What is the Phantom?
Ah, the Phantom. If you were to ask Rolls-Royce to describe its flagship luxury sedan, it'd be reluctant to even admit it's a car. To it, the Phantom "occupies an unrivaled position at the very apex of the luxury world." To Rolls, it is the ultimate expression of opulence in the pantheon of all things resplendent, powerful, awe-inspiring and breathtaking. Its Phantom is a totem of luxury to help deliver oligarchs to their mega yachts and ride high through the plebeian crowds in pure sumptuous grandeur. We appreciate the automaker's commitment to humility and objectivity. To the rest of us, however, the Phantom is just a really, really nice car.
For 2023, the Phantom is getting what most automakers refer to as a refresh. But, Rolls-Royce being what it is, says the Phantom is getting "a new expression" and that it wasn't so much a question of changing the Phantom as it was about keeping it perfect. Right. Anyway, the refresh brings with it a number of small changes to the exterior looks and adds some new interior materials.
Let's start with the exterior. The headlights get a redo and the daytime running lights now feature a starlight pattern, and the pantheon grille is now illuminated — a very BMW characteristic that's been carried over to its luxury sub-brand. There is now the option for darkened exterior trim around the windshield, side windows and grille surround. Phantom buyers, rejoice: You no longer have to settle for chintzy chrome. There are also two new wheel designs. The first one is a seven-spoke unit with a milled stainless steel finish and the other is a disc wheel that's been inspired by Rollers of the 1920s.
Inside there is a slightly thicker steering wheel and the passenger area can now be had in something other than bull hide. One new choice for the rear seat material is a combination of bamboo fibers and cotton, with real leather up front. Meanwhile, the Rolls-Royce clock in the dashboard is now surrounded by a 3D-printed ceramic finish.
There are no mechanical changes to the Phantom for 2023, so the twin-turbo V12 under the hood still makes 563 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. It's also probably still so silky smooth you can stand a penny up on it as it fires into life, and the coin won't fall over.