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Rolls Phantom Series II at 2012 Geneva motor show

Tue, 06 Mar 2012

Senior industrialists – and Sir Alan Sugar’s chauffeur – will be cheered by the news that Rolls-Royce has updated its premium luxury vehicle, with the launch at the 2012 Geneva motor show of the Phantom Series II.

Nine years after launch, the heavyweight – in so many ways – limousine gets cosmetic enhancements, some fresh new tech and significant tweaks to drivetrain and ‘user experience’, say RR.

The new Rolls-Royce Phantom doesn’t look that different, does it? But then again, it’s seen off the Maybach, so why change too much when there’s just Bentley for competition?

The most significant amendment is to the front end, specifically the lighting cluster. Out goes the main headlight/spot lamp combo and in comes rather curious-looking two-part ‘light apertures’ – as if the headlamps have been split in two. And, boast Rolls-Royce, this vehicle is the first to include full LED headlamps as standard on a production car.

These take their place in a restyled bumper, with that split effect cue being carried through to the vented front skirt.

Hardly a radical bunch, are Roller riders. Talking of which, will they still be wowed by its waftability?

Waftability? Ah, yes. Not our words, but the words of the most umlauted man in senior automotive management, Rolls-Royce CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös – although along with ‘magic carpet ride’, of course, it’s been a phrase associated with the world’s most famous premium vehicle manufacturer for decades.

Which leads us to drivetrain improvements, although they say it was already nigh-on perfect. The Series II gets a new eight-speed automatic gearbox as well as rear differential which, say RR, go together with the V12 direct injection engine like a horse and carriage – or a Royal landau and thoroughbred stallion in their case. Fuel consumption improves by 10% too, and CO2 emissions fall from 388 to 347g/km.

Anything more, m’lud?

They’ve redesigned the in-car tech, which will keep Jeeves happy, with a range of cameras to make sure that he doesn’t ding the Series II when parking. The sat-nav gets 3D mapping and landscape topography – very useful in the City of London – and ‘guided tours’. Although if you have the cash to splash out on a Phantom II, you could probably hire a real-life, breathing guide for the day instead, surely?

All the three models in the Phantom Series II range get the treatment – saloon, Coupe and Drophead Coupe.

By Stephen Worthy