2019 rolls-royce Phantom
In the world of art, the Baroque period is often characterized as Renaissance with the volume turned up to 11. In the same vein, the Rolls-Royce Phantom is a luxury sedan with levels of opulence, prestige and grandiosity dialed up to the maximum degree.
Its imposing exterior imparts elegance and aggression in equal measures. Looking much like the façade of an ancient Greek temple (the two are also similar in scale), an oversized grille highlights the front of the Phantom. It is crowned by Rolls-Royce's distinctive Spirit of Ecstasy badge, which can be retracted at the touch of a button to protect it against thieves, souvenir-seekers and disgruntled 99-percenters.
Inside, the hand-built cabin is every bit as decadent and over-the-top as one would expect. Between 15 and 18 hides are used in each Phantom and every one is checked by hand for blemishes before laser equipment is used to assist in laying out the pattern pieces. The interior of the Phantom is made up of 450 pieces of leather, which are cut by a computer-guided knife.
About six times a year, the manager of the interior wood trim meets the supplier to select personally the veneers for the Phantom. This painstakingly thorough process ensures that the highest quality veneers of the correct color and grain characteristics are chosen.
The navigation system features 3D maps with landscape topography, guided tours and enhanced points of interest, as well as composite route planning. Front, rear and top-view camera systems are standard to facilitate parking the large-as-a-barge Phantom. The infotainment screen retracts behind the center stack when not in use to give the cabin a clean, uncluttered design.
Unique cabin touches include reverse-hinged rear suicide doors, pop-out umbrellas hidden in the doors, hydraulic motors to close the rear doors and a power reserve dial instead of tachometer. It indicates how much of the engine's output is left available to the driver.
Keeping with Rolls-Royce tradition, the Phantom receives an enormous, 6.75-liter V12 engine twin-turbocharged to make 563 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque.
It shifts through an eight-speed automatic transmission, which helps the rear-wheel drive Phantom waft from zero to 60 mph in about five seconds.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom competes against the Bentley Mulsanne. Buyers can also look at the Porsche Panamera, the Maserati Quattroporte, and the Mercedes-Maybach S650. None of those match the Brits in terms of sheer opulence, though.