Full 2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom Review
What's New for 2010
There are no changes for the 2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom.
The 2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom is a car like St. Peter's Basilica is a church. Or the Titanic was a boat. Or a five-tiered wedding cake is a dessert. In other words, owning a Rolls-Royce isn't like owning any other car, even compared to Ferraris or Bentleys. Ask anyone and they'll probably tell you that the king of the automotive world wears a majestic Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament atop its chrome radiator-style grille. If you've reached this level of automotive purchase, congratulations. You won't be disappointed.
As you can likely imagine, most of the creature comforts expected in regular luxury sedans are present in the Phantom, but it's the countless special touches that set Rolls-Royce apart. Every surface is covered in leather, adorned in veneer or fashioned from chrome. The carpets are made of deep-pile sheepskin that makes you want to wear stockings. That Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament disappears into the grille when the car is locked to prevent the flying lady from being kidnapped by hoodlums. And the RR logos in the 21-inch wheels don't spin when you're driving, so they're constantly on display for gawking passers-by.
But wait, there's more. The rear doors not only open rearward to allow for a more graceful egress; they also house hidden Teflon-coated umbrellas. There's the optional fiber-optic headliner that creates the illusion of a starry night. Then there are the countless customization options, from cabin curtains and an infinite color palette to a trunk-mounted wine cooler and full cabin partition. Heck, Rolls-Royce would probably be happy to set you up with an onboard butler named Godfrey.
There are actually two Phantom sedans. The regular-wheelbase model boasts one of the largest backseats on four wheels, but for those who desire even more space, the Extended Wheelbase (EWB) model packs on an additional 10 inches of rear-seat legroom. Sure, you could buy a Porsche Boxster S and an 82-inch TV for the $70,000 those 10 extra inches cost you, but you'll certainly be happy you took the plunge when the time inevitably comes to take Shaq and Yao Ming out to Mortons. Whichever Phantom you choose, you'll enjoy the same potent V12 engine and a meticulously engineered chassis that soaks up bumps like an A1 Abrams tank tracking through a field of ant hills.
So many past Rolls-Royce motor cars relied solely on the company's hallowed name, which tended to be attached to products engineered when Prince Charles was but a wee lad. Thanks to parent company BMW's prudent stewardship, the 2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom is a thoroughly modern union of meticulous German engineering and iconic British panache. It makes the new Bentley Mulsanne look like an homage and the Maybach seem like just another car. The Rolls-Royce Phantom is oh-so-much more.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom is an ultra-luxury sedan available in regular or extended-wheelbase models that seat five by default. Most expected luxury features come standard, including 21-inch cast-aluminum wheels, an adjustable air suspension, front and rear parking sensors, power-closing rear coach doors, a power-closing trunk lid, soft-close power front doors, a sunroof, multizone climate control, heated front and rear seats, driver memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a leather headliner with wool and cashmere accent panels, and veneered picnic tables built into the rear seatbacks.
Bluetooth, keyless ignition/entry, a navigation system, voice command functionality, Rolls-Royce Assist emergency telematics and a multifunction electronics controller are also standard. The audio system is a 15-speaker Lexicon Logic 7 surround-sound stereo with an in-dash single-CD player, a glovebox-mounted six-CD changer, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio with a lifetime subscription. The Phantom EWB adds 10 inches of rear legroom, full rear climate control, reversible footrests and a rear-seat entertainment system.
If that list seems incomplete, rest assured that Rolls-Royces can be customized to your heart's content. Should the extensive list of standard exterior and interior colors not strike your fancy, Rolls will paint the Phantom and tan its leather any color you see fit -- for an extra fee, of course.
Other optional features include two different wheel designs, visible exhaust tips, an expanded trunk, a front and rear camera system, multi-adjustable power rear captain's chairs, a rear center console, a chilled storage box for the rear seats, a "drinks cabinet," fiber-optic "Starlight Headliner" ceiling illumination, rear curtains and a DVD-changer rear seat entertainment system with dual 12-inch monitors. Additional by-request-only items include customized monogram leather stitching, a trunk-mounted wine cooler or safe, a humidor, a dash-mounted Conway Stewart pen set, a cabin partition for the EWB model, or nearly any other feature you can dream up and fund.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom is powered by a 6.7-liter V12 that produces 453 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the lone transmission. The base Phantom accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, while the larger EWB is a few ticks slower. Top speed is limited to 149 mph. EPA fuel economy estimates check in at 11 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined.
The 2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom safety equipment includes run-flat tires, antilock brakes, traction control and stability control, active front head restraints, side airbags for front occupants and full-length side curtain airbags.
Interior Design and Special Features
No matter how nice you think the Phantom's interior is, trust us, it's even nicer. You'd have to transport the largest cattle ranch in Texas to Sequoia National Forest to find this much leather and wood in the same place. Locating a strip of plastic in a Rolls-Royce is a difficult proposition.
For those who will actually drive their Rolls-Royce, the instrument panel design is clean, with classic gauges. The audio and climate controls are also aesthetically pleasing, but the latter are mounted too low on the dash, and some may lament that they are not of the typical automatic variety. More complex functions like the DVD-based 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 classic 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 passengers, while the rear-hinged coach doors provide them with an elegant means of egress. Plus, with umbrellas embedded inside those doors, there's no need to dampen any part of your wardrobe.
The large but spindly three-spoke steering wheel offers light effort but good feedback, allowing this stately 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 2010 Rolls-Royce 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 instantly becomes an Ultimate Driving Machine. Think more Ultimate Cruising Machine in this case.
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 potholes and other road imperfections with nothing more than a muted "thump." You could probably drive through a 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 so little engine and road noise.