The New Phantom

Today, I had the opportunity to ride in the new Phantom. Motor Region member, Doug Wolford, was invited to take the car for a test drive. Since he's already ordered the new Bentley, I suppose he's on the list. Doug was kind enough to ask me to go along for the ride. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity.

The car is unbelievable. No one who tries it will be disappointed. The ride is amazing. It's definitely the best ride that I have experienced in any car. The combination of control and isolation in perfect. It rides much smoother and is much quieter than the long wheelbase Arnage that I tried last year, yet never feels floaty or boat-like.

The quality of the materials and the fit and finish is outstanding. Again, much better than the Crewe Bentleys of late. I should also say that this car was built to a much higher standard than the early prototype that was shown at the Detroit show (which was more mockup than car). We were told that the demo we were driving was not representative of production examples and when the marketing phase was complete, it would be destroyed along with the other 11 demo vehicles.

The car was two tone. Dark grey over medium grey. It's not bad in two tone. The color break is done like the Silver Clouds were done, but I'm told that there is also a Shadow style two tone available. The interior was wine red and the wood was piano black. The black wood was nice touch, but it shows too much dirt.

Comfort and convenience features are too numerous to list, but there are a few rather interesting details that have not been reported in the press. On is that the brake lights become brighter as more pressure is applied to the pedal. This is something that people have talked about for years and never done.

The RR logos in the wheels, always stay in the upright position. Press reports talk about this feature, but say that the emblem returns to upright when parked.

Also, we have all heard about the umbrella storage in the door. I must admit that when I heard about it, I thought about mildew. Of course, they have thought of that and when an umbrellas is inserted into the slot, the umbrella is heated until it dries.

The power door closure device is a neat party trick, but a waste of time.

Also, they are doing a ten inch stretch version for the person who has to have everything. They will be available in the fall.

Is it a true Rolls-Royce, you ask. Without a doubt, it's the best car available in it's class, when was the last time anyone could say that about a Rolls-Royce? By the way, one of the European car magazines just road tested the Maybach and the Phantom. The Phantom came out on top.

As far as the subjective 'feel' goes. It definitely feels like a Rolls-Royce. If you didn't know that BMW was behind it, you would swear that it came from the old Rolls-Royce, except that you don't have to overlook any small glitches or make any apologies for it.

According to the salesman, they are almost sold out for the year and most large dealers have already sold their allotments.

Richard Vaughan

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