Rolls-Royce is also becoming electric as the finest of all existing car manufacturers – reason enough to go on an entertaining journey across the Alps with the current Phantom Series II. The most opulent luxury limousine in the world lets you travel in a completely different way – like in a time capsule that you don’t want to leave again.
At some point, the end of the twelve-cylinder – even at Rolls-Royce. With the Specter, the British will be launching their first electric model this year; more will follow. The spectacular luxury coupé with impressive driving performance, impressive design and the usual elite interior is intended to catapult the BMW brand into a new era and inspire new purely electric customers. However, the mighty Rolls-Royce Phantom is still the figurehead of the British – even without an electric drive, you can’t hear anything from the V12 engine under the long hood, unless you take it sporty on the motorway. But even then there is not much more than a soft whisper and a deflection on the left round instrument.
Traveling in a Rolls-Royce Phantom is like stepping into another era. It goes from Munich via Sankt Moritz to Lake Como – hardly less elitist than the most expensive series sedan in the world. A journey with a brisk freeway start in Germany, shallow country roads in Switzerland and small alleys on Lake Como. At first, however, the positive interest in the 5.76 meter long phantom is surprising. People turn around, cell phone cameras click, heads turn and not only in the south of Munich a few thumbs up are given during the passage – just from a man in his mid-forties who stretches his hand up from his Ferrari – maybe he also has a Rolls -Royce Phantom. When an elderly couple waves from an off-white Mercedes pagoda and thumbs up, one is surprised. The colorfully whitewashed Rolls-Royce Phantom seems to be very well received – and not only by its occupants.
They wallow in boundless luxury, spectacularly comfortable leather seats, and enjoy the grandiose silence while driving on the Autobahn towards Garmisch. The processing, the ambience – spectacular and classic. Nevertheless, one or the other is getting old. Despite their modern appearance, the instruments seem just as old as the air conditioning controls, which have not been changed in terms of rotary controls and temperature wheels. It is typical Rolls-Royce, but optically dusty. Even an elite luxury sedan like the Phantom would do well with a facelift in the front and rear. The operation via touch is probably not majestic enough, because the central screen is located behind a protective pane, as is the art installation in front of the passenger seat, which the well-heeled customer can choose according to his or her taste. The front passenger display, which is missing here, is in the backrests of the front seats, so that the two rear passengers can not only hide their feet in the long-pile carpets, but can also watch films or surf the web. The Rolls-Royce Phantom perfectly manages the balancing act between yesterday and today, not only with the exterior design – especially inside the noble sedan is a real show. And if the more than impressive normal version is not enough for you, you can opt for the variant with an extended wheelbase, then there is even more space, luxury and other options for customization in the second row for a few tens of thousands of euros.
However, the driver behind the usual thin wheel appreciates being on the road in the normal version, and not only when parking and maneuvering on Lake Como. This alone pushes the oncoming traffic in the small Swiss towns to their limits. The travel and suspension comfort is just as spectacular as the noise level, because even at higher speeds there is little more than a quiet acoustic breeze rushing through the leather-covered cabin. The V12 engine from BMW has traditionally been expanded to a displacement of 6.75 liters, while the output of 420 kW / 571 hp is on the same level as the recently significantly sportier BMW M 760i. If desired, the Phantom can reach speeds of up to 250 km/h on the Autobahn, encouraging sports car drivers and Golf GTI clubs to take a quick sprint. Nothing less than an insult to majesty and no reason to get into the high-speed stages.
The Phantom is a large touring car – perhaps one of the last of its kind. Its travel comfort is nothing short of unique. It’s not just about the noise level, the dozens of kilos of hidden insulating material, double glazing or the air suspension, but the symbiosis of everything. For every occupant, this also includes the ambience, the spectacular workmanship and the operation. Rolls-Royce is first and foremost Rolls-Royce – the Swabian slogan “the best or nothing” really fits here for the first time. The travel comfort after a few hours behind the wheel is unique if you don’t take it too fast. The power delivery is hardly less impressive than the travel comfort, but the chauffeur has to get used to the precise but all too easy steering as well as to the noticeable rolling movements when driving fast Swiss bends between Scoul and Sankt Moritz. The Phantom is unconditionally designed for the comfort of the rear occupants and thus prohibits any harshness with roll stabilization. Even if Rolls-Royce with its excellent eight-speed automatic does without a driving program for good reasons – changing modes would be quite contemporary here to adapt dampers and air suspension if the 900 Nm maximum torque were to be used in a species-appropriate manner. But no matter how brisk or fast you are on the road – the noise level remains almost at zero level and in this respect the potential customers of the future electric Royce models do not have to change. The seats in the rear can also be infinitely electrically adjusted, air-conditioned and brought into a resting position so that the guest there can dream with a view of the starry LED sky. What’s missing is the electric shading of the rear windows – but you can order almost anything with the Phantom anyway – even if it’s not on the list of extras.
After the rather wide sweeping curve radii, after a brief stopover in St. Moritz, things get tighter on the descent towards Italy, and despite the all-wheel steering, the driver now has to work seriously for the first time. The pace is leisurely, because around half an hour to the border, the Swiss law enforcement agencies sit behind the phantom with their natural composure and make the ride as dynamic as a children’s carriage ride on a Sunday afternoon. Tempo 80, 60, 50 and again 80 – the whole thing back and forth – back and forth to the border in Chiavenna, where both the Swiss and the Italian border guards have an impressive interest in the all too conspicuously painted Rolls-Royce. Wouldn’t an alleged financial smuggler have chosen a more inconspicuous vehicle for his crime? After all, the Italian border guard is apparently more interested in the luxury limousine from Goodwood, which costs around 500,000 euros, than in the papers that have already been checked for its occupants.
At the next dinner stop in Delebio, the Series II reaches its limits for the first time. The small towns already have problems letting modern normal vehicles through without any problems; a parking space for the XXL version with an Emily hood ornament was finally found – where the small vans of the regional city administration usually park. The local village youth is enthusiastic about the UFO from Great Britain. The final stage in the direction of Como takes you on increasingly poor roads. The air suspension skilfully conceals the fact that the road surfaces are often burst and repaired countless times. The late evening hour makes it easier to get through and it only gets really tight when you get to the upper village of Cernobbio, because the curve radii of the historic town only fit very moderately with the almost 5.80 meters in length. But in contrast to the older Fiat Ducatos that usually operate here, the extra-long Phantom offers rear-axle steering – which always makes maneuvering easier. However, the Rolls-Royce Phantom makes its greatest appearance at the destination hotel. Since it doesn’t fit in the underground car park, the concierge would like to park it right in front of the hotel entrance – free of charge. “Of course that’s great advertising for us.” Parking included – not bad.
I’m a recent graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism. I started working as a news reporter for 24 Hours World about two years ago, and I’ve been writing articles ever since. My main focus is automotive news, but I’ve also written about politics, lifestyle, and entertainment.