Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II — Beyond Sentiment


Of all the Rolls-Royce models I’ve encountered, I’ve always felt that the Phantom is the most timeless. It could be down to the deep sense of emotion it evokes in me, or perhaps the fact that it’s the literal embodiment of ceremony in its truest form. Or maybe I’m just sentimental.

If some thought that the Phantom would become outdated, a thing of the past, a relic as automotive and societal tastes change, they would have been very mistaken. Purposefully niche, I would argue that of all the Rolls-Royce models, paradoxically the Phantom has actually aged the best despite ageing the least.

One thing in the Phantom’s favour is that it never tried to keep up with trend aesthetically, despite emergence and dissipation of design trends, it has pretty much always trodden its own path. Granted, some of the features and visual cues reference the times, but these aspects were always more of a subtle embellishment rather than an overriding change in direction.

That stately monolithic front end had been a statement of power for past century and if anything has grown more resplendent, with modern car designs rendering the Phantom’s profile ever more spectacular by comparison.




Visuals aside “would I rather drive or be driven?” is a question I ask myself whenever approaching a Rolls-Royce, as both experiences are equally — and gratifyingly — unique. I’m yet to encounter any other marque that can replicate the Rolls-Royce experience: be it the balance between balletic softness and pure power of the drive when behind the wheel, or the regal elegance and circumventing peace felt when travelling as a passenger in the back.

With Phantom customers numbering in the region of one thousand worldwide, the Rolls-Royce team are always in close contact with them, building relationships that are more that transactional; the clients are more like good friends. This symbiotic understanding and development of ideals has been key to this the new era of Rolls-Royce, with patrons essentially informed partner in all new marques and models that are released. The client feedback on the Phantom was that it is perfect – don’t change it. So in the spirit of Sir Henry Royce the team decide to “Take the best that exists and make it better” but not with wholesale  changes, but with light design touches and some “surprise and delight” features.

While I have never owned a Rolls-Royce — not yet anyway — for the past eight years of driving their cars, it is still very much a journey of discovery. Your guide being the choice of fabrics, materials, finishes; the crowning jewel are Rolls-Royce features you wouldn’t even think to look for — mainly because no other car has them.

One such feature in this Phantom Series II is the starlight detail in the lights. In recent times starts have been a part of Rolls-Royce story, from the iconic starry headliner to the new starred imbued dashboard in the latest Ghost. But these details were internally focused, details that built on the wonderment and uniqueness of Rolls-Royce, while adding another layer to the peace and serenity you feel within. This new addition celebrates the showmanship of the Phantom’s arrival with 580 laser-cut stars in the surround of the Headlights, mimicking the astral beauty of a clear night’s sky.

Appearing for the first time on Phantom Series II, they glisten amidst the darkness with an intricate show of 580 laser-cut stars.

My first real-world encounter with the Phantom Series II came in an idyllic setting befitting of the aura and lifestyle that the Phantom represents – the French Riviera. In fact as I made my way down the lobby in the place of our stay — the Maybourne Riviera Hotel — I ended up in conversation with an elderly man in the lift. Upon hearing that I was there on behest of Rolls-Royce, he proceeded to tell me a story of his brother, who used owned one of Sir Henry Royce’s old houses in the region. As his tale has it, Rolls-Royce owners would make a pilgrimage to the house to take photos outside and to pay their respects to the Rolls-Royce founder.

If there was any more confirmation needed that we were in the perfect location for the Phantom Series II unveiling, this was it.

Other subtle updates include the addition of the illuminated grille, first seen on the new Ghost but now with new scale and drama, aligning with the updated framing of the daytime running lights. In the wheels themselves rest newly designed architecture dimensions, with a 3D milling technique used to create an abstract sense of depth.

These external changes combined with equally thoughtful new interior design updates give Phantom a new personality, one reflected in the gaze of onlookers as I softly meandered through the quaint mountain villages of the French Riviera, regally positioned behind the refined “RR” monikered wheel.

The new Phantom updates are and subtle yet refined, simple yet impactful. They are changes the connoisseurs will rejoice in, astonish those new to the brand, and admirers with a more sentimental attachment to the brand will regale in. Of the aforementioned, I’d have to admit I fall into the latter category, although if you asked me I would say it goes far deeper — beyond sentiment if you will.



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