We drove the $500,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom and saw how it's different from every other car

Rolls Royce Phantom 62Hollis Johnson

As the flagship model of the world's most famous luxury carmaker, the Rolls-Royce Phantom is a rolling throwback to an age when the super-wealthy lived in 100-room estates and employed dozens of staff, a few of them chauffeurs.

The debut of the modern seventh generation Rolls-Royce Phantom, in 2003, ushered the company into a new era under BMW ownership. Ever since the German automaker acquired the British one in 1998, the company has grown considerably with annual global sales reaching 4,000 cars in 2014.

In 2013, Rolls-Royce introduced an updated Series II Phantom VII, but in 2016 the company announced that the Phantom as we know it will cease production and be replaced by a brand-new car. With the eighth generation Phantom rumored to be just around the corner, we can't help but take a look back at the flagship Rolls that helped resurrect the iconic brand.

Last summer, Rolls-Royce dropped off a 2016 model clad in a regal black livery. The Phantom starts at $417,825, but our options-heavy test car left the factory with a price of $506,900, making it one of the most expensive vehicles we've ever tested.

Photos by Hollis Johnson unless otherwise credited.

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