Le Cap Estel, France—In today's increasingly fast-paced life, often we feel like traversing a treadmill struggling to keep up. Our lives have become so intertwined with multiple demands that even if we carve out a time to get away, we are still helplessly drawn back to the reality of a 24/7-connected world. While we appreciate instant information, more than ever we also seek peacefulness by turning things off! And the new 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II offers just that, effortless serenity on wheels.
First launched in 2003, the Rolls-Royce Phantom model line now includes the sedan, the extended wheelbase version, the Coupé and the Drophead Coupé. For 2013, all Phantom models receive a few upgrades that subtly improve the overall driving and riding experience for those who want to take the wheel or prefer to be chauffeured in luxury.
Complementing the already stout 453-bhp, 531 lb.-ft. of torque, direct-injection 6.7-liter V-12 engine is an even smoother ZF 8-speed automatic transmission that makes the Phantom accelerate to speed with conviction much like a jetliner taking flight. The added benefit of more gears also improves the car's fuel consumption by 10 percent. For more spirited drivers, available for the first time is a dynamic package that includes stiffer anti-roll bars, suspension and sportier gearbox and brake calibrations.
On the outside, the most noticeable change is in rectangular all-LED headlamps. In addition to the thin daylight running light bar dividing the upper driving lights and lower high beams, the entire LED cluster is fully adaptable where intensity and coverage area depend on vehicle speed—or even on adverse weather conditions. Styling tweaks for the sedan include a revised front and rear fascia and, for the coupes, a new single-piece grille. Inside the sumptuous cabin, laden with leather, premium wood trim and h carpet, is a new infotainment system with a larger 8.8-in. screen (up from 6.5) allowing for easier satellite navigation and access to a variety of connected devices via USB. A welcome feature is the 360-degree top camera view that allows you to see everything around the car for easier maneuvers in tight spaces.
Both the Phantom sedan and the coupe tackled the roads in the south of France with confidence, and for sure their imposing road presences cause many passers-by to take pause to view the car. The 5600-lb. sedan feels big on narrow country roads, but nevertheless its immense power and now tighter suspension option make the land yacht less cumbersome to direct though corners or pass slower traffic. While the coupe feels livelier thanks to its smaller stature and less weight, both could still benefit from better steering feel and weighting to make the car more responsive.
All Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II will be ready to order this September. Pricing for the sedan starts at a lofty $398,970, and the Coupé at $429,295. But then again, for the customers in this category the cost of entry is probably not a primary concern. They want to escape into an environment that is not about getting from point A to point B quickly, but rather in the most exclusive, serene and relaxing manner. And the Phantom definitely delivers.