Full 2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom Review
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Rolls-Royce Phantom sees only minor changes, including newly standard daytime running lights, different wood cabin trim choices and new wheels.
Few cars on the planet command such instant recognition, prestige and respect as the 2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom. We are talking, after all, about the flagship of the world's most iconic ultra-luxury car brand. Debuting more than a decade ago and being the first offspring of then-new parent company BMW, the modern-day Phantom is massive not only in its dimensions, but also in its appointments, quality and style.
Those fortunate enough to ride in the Phantom will be cosseted in the finest materials available. Plush leather, hand-polished wood and lustrous metal cover everything you see and touch. After entering the car through the rear-hinged "coach" doors, backseat passengers will enjoy an abundance of legroom, especially in the extended-wheelbase version. They might even be tempted to take their shoes off so as to enjoy the added pampering of real lambswool carpets.
Yet despite its substantial size and weight, the 2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom is impressively swift and handles with surprising responsiveness around turns. The slightly smaller and less expensive Bentley Mulsanne feels somewhat sportier from behind the wheel, though not even the sleek Mulsanne can touch the Rolls' sense of occasion and opulence. Indeed, the Rolls-Royce Phantom remains the ultimate expression of luxury motoring, so if the world's best is what you seek, then look no farther.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom is an ultra-luxury sedan available in base and extended-wheelbase (EWB) body styles. There is seating for five passengers, or four when equipped with the individual rear seat configuration. The Phantom comes in one very complete trim level.
Standard features include 21-inch cast-aluminum wheels, an electronically adjustable air suspension, automatic and adaptive LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, multiple parking and maneuvering cameras (rearview, top-view, front-side), power-closing rear coach doors, a power-closing trunk lid, soft-close front doors, automatic wipers, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats, heated front and rear seats, driver memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a wool and cashmere headliner, and two umbrellas, hidden in the front doors.
Standard electronics includes Bluetooth phone connectivity, a navigation system, a multifunction electronics interface with an 8.8-inch display and pop-out controller, voice controls and Rolls-Royce Assist emergency telematics. Audio is provided by a Harman Kardon Lexicon Logic 7 surround-sound audio system with 15 speakers (including two floor-mounted subwoofers), a glovebox-mounted six-DVD changer, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB/iPod interface and satellite radio with a lifetime subscription.
The Phantom EWB adds 10 inches of rear legroom, four-zone climate control and reversible foot rests.
As one might expect, the options list is vast and includes things more likely to be found in a luxury home than in a car, including power-adjustable rear seats (with a choice of a fixed center seat or center console), a "rear theatre" (an entertainment system with two DVD screens built into the standard drop-down picnic tables), a rear bar, a cigar humidor, glass cabinets, a refrigerator, trunk-mounted parasols, mother of pearl inlays and a "Starlight" roof liner with embedded LED lights emulating nighttime stars (precise celestial maps can be applied at an extra cost). Really, though, Rolls-Royce's Bespoke program will do its best to customize your Phantom in any way you can imagine. At the very least, the paint and trim combinations are endless, since, like many top-tier carmakers, Rolls-Royce will mix paint and dye leather to match any color sample a customer brings into the dealership.
Another notable option is the Dynamic package, which adds stiffer antiroll bars (to sharpen up the big sedan's handling); sportier suspension, transmission and brake calibrations; a thicker-rimmed steering wheel and visible exhaust tips.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom is powered by a 6.7-liter V12 that produces 453 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rolls-Royce claims that the standard Phantom accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, while the larger EWB version is a tenth of a second slower. All Phantoms are rear-wheel drive.
The EPA rates the Phantom's fuel economy at 14 mpg combined (11 city/19 highway).
Standard safety features include antilock brakes, traction control and stability control, active front head restraints, side airbags for front occupants and full-length side curtain airbags. In addition, front and rear parking sensors are standard, as is a camera system that shows rear, side and overhead views to assist you in parking and pulling into traffic in this very large sedan.
Interior Design and Special Features
With its bolt-upright dashboard, clocklike instruments, thin-rimmed steering wheel and throne-like seats that give you an elevated, almost SUV view of the road ahead, the interior of the Phantom is decidedly formal and unlike any car you've ever driven. Certain color and wood treatments can liven the space up considerably, and the hand craftsmanship lends a palpable sense of warmth. The Phantom is full of beautiful details, too, including up to 43 pieces of multilayer wood veneers cut from the same log to ensure uniformity. Every square foot of leather inside the Phantom comes from cows raised in high-altitude Alpine meadows free of thorns and barbed wire, so as to minimize the chance of markings on the hides.
Located behind a panel containing the Phantom's center-mounted clock is an 8.8-inch information screen that enhances usability of the car's many controls, including a split-screen interface that lets the driver control things like the radio while displaying the navigation map as well. Eight memory keys below the screen provide bookmarks for radio presets and one-touch recall for your favorite navigation destinations. The entire setup is essentially a disguised version of BMW's iDrive interface (right down to the multifunction controller that pops out of the Phantom's center console). Generally speaking, it works quite well, though you'll initially want to take some time to familiarize yourself with its menus before you hit the road. Other controls, particularly those for the front seats and climate adjustment, are unusual and may take some time to figure out.
Ultimately, though, the Phantom's rear seating area is where you really want to be. The wide rear bench seats three in comfort, or two in even more comfort when the power-adjustable rear seats are ordered. With the rear seats set back deep into the car's body, it can get a little dark, especially with the available curtains drawn, but we expect that's exactly how many Phantom owners would like it. Perhaps the best thing about the Phantom's rear quarters is getting in and out through its rear-hinged doors, which have integrated umbrellas in the event that your arrival occurs during a downpour.
The 2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom is no sport sedan, but for a vehicle that weighs as much as a Chevy Suburban, its performance is simply astounding. We have yet to sample a Phantom with the Dynamic package, but we've been impressed by the ultra-luxury sedan's handling in previous tests. The steering is light and communicative, and the Roller remains remarkably composed and stable as it goes around turns thanks to its truly incredible air suspension. Although the engineers have done much to mask the Phantom's incredible mass, drivers should respect the fact that it weighs nearly 3 tons and can only be pushed so hard before the laws of physics apply.
The V12's thrust, however, is almost unbelievable at even the lightest touch of the gas pedal. And it is incredibly silent in operation, making full-throttle acceleration a somewhat eerie experience from the driver's lofty perch. The ride quality is perhaps better than anything else on the road per the car's primary mission to provide tranquil transportation for the most privileged of VIPs. It is supple and controlled, and dispatches bumps, potholes and even speed humps as if they aren't even there.