2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended Wheelbase

The launch of the Rolls-Royce Phantom on 1 January 2003 was much more than the reveal of a new ultra-luxury car; it signalled the 21st Century renaissance of the world's most famous luxury automobile brand and the first glimpse of a masterpiece that quickly established itself at the pinnacle of automotive excellence.

For the preceding five years, under BMW Group ownership and in the absence of publicity, designers, engineers and skilled production staff had overseen the birth of a flagship Rolls-Royce motor car and state-of-the-art production facility on the Goodwood Estate in Southern England. Without parallel in the car industry, the achievement was all the more astonishing for a brand which shouldered the weight of historic ups (and occasional downs) and for which expectations for the future were rightly high.

From launch, the Rolls-Royce Phantom proved itself a worthy recipient of the famous Spirit of Ecstasy figurine. From Pantheon grille to long rear overhang, the design was clearly a Rolls-Royce. Every angle revealed a bold yet elegant car with road presence that was second to none.

For such an imposing car, Phantom surprised drivers with its agility and precision in motion while its ride was described by the company at the time as 'designed to lower the pulse'. The magnificently sublime ride, famed through model generations, had returned and waftability re-affirmed itself in the company lexicon.

At the car's core lay a ground-breaking, lightweight aluminium space-frame with power supplied by a sophisticated, direct-injection V12 engine, married to a six-speed auto gearbox. And complementing this excellence in engineering was Phantom's beautiful interior, presenting hand-stitched sumptuous leathers, fine veneers and exquisite detailing, a combination that marked the car as something uniquely special.


Simplicity of design and the very finest materials contribute to the timeless architecture of any Phantom, where touch points are exclusively wood, chrome and leather and where feet can easily be lost in deep, lambswool rugs.

Arguably the best place to experience Phantom's luxury is from the rear seat of Phantom Saloon where passengers - elevated by 18 mm - are presented with an inspirational view down the long sweep of the bonnet and onto the Spirit of Ecstasy. A reduction in the number of seat flutes in front and rear, from five to three, gives a more modern complement to the car's sumptuous natural grain leather and flutes are also added to Drophead Coupé and Coupé seats for Phantom Series II.

An oasis of calm, Rolls-Royce interiors are the perfect environment in which to relax and unwind in welcoming silence. But they can also be a centre for entertainment. Phantom Saloon's theatre configuration adds two monitors within veneered picnic tables for rear seat passengers which are linked to a multi-media player, mounted in a compartment at the rear of the centre console. The inclusion of AV connectors, a six-DVD changer housed in the lower glove box and USB port in the centre console, means occupants can view separate content wherever they may be seated, front or rear.

The LOGIC7 surround sound system by Harman can create a truly cinematic experience on any journey. Seven individual sound signals are processed specifically for the car and its interior conditions using a combination of speakers that include subwoofers housed within resonance chambers in the space created by Phantom's double floor. A nine-channel amplifier delivers supreme clarity, clearly placing musical instruments, sound effects and dialogue at different depths giving the impression of sitting in row one or 20 of a concert.

At the touch of a button, Phantom's elegant analogue clock flips to reveal a new control centre display. The screen has increased in size from 6.5 to 8.8 inches with enhanced pixel density providing a more refined image, as well as split-menu display for more intuitive access to different functions.

A stylish new chrome controller, discreetly hidden within the centre console and rear-centre arm rests when not in use, is flanked by function keys such as menu, telephone and navigation to allow easier access to infotainment functions.

Eight functional bookmarks are now included beneath the monitor. These can be programmed to present desired information at the touch of a chrome key, for example the preferred orientation for satellite navigation maps, to present favourite television channels, pre-set radio stations or to access Phantom's telephone menu.

All Rolls-Royce Phantom family cars now benefit from improved interfaces and interaction with wireless technology. Finding a restaurant, booking a table, then being guided to its location, for example, comes courtesy of the improved functionality and inter-connectivity of Phantom's new satellite navigation system. Further enhancements to navigation functions include guided tours: at the Home of Rolls-Royce, which is situated next to the historic town of Chichester in England, drivers may choose to select a 45 minute tour taking in Roman Britain.

For Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II the telephone cradle has been replaced by a standard fit smart phone cradle which connects directly into the car antennae. The centre recess now also includes USB, Aux-in and 12V power sockets. Additionally, music can be copied directly onto the car's hard-drive, thanks to the addition of a USB port in the glove compartment.

"Lit in a different way" - new LED light technology

Rolls-Royce has a long history of technological firsts and is now the first car manufacturer to offer full LED headlamps as standard for Phantom models. As well as drawing less power from the engine, the characteristic whiter light provides a clearer view of the road ahead, helping prevent tiredness for drivers during long journeys on dark roads.

New light clusters comprise four compartments surrounded and finished with a polished, stainless steel bezel. Continuously lit, an elegant bar runs through the centre forming Phantom's LED daytime running lamps. LEDS in the top two pockets form dipped lights while full beam illuminates LEDs in the lower two. A separate, rectangular indicator strip sits below the headlamps.

LEDs present the opportunity for technologies that better manage the way light is projected, including curve light functionality and adaptive headlamps. The first uses electronically-controlled reflectors in upper and lower headlamp pockets, to improve the sweep of illumination when cornering. More of the road in the direction of travel can be seen as reflectors rotate by up to 15° in direct response to steering wheel turns.

Adaptive headlamps automatically change beam patterns according to driving conditions. Light is dispersed more widely for driving speeds below 50km/h to enable better views of cyclists and pedestrians. Between 50 and 120km/h the light cone extends and is skewed towards the near side to reveal potential hazards on a driver's side of the road, while for motorway driving at speeds in excess of 120km/h, the beam has a longer range and is more intense. Where windscreen wipers have been operating for more than two minutes in poor weather, dipped beams are automatically illuminated.

The convenient activation of headlight adaption is a further benefit, now being accessed directly via the rotary controller, rather than a switch located under the bonnet. This allows headlight settings to be switched between right-hand and left-hand drive markets, for example when driving from the UK to France, increasing comfort for those used to crossing borders.