Drive the Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II on the French Riviera

The resort town of Nice in France is located in the middle of rolling hills rising towards the Ligurian Alps, which means that local roads rise or fall sharply with hairpins and narrow curves. It was in Nice that Rolls-Royce chose to hand over the keys to the new Phantom II to journalists, an update to the eighth generation of the car introduced in 2017. It’s not a sports car, but the Phantom – which seems to be shrinking while riding it – was pretty much up to the alpine task.

All cars returned safely to the base of the new and very luxurious Riviera de Maybourne hotel, built directly into the cliff at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. It replaced the so-called hideous Grand Vista Palace Hotel, which some visitors to the French Riviera might remember by its huge illuminated “V”. Rolls has a story here: co-founder Sir Henry Royce built a villa, La Mimosa, in Nice and spent the winters there until his death in 1933. His engineers would take notes from him on the latest models after traveling on the Promenade des Anglais. . .

Richard Carter, head of global communications for Rolls, describes the 2023 Phantom, which starts at $ 475,000 ($ 555,000 for the extended wheelbase), as “a completely unique highlight of luxury in the world. He is superb and there is only room for one at the top .I think I’m sure to say this because it’s the standard by which others are judged.The’s Rolls-Royce ‘etc. Every year between 300 and 500 people can create their dream car.

For the event and to emphasize how unique each Phantom is, Rolls has created nine cars with different personalities:

• The Patriot (an outgoing car that expresses national fervor with intricate 3D milled stainless steel wheels, red carpets and door pockets)

• The Maverick (for people with big, untraditional ideas and beliefs about themselves)

• The founder (for young self-taught entrepreneurs)

The Iconoclast (for those who push the boundaries, similar to the Black Badge with a darkened rim and the first disc wheels made by the company in 40 years).

• The Sentimentalist (a car with no restrictions to mark major life events); • The Prodigy (for “surprisingly young” global shakers)

• The outward-facing (in a dark purple two-tone paint that seemed to change color in different lights)

•; The Connoisseur (for art patrons to show their treasures at an extended wheelbase)

• L’Aristocrate (for owners who want it all and who probably have a driver) • La Mondaine (for those with “refined and refined taste in architecture and decoration”).

Between 70 and 80% of Rolls-Royce cars ever made are still on the road. Older models, like a 1970s Corniche convertible near the roads that give it its name, passed by while we hung out at The Founder. Entrepreneurs are a good target for the company, and spokeswoman Malika Abdullaeva said they make up a significant percentage of customers today.

The founder, with a youthful image and a relatively subtle two-tone interior with red accents, would seem like a good direction for the modern Rolls-Royce. Cars are generally very easy to drive. Choose drive from the small stem and the car seems to handle the rest. The ultra-comfortable ride stood in stark contrast to a later experience in a compact Uber on the same roads. Four-wheel steering and air suspension make cornering easier. The power from the BMW-derived 6.75-liter twin-turbo V-12 was, of course, “sufficient” (okay, 563 horsepower, with a ZF eight-speed gearbox), but the car does not call for not super-fast. behavior. The mountain roads, with many roundabouts, led to a stop at Gourdon, a picturesque village with a castle.

Later perceived as a passenger, a natural state for many buyers, the Phantom Series II was in its sweet spot in terms of comfort. The carpet is thick, the legroom is huge, and controls for pretty much everything, including radio volume, are at hand. Residents can sit back in heated, adjustable seats and look up at the sky in the Starlight Headliner. Shooting stars are optional. One of the Series II updates is the laser-cut bezel stars, which reflect the roof around the headlights.

From the back seat of a Phantom (at this point The Prodigy) it is optional to experience the passing landscape. The outside world, in the form of strange sounds or hot and cold extremes, barely penetrates. It is a car that does not break down; It’s just “not relevant”.

Phantom Series II founder on the mountain roads of the Côte d’Azur.

Rolls Royce

On the Series II, the Pantheon grille is a little more prominent, as is the Rolls emblem and the updated Spirit of Ecstasy mascot. The changes are not big: Carter said customers said about this model halfway through production: “Do not mess with the Phantom. The mechanics and interior have not changed. But dial and 3D-milled wheels (with triangular inserts) are available on the cars, just like the darkened rim.

Felix Kilbertus, head of exterior design, led the Series II introduction. “People said ‘don’t change it, let it be as it is’, but as designers we want to move on,” he said. We want, as founder Henry Royce said, “to take the best and make it better.” And that dictated the changes, [such as] the horizon line in front of the car [aligning] with the new headlights, the edges of which are now perforated to allow 580 stars. The interior has not been altered as part of the regular Series II, but Kilbertus explained that customers can also opt for the exclusive Platinum Phantom, which like former Town Cars uses leather seats for the front compartment (where the driver sits). driver) and fabric, including fibers derived from bamboo with tufted look and Italian silk textiles, on the back.

The founder uses a relatively discreet two-tone interior with red accents.

Rolls Royce

Buying a Phantom today requires a quiet wait. According to Gerry Spahn, the company’s North American spokesman, a car ordered today could be delivered in eight months until 2023. The first appearance of the new Phantom in the US will be in California at The Quail: a car meeting in August .

Kilbertus is also the exterior designer of Specter, Rolls-Royce’s all-new all-electric two-door coupe that is due to appear at the end of next year. Asked about the car, he said that “it has no panels in common with the other cars. The shape of the body, the wheels, the headlights, they are all different. We are in the process of completing it, making the right balances, testing and adjusting We’re exposing Specter to two winter cycles.

The electric car should be a perfect addition to the company’s lineup, as its hallmark is quiet operation. The company used to announce: “At 60 miles per hour, the highest noise in the new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”

Rolls has not said much about Specter, other than to describe it as “a silent, threatening creation. Powerful and avant-garde, but in profile, smooth, clean and elegant”.

Leave a Comment