Rolls-Royce Phantom

From Rolls Royce press: The Phantom’s aluminum space frame is the largest of its kind ever built for automotive use. Made up of more than 200 extruded aluminium profiles and 300 sheet parts, it combines low weight with extreme strength. The whole bodyshell weighs just 550 kg yet has a torsional rigidity of more than 40,000 Nm/degree – making it at least twice as stiff as any previous Rolls-Royce.

Each frame has 120 metres of welds at over 2,000 separate points, every one completed by hand. The weld at the rear C pillar alone is almost 2 feet long. The expertise of the highly specialised team, based at Dingolfing, combined with state-of-the-art measuring equipment means that the entire body is constructed to within a plus / minus tolerance of just 0.1mm (0.004in). This level of accuracy allows the coach doors, for example, to clear each other by just 2.7 mm.

The driveline of the new Phantom is unique to Rolls-Royce, delivering all the virtues and traditional characteristics of a Rolls-Royce engine, and making use of the latest engineering technology. A Rolls-Royce motor car has a specific type of performance which has been referred to as “waftability“. This means a powerful performance without apparent effort or disturbance to the driver and passengers. To deliver this the power unit needs to produce tremendous levels of torque, extremely smoothly, whatever the engine speed, but especially at low revs.

Each engine is hand-built by a team of specialists based in Munich, in the same facility where the BMW M Series engines are produced. Hand-building means that every component can be selected and assembled by some of the most skilled power train engineers in the world. The result is an exceptional engine which has been specifically designed for Rolls-Royce to give exactly the correct power characteristics – quite different to those required for a BMW. It is unique to the marque.

This lightweight, normally aspirated, 6.75 litre V12 engine develops its peak torque of 720 Nm (531 lb ft) at 3500 rpm – an impressive figure. More impressive still, is that 78 per cent of this (or 560 Nm) is produced at just 1000rpm – fractionally above tick over. This makes for smooth, effortless and extremely rapid acceleration from a standstill. The sprint to 60 mph takes 5.7 seconds (0-100 kph in 5.9 seconds).

Lying within the engine is the very latest technology, including direct injection, variable valve timing and variable valve lift – the latter which removes the need for throttle butterflies and their accompanying efficiency losses. The result is an engine which is not only powerful, but also extremely fuel efficient, returning 25.7 mpg (11.0 l/100 km) on the extra urban cycle and a combined figure of 17.8 mpg (15.9 l/100 km) – remarkable figures for a motor car of this size and performance.

Gallery: Rolls-Royce Phantom