Rolls-Royce is testing the next-generation Phantom in the Mojave Desert, and this fresh batch of spy photos shows the brand’s flagship sedan taking a break in the shade at a gas station. The production version is on track to arrive in 2018, but we should see the uncamouflaged final design debut at an auto show in 2017.

As these photos indicate, the next-gen Phantom evolves the current model’s chiseled design, but the devil is in the details here. The front now features an even taller grille and narrower rectangular headlights flank it. At the back, the C-pillar is sleeker than the current one. This touch gives the sedan a more aerodynamic shape and might increase passengers' privacy by letting them lean back behind the window.

The next-gen Phantom will ride on Rolls' new modular aluminum space-frame platform, which the company will use for all of its upcoming models. The new chassis will likely cut a significant amount of weight without altering the sedan’s enormous size. Carbon fiber parts will also help shed some pounds, according to a rumor. As with the current version, customers will have a choice between long- and short-wheelbase setups. The Phantom Coupe and Drophead Coupe might not get replacements due to low demand. The Wraith and Dawn will remain fantastic alternatives, though.

Inside, Rolls’ customers will continue to experience one of the most luxurious vehicles in the world. Expect gargantuan door openings for effortless entrances and exits into the back. The driver (more likely the chauffeur) gets to enjoy a digital instrument cluster and larger infotainment system.

Even if it weighs less, the colossal sedan still needs a suitably large engine, and the next Phantom would continue to use a big V12 to get around. There are rumors that a plug-in hybrid might eventually join the range eventually. 

Gallery: Rolls-Royce Phantom Spy Shots

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