedan to change direction with ease -- at least when traveling at a relaxed pace. Start kicking things up a bit and it rapidly becomes apparent that the Phantom is no sport sedan. That's not a knock on the 5,600-pound Rolls, just a heads-up for those who think anything BMW touches (like the Mini or Range Rover) becomes an instant canyon carver. Power from the V12 is prodigious. Pushing the pedal to the floor can be a bit surreal, as you never feel the transmission changing gears and the engine makes little noise. The ride is superb, as it avoids being floaty while soaking up Miata-sized potholes and other road imperfections with nothing more than a muted "thump." You could probably drive through a North Korean minefield and not disrupt the rear passenger's power nap. There is some wind noise around the A-pillars at highway speeds (payback for the Rolls' tall roof line), but it is minimal and likely evident only because there is no engine or road noise.