The eighth-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom launched in 2017, and so as is the way in the motoring world it was due a mid-life spruce-up. So here it is, and my goodness are the updates difficult to spot.
The reason the Phantom has been treated to such a light refresh is Rolls-Royce was actually told to do as little as possible by customers. To that end Rolls-Royce has said this update “is not about what should be changed, but in fact, what should be preserved and protected”. We think that’s pushing it, because preserve and protect makes it sound like an endangered tiger or rhino, which it is not, but it does explain why the tweaks are so minimal.
At the front end, there is a new polished aluminium strip running horizontally between the top of the grille and the headlights. The grille itself has had a “geometric change”, says Rolls-Royce, to make the Spirit of Ecstasy more prominent, not that you can see a difference, while the grille is now illuminated like Ghost. There are new wheel designs, including ‘disc’ wheels, a tribute to a wheel design on 1920s Rolls-Royces, and laser-cut ‘starlights’ in the headlights, mirroring the starlight roof lining on the interior.
On the inside, the company says everything remains “almost unaltered”, with a slightly thicker steering wheel the only physical change to note.
Tech-wise, the refreshed Phantom sees the launch of ‘Rolls-Royce Connected’, which enables owners to send an address from the Rolls-Royce private members’ app ‘whispers’ to the car. You can now also see the car’s location and health, and contact a dealer if needs be.
Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said: “We are acutely conscious of our clients' esteem for and love of their Phantoms. They felt it could not be improved; but while naturally respecting that view, we believe it is always possible, indeed necessary, to gently go further in our pursuit of absolute perfection.
“The subtle changes we have made for the new Phantom Series II have all been minutely considered and meticulously executed. As Sir Henry Royce himself said: ‘Small things make perfection, but perfection is no small thing’.”