Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Feels Like Old Money: Review
Two words: Rolls. Royce. The British marque has been around since 1906, and in that time, has grown a huge following within the uber-wealthy buyer market of businessmen, musicians and athletes alike. It's not just a car—it's a lifestyle. That was pretty evident when I was handed the keys to a brand new Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Goodwood Edition. Try saying that three times fast.
Not So Fine Design
Have you ever walked into an expensive furniture store and think, “Why would anybody buy this? It’s so damn ugly.” That’s sort of the feeling you get when you look upon the Rolls-Royce Phantom. It’s ugly, in my honest opinion. But ugly in a way that works. It makes itself known no matter where you go. For its owners, that's the intended effect.
The badge itself is the thing that sells these cars, so my thoughts shouldn’t sway any of you prospective buyers. It’s boxy and humungous, the wheels are draped in 1990s-era chrome, and the drop-top fits nicely, though, looks immensely better when it’s out of sight.
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It’s an overly-fantisized version of what a car should be—which, to be fair, has sort of been the Rolls-Royce montra since the beginning. “Look at me in my big ridiculous car. Gaze upon it and be amazed, peasants.” Also, you get asked to open the doors A LOT by strangers, so their minds can be blown at the reverse suicide setup.
So yeah, it works in all its ridiculousness.
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The Height of (Interior) Luxury
This is a Rolls-Royce, so you would expect some overly-dramatized posh interior. And for the most part, it delivers. High-quality, hand-polished wood lines the doors. Leather so fresh that it still has grass stains (not really) covers almost every inch of the dash and the seats. And there’s even umbrellas in the doors to protect your $500 haircut.
The beautiful thing about all these uber luxurious features like the wood paneling and fresh leather is knowing that it took someone at the Rolls-Royce factory a very long time to get it just right. Hand stitched leather, and hand-stained wood is the very thing that makes a Rolls-Royce a Rolls-Royce. And the retractible Spirit of Ecstasy badge is so wonderfully made and so much fun to play with.
The interior is clean, and well laid out. Some of the buttons can be confusing though, and the polished knobs will give you third-degree burns if you leave it out in the Florida sun for too long. Learn from my experience.
Legroom in the front is beyond spacious. Not so much in the back. The seats are immensely comfortable and the windows block out wind noise better than an NFL offensive lineman stymies a blitz.
It’s prim, it’s proper—it’s a Rolls-Royce, naturally.
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Smoothness While Maneuvering
I think Jay-Z said it best when he said, “Rolls-Royce keep my movements, smooth while maneuvering.” Modern day poetry, really. But the truth of it is, Jay-Z doesn’t have to work for Rolls-Royce to know exactly what he’s talking about.
The Phantom Drophead Coupe is indeed smooth while maneuvering…and while static, and at high-speeds, and in parking lots. Really anything that tries to defy the smooth ride will be struck down into oblivion by the aluminum superframe and advanced air suspension setup. Speed bumps included.
It’s that smoothness that shines above all else—and that’s not just limited to the ride.
Pop the hood and a monster of a 6.75-liter V12 stares back at you. Two steel braces were added to ensure it stays enclosed better than a tiger at the zoo. At speed, you’ll be forgiven if you accidentally blast past 100 without even noticing. Like the suspension, the engine is smooth as silk. Though, from a standstill, it takes it a second to get up to speed—forsaking practicality in the name of smoothness.
From that V12, you get 453 horsepower and a not-so-impressive mpg of 11 city/19 highway. But frankly, my dear, you shouldn’t give a damn. The uber-luxurious cruiser has a big enough tank to get you from polo matches to brunch without having to snuff out a gas station in between. Not that you’d have to pump it yourself, anyways.
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Should You Buy It?
If you have $450,000+ going towards a car, I would only recommend it under one circumstance: if you have a driver. That's really all this car is good for. Not just because it’s the polar opposite of what we're used to driving, but because even in all its poshness, it feels like it was designed specifically for someone with an AARP membership.
It looks old. It feels old. It kind of smells old too. While companies like Bentley are embracing a new era and introducing more modern advancements to their overly-luxurious luxury cars, Rolls-Royce seems to be stuck in 1927 and refusing to budge. For some people (i.e., people with drivers) that works. For others (ie: me), it doesn’t.
I can’t speak for the smaller Wraith, though, I’ve heard it’s absolutely fantastic. We'll know once we get behind the seat of one. But for now, the Phantom needs to be as modern as it is luxurious, and it just isn’t. Not for $450,000+, at least.
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Engine: 6.75L V12
0-60: 5.2 Seconds (est.)
Price: $479,995 (base)
Ridiculously Smooth Ride
Serious Price Tag