What It's Like to Drive the $450,000 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom

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21st Century Waft
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Image via Rolls Royce2/3

21st Century Waft

The old adage that Rolls-Royces waft—that is, travel down the road with an effortless whoosh—couldn’t be more apt with the new Phantom, something we were fortunate enough to experience in the verdant hills of central Switzerland.

The back seats offer a throne-like perch surrounded by acres of wood and leather, and the sense of occasion starts when you climb in and press the ‘Door Close’ button, which sweeps the backwards-hinged portals shut on their own. Though the Phantom interior is modernized with details like multimedia screens that fold out from tray tables and digital dials in the instrumentation, key interfaces feel organic and natural, like the giant temperature dials on the rear door panels that turn with reassuring weight, and the organ stop vent controls which use thin chromed rod to control airflow through old school eyeball vents. Ride quality, as you might expect, is superb, and an eerie silence only abates when reaching triple digit speeds, at which point a faint wind noise emerges. In keeping with Rolls-Royce tradition, a small mirror in the rear roof arch adds an element of spaciousness to the cabin, a way to duck away from paparazzi, or a chance for ladies to touch up their makeup.

Take the driver seat and the Phantom obeys your commands with minimal effort. It only takes a light touch to turn the thin-rimmed steering wheel, and pressing the accelerator summons silky smooth power that whisks your multi-ton steed to 60 mph in a brisk 5.1 seconds. Thanks to an updated air suspension system that now offers active anti-roll stabilization, the Phantom feels more connected to the road in the corners. You won’t confuse the Phantom with a sports car, but its newfound handling refinements make it feel considerably less yacht-like in the twisties. Also aiding drivability is a four-wheel steering system that tightens the turning radius at low speeds, helping avoid awkward 12-point Austin Powers-style u-turns. 

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