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Welcome arrow Articles arrow Car Reviews arrow Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coup
Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coup PDF Print E-mail


Making its debut at the North America International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, the new Rolls-Royce convertible is surely the ultimate in decadence in motoring terms. It exudes quality from stem to stern and although it is clearly based on the Phantom sedan, the Drophead has, says Rolls-Royce, something like 1300 new parts specially developed for the car. Every exterior panel of the new car is original, with carefully considered proportions more suited to the shorter body.

As with the Phantom the new car has a long hood and large 20-inch wheels, emphasizing its majestic appearance. Visually however, the convertible actually works better than the closed car, possibly due to its lower, neater lines.

"This car gave us the chance to think about the very nature of convertible motoring and in particular what it means to Rolls-Royce," said chief designer Ian Cameron. "Above all we were determined to make this car a joy to live with and engineered it to give years of effortless service to its owner."

Two visually stunning features of the new Phantom are the optional brushed stainless steel hood and the rear teak decking, both carried over from the 100EX concept that appeared at the Geneva show in 2004 to celebrate 100 years of Mr Rolls meeting Mr Royce. The brushed finish of the hood and A-pillar are reminiscent of the classic Phantoms of the ?20s and ?30s, while the rear deck comprises more than 30 individual pieces of teak, protected by a special blend of oils, and as with all woods and veneers used by Rolls-Royce, it is sourced from sustainable forests.

Classic it may be but the vehicle bristles with the latest technology. Beneath the front number plate is a discreet camera to provide a split-screen view of the road ahead, via the on-board monitor, to assist parking or when pulling out of a side road.

The trunk which has a bottom-hinged lid capable of holding a weight of 150 kilos, which can double as outdoor seating for adults, while the trunk itself will accommodate at least three sets of golf clubs. Importantly, the trunk space remains intact whether the roof is raised or lowered.

The sumptuous leather front seats incorporate integral seatbelts and active headrests as well as seat squab airbags. Legroom in the rear is exemplary, making the Phantom Drophead a full four-seater. Open cars, of course, require different acoustic properties and in-car entertainment is delivered via nine channels and 15 speakers, creating a quality audio experience whether the roof is up or down.

The large wheels are equipped with run-flat Michelin tires enabling the car to run for up to 160 kilometers at speeds of 80 km/h, despite its immense weight of 2600 kg. To shift this mass, the power plant is the same one as the sedan: a powerful 6.75 liter V12 developing 453 bhp (338 kW) and 720 Nm of torque. Acceleration is a staggering six seconds from rest to 100 km/h, while maximum speed is electronically limited to 240 km/h.

The brakes are equally impressive with ventilated discs all round, utilizing twin-pot calipers on the front, single-pot at the rear. At rest an electro-mechanical parking brake can be applied at the push of a button on the dash. Emergency brake assist steps in under heavy braking, immediately applying full force in conjunction with the ABS in any emergency.

Clearly, North America will be the largest market for the new Phantom Drophead, but it is another example of BMW, Rolls-Royce's owner since 1998, using the legacy and engineering excellence of the marque to introduce a unique vehicle with a heritage all its own. While the car is unlikely to feature too much in Asia, it will undoubtedly be a magnificent success elsewhere. Look out for it.

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© 2019 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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