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.”
The 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?
Well, 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?