Rolls-Royce Rolls on with Phantoms and Ghosts

April 25th, 2012

Rolls-Royce Extended Wheelbase Phantom

We don’t write enough on this blog about Rolls-Royce, the people’s car. That’s possibly because rich people are very different from you and me, as a famous writer said. It’s also because we don’t get to road-test many Phantoms.

However, an Extended Wheelbase Phantom (above) has appeared at Beijing, and I’m having one shipped to Mexico for a test drive. The thing is one-half inch shy of being 20 feet long. It costs around $450,000. If I like it, I may keep it.

The Chinese are getting so rich that R-R has opened three new China stores, “with five more to follow ‘in the near future.’” How many new stores has R-R opened in your neighborhood?

So it follows that chauffeur-driven cars are becoming a new rage in the People’s Republic, and “most luxury automakers offer extended versions of their entry-level models.”

Rolls-Royce Extended Wheelbase Phantom, interiorThe EW Phantom has V12 power and a new 8-speed transmission, with 10 percent better fuel economy than last year’s car to give you about 20 mpg highway. Do you really care about that when you’re being schlepped across town to your next board meeting? Or to the general aviation terminal for your trip to Bali on the company Gulfstream? This ain’t no Geely, bro.

Most of the creature comforts of the Phantom are noted here, in suitably pompous prose. In describing this car, writers seem especially fond of the word “bespoke” (meaning in plain language “custom” or “custom-tailored”). This bespeaks snobbery.

Some, like R-R boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös (“Torsty” to his friends) are almost at a loss for words when describing the new Ghost Six Senses concept, also shown at Beijing. You know what the five senses are, right?

2013 Rolls-Royce Six Senses concept, interiorWell, the Ghost SSC creates an environment to enhance these with the finest materials, the most advanced technology, the most lustrous of details. But in defining the sixth sense, Torsty had some difficulty:

It can be likened to an aura, a sense that the stunning hand-made interior embodies something of the heart and soul of each proud craftsperson involved in its creation… That’s a uniquely Rolls-Royce sixth sense that this car presents so elegantly.

Once again, language goes off the mark. Does he actually think his Chinese capitalist customers are thinking about craftspeople and labor inputs when they ride in this car? The sixth sense is really pride of ownership, which, as we all know, goeth before a fall.

These are marvelous cars, my comments notwithstanding. Would you want one if you had the bread?

—jgoods

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  1. Randy
    April 26th, 2012 at 07:42 | #1

    I guess I’m not looking for the envy of all the 80-year old golf club members around me, so I think I’d lean more towards a Bentley or Maybach. I understand the Mayback has the best back seat, even better than RR. But then a Ferrari driven by my hottie supermodel escort would be more fun for me, until the crane truck arrives to help get me out of the passenger seat.

  2. panayoti
    April 25th, 2012 at 23:53 | #2

    @ jgoods
    The tires on it cost $54000, over a quarter the price of the car. Go to Autotrader.com,
    use area code 26062, and within 200 miles to see these beauties.

  3. jgoods
    April 25th, 2012 at 19:39 | #3

    @ panayoti
    Of course you could! So could I. My ex-wife and I had a friend, an old guy who had made a lot of money in Boston, and he owned some kind of ‘70s vintage Silver Shadow, I think it was. Wonderful man, drove us around in Rhode Island and when we pulled up to a restaurant, the commoners swooned.

    I am not clear on the prices you quote, however. You say the Phantom costs $199K, then $54K? Please advise, as I am filling up the Corniche niche in my R-R stable.

  4. panayoti
    April 25th, 2012 at 19:19 | #4

    I found 2 on Autotrader near my area. One a ’05 Phanton for $199K and an ’01 Corniche convertible replete with twin blue umbrellas strapped to the underside of the trunk. The Phantom has a drop down lunch tray (in Oak of course) for back seat riders. Seriously, if one really wanted the snobbery and aura of one of these rascals, don’t gag now, they are relatively affordable for their marque. The Phantom has 24′ wheels from “AUTO COUTURE” OF JAPAN and cost $54K and has only 9,000 miles on it. The Corniche has a Continental front end and a Jaguar rear end and has only 7000 miles on it. Absolutely gorgeous car. Will get you 13 city and 18 highway, as if you would care. Absolutely I would kill to have one of these and yes, I would enjoy the envy all around me. Could I be so vain? Yeah, I could!!

  1. April 26th, 2012 at 13:00 | #1