Used 2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Review

No other convertible can match the 2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe's combination of luxury, prestige and curbside presence.




what's new

The limited-edition Nighthawk is introduced, featuring black paint and a black-and-red interior with carbon fiber everywhere. Better hurry; they're only building nine of them.

vehicle overview

It would be a mistake to think of the 2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe as an all-in-one convertible solution. Anyone lucky enough to own one of these bad boys probably has a few other drop-tops, too. Feeling sporty? Grab the Aston Martin keys. Want to keep a low profile? That's what the SL550's for. Heading for your favorite mountain road? It's Ferrari time (though which one?) But when you just want to show everyone that you're a master of the universe, there's no substitute for the Drophead Coupe.

Clearly, you don't buy a Rolls-Royce ragtop the size of a Chevrolet Suburban in order to blend in. Measuring 18 feet, 5 inches from stem to stern, this land yacht is actually 3 inches shorter than the Suburban, but it compensates with an astonishing 5,995-pound curb weight that shames the 5,775-pound Chevy. It's like having your own personal parade everywhere you go, though you're bound to attract some paparazzi while you're at it, professional or otherwise. Even then, you might not mind; there's something to be said for a car that people can't help snapping photos of, whether they recognize you or not.

It's fortunate that the Phantom Drophead Coupe has such presence, however, because its performance is considerably less impressive. The naturally aspirated 6.7-liter V12 under the hood maxes out at 453 horsepower, a pedestrian number for the price -- especially in a 3-ton vehicle. As for handling, it should come as no surprise that the Drophead Coupe has a strong preference for straight ahead. There's only so much the chassis engineers could do with the largest, heaviest convertible on the market.

Ultimately, what's thrilling about the 2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe isn't the drive itself, but rather the peerless sense of occasion you get from behind the wheel. No other convertible can announce your arrival with nearly as much authority, and for buyers with a whole lot of money to burn, that's a pretty compelling proposition.




trim levels & features

The 2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe is a four-passenger ultra-luxury convertible. Standard equipment includes 21-inch wheels, an electronically adjustable air suspension, automatic adaptive LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view camera system, power-closing rear-hinged doors, automatic wipers, a two-piece "picnic" trunk lid, a five-layer convertible soft top, front and rear heated seats, 10-way power front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, memory functions, multizone climate control and a pair of umbrellas tucked into the front fenders.

Standard electronics features include voice controls, Bluetooth and a BMW-inspired infotainment interface with an 8.8-inch display, a pop-out controller and a navigation system. Also standard is a 15-speaker Harman Kardon Lexicon Logic 7 surround-sound audio system with a glovebox-mounted six-DVD changer, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB/iPod interface and satellite radio. An optional Dynamic package adds performance-themed upgrades like a stiffer suspension and a more responsive shift program.

Like every Rolls-Royce, the Phantom Drophead Coupe can be customized to your heart's content. Besides the 44,000-color paint palette, you can specify various wheel designs, a brushed stainless-steel hood and such frivolities as a refrigerator, a humidor, a wood trunk floor and monogrammed leather surfaces. There's also an optional teak wood rear deck that consists of 30 strips of teak joined together with black caulking; it covers the dropped soft top in a manner that recalls the gleaming wooden deck of a yacht. If your dream modification isn't on the official list, by the way, individual requests are likely to be accommodated.



performance & mpg

The 2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe employs a 6.7-liter V12 engine that produces 453 hp and 531 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends all that thrust to the rear wheels.

Rolls-Royce estimates that the Drophead will go from zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, a laggardly showing for a top-shelf luxury convertible. Should you care to know, EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 14 mpg combined (11 city/19 highway).

safety

The Phantom Drophead Coupe comes outfitted with 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 Assist emergency telematics. Also standard are front and rear parking sensors and a surround-view camera system that helps with both parking and pulling into traffic.

Driving

The 2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe is an enormous car by every measure. As such, navigating tight streets can be harrowing, with the wide body leaving little room on the sides, and the front end far off in the distance like the bow of a ship. Thankfully, the surround-view camera system provides a left-right 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 exceptionally rigid. Large convertibles are particularly susceptible to body flex and creaking, but this Rolls remains rock-solid.

Interior

The interior of the Phantom Drophead is as sumptuous as it gets. Almost every surface is adorned in beautifully crafted wood, shiny chrome, soft cashmere or the flawless hides of Bavarian cattle that grazed in Alpine meadows free of potentially damaging barbed wire and prickly shrubs. Behind the wheel, you're greeted by classically simple gauges, including Rolls-Royce's distinctive "Power Reserve" gauge. 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.

The Drophead's infotainment interface is essentially a disguised version of BMW's iDrive system. The 8.8-inch widescreen display is concealed behind a veneer panel in the center of the dashboard, while the familiar control knob retracts into the center console when not in use. This proven interface works well in general, but its initial learning curve can be daunting for those who aren't technologically inclined.

Thanks to the rear-hinged "coach" doors, ingress and egress are far easier than in traditional convertibles. The doors are predictably long and heavy, but there's no need to yank them shut, as they're equipped with a power-closing mechanism. 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 al fresco travel.

The Drophead Coupe's cloth roof features five layers that render it almost as impervious to noise as its solid-roofed Phantom siblings. Powering back that enormous roof takes a leisurely 25 seconds, but once down, the cabin remains remarkably placid, even at highway speeds.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.