BMW continues to stretch the Rolls-Royce range every which way (have they confused it with the 3-series famiy?) and today it unveils the new Phantom Coupe. Think of it as a two-door gentleman’s express built for the mega-rich to waft unscathed through the credit crunch.
You won't confuse its lineage, that's for sure. The tin-top employs the same 6.8-litre V12 powerplant as the Drophead Coupe and Phantom limo, so it should excel at wafting with the best of them. The downside is an ozone-melting 377 g/km of CO2. Carbon offsetting? Pah. Rolls-Royce needs all the trees to make its dashboards with.
Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe: opulenceForget the eco-chat, this shapely two-door is built solely to cosset the owner in sporting opulence. The Drophead impressed us so much we considered it for our 2007 Car of the Year award (CAR Magazine December 2007), and though it lost out to the Fiat 500 we couldn’t help but gush at its refinement, attention to detail and sheer presence.
Expect more of the same from the fixed-top version, although you’ll lose out on the Drophead’s teak panelling behind the rear seats. That doesn’t bother us too much though, because most of what we loved about the grand open-top remains, including the rear-hinged coach doors, LED sidelights and alluring brushed steel bonnet.
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I’m sure I’ve seen the Rolls Phantom Coupe before...
You’re probably thinking of the Coupe’s forerunner, the 101EX concept, unveiled at Geneva way back in 2006. The two-door Phantom strays little from that blueprint and is the third Rolls-Royce to go into production in the BMW era.
Bavarian ownership has ensured the Rolls isn’t all leather-and-wood posterity too The chassis is an aluminium spaceframe, which allows the behemoth two-door to tip the scales at a relatively paltry, ahem, 2.5 tonnes – though 531lb ft of torque at 3500rpm should be 'ample' to cope with that mass. The benchmark 62mph comes in 5.8 seconds, but more relevant at this end of the market is the fact that three-quarters of the engine’s power is available at just 1000rpm. The word ‘effortless’ springs to mind.
And as befits a car whose main price rival is a small semi-detached house, Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke service will let buyers specify one of 44,000 exterior colours and infinite trim possibilities when the car is launched in summer 2008, so no two Coupes should be the same. We’ll have ours in black, thanks.
But what if the Phantom Coupe is just out of my price range?
You’re in luck, because a baby Rolls-Royce, built on the underpinnings of the next-generation 7-series, is in development and set for a 2010 debut. Codenamed ‘New Generation Saloon’, the baby Roller is a ‘Silver Shadow for the 21st Century’ according to officials, and it should cost a remarkably more 'affordable' £175,000 when it arrives in 2010.