The onrushing necessity for electrification is affecting even Rolls-Royce, but for now has been swerved on the flagship. The upcoming Spectre will showcase what Rolls can do when it needs to abandon petrol, but the Phantom still clings on to its 6.75-litre V12 engine. It’s about the size of a VW Up! so 543PS (400kW) doesn’t seem like an awful not, but that’s because, for reasons of pure waft, the Phantom is tuned for torque not power. That means a hefty 900Nm (664lb ft) delivered at barely above tickover (1,700rpm). Top speed is reigned in at an almost unseemly 155mph.
Performance can only be described as effortless. The Phantom has the most assisted steering I have ever experienced, probably wise in a car of around three tonnes, and any kind of forward motion comes with a complete lack of fuss. Even the eight-speed automatic gearbox does its business so serenely that you have to strain to notice its work in the slightest.
Should you decide to ask the Phantom deliver every last dreg of power, a slick or cold road can find the smallest amount of traction loss at the rear, but it’s snuffed out as fast as it begins. Keep your foot in and the sound of a massive V12 working will swell a little, not enough to intrude, but just the right level to tell you the car is delivering all its promise.
Even at speed the cabin is whisper quiet and the Phantom's ability to stamp out any sign of judder through the cabin from the worst road is a little bit scary, like meeting an overly human-like AI for the first time. That ability is enhanced by the fact that the Rolls-Royce Phantom actually scans the road ahead to check for bumps and corners, so it can set its damping as required. The weirdest thing is just how impressive the Phantom is at speed. It could never be described as nimble, but even through snakelike roads and tight lanes of Sussex the Rolls feels like it can always carry whatever momentum you wish.