We drove the all-new $630,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom to see the future of automotive opulence - here's what it was like

Rolls Royce Phantom first driveBenjamin Zhang/Business Insider

  • The Rolls-Royce Phantom is all-new for 2018.
  • The eighth generation Phantom is powered by a new 563 horsepower, 6.75-liter, twin-turbocharged V12 engine.
  • The new Rolls-Royce Phantom starts at $450,000 while our decked-out left the factory with a price tag of $630,000.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom represents the peak of automotive luxury. It's a car whose plushness and comfort is the gold standard to which all others are measured.

For the first time in 15 years, we get a brand-new from the ground up Phantom.

"The Phantom is the pinnacle of the Rolls-Royce brand in its truest sense," Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO Torsten Müller-ötvös told Business Insider in an interview ahead of the car's unveiling last July. "It embodies all of the qualities Rolls-Royce is well known for. It starts with the magic carpet ride, the quality, the precision design, and engineering."

"It embodies what Sir Henry Royce said, 'Take the best that exists and make it even better,' and that is exactly what the Phantom is in every single detail," Müller-ötvös added.

Now, we finally get a chance to experience it in living color.

On Wednesday, Business Insider was able to take a brief drive in a long-wheelbase Phantom through the streets of New York City. Even though we were only able to spend about an hour or so with the car, it was enough time for us to get a feel for its luxury and performance.

We will have a full review of the Phantom at a later date after a comprehensive road test of the new Rolls flagship.

The standard wheelbase Phantom starts at about $450,000. However, our test car is an extended wheelbase model which is eight inches longer than the standard Phantom and starts at $530,000. With "bespoke" optional extras, our black and emerald green Roller costs more than $630,000.

Here's a closer look at the new eighth-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom.

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Here it is. The all-new eight gen Rolls-Royce Phantom in all its glory on the streets of New York City. In case you're wondering, it's 19.5 feet long.

Here it is. The all-new eight gen Rolls-Royce Phantom in all its glory on the streets of New York City. In case you're wondering, it's 19.5 feet long.

Our stunning emerald green test car certainly made a scene everywhere we went.

Our stunning emerald green test car certainly made a scene everywhere we went.

Tourists and jaded New York alike, gawked at the sight of this magnificent beast.

Tourists and jaded New York alike, gawked at the sight of this magnificent beast.

The new Phantom's styling is a pleasant blend of traditional Rolls-Royce design with modern cues. It looks modern and yet timelessly elegant.

The new Phantom's styling is a pleasant blend of traditional Rolls-Royce design with modern cues. It looks modern and yet timelessly elegant.

Underneath its skin, the Phantom is built on Rolls-Royce's new all-aluminum platform aptly named The Architecture of Luxury.

Underneath its skin, the Phantom is built on Rolls-Royce's new all-aluminum platform aptly named The Architecture of Luxury.

First things first. What's it like to drive?

First things first. What's it like to drive?

We met up with the Phantom at New York's Peninsula Hotel. A fitting location for the event since the Peninsula is world famous shuttling its guests around in fleets of green Rolls-Royces.

However, Rolls made it very clear that our emerald green test car, however similar it may look, is not Peninsula Green which is color trademarked by the hotel.

As our green Phantom pulled to the hotel, past a couple of tourists looking for their Toyota RAV4 Uber, I dart for the driver's seat.

Since the Phantom is a vehicle aimed towards the chauffeur driven crowd, many don't see the point of test driving the Rolls. I disagree. I think the driving experience is still an important element even if the guy behind the wheel is paid to be there.

In 2016, we reviewed the outgoing seventh generation Phantom. We loved it. But it didn't drive all that well. It felt heavy and ungainly.

I'm happy to report, the new Phantom drives much better. I wouldn't go as far as to call it nimble, but it certainly doesn't feel encumbered by its sheer size.

During our brief jaunt along the Hudson, the Phantom exhibited a pleasant pep in its step. The 563 horsepower V12 and satellite-aided eight-speed automatic transmission make for a potent tandem. According to Rolls, our 5,948-pound long-wheelbase Phantom can hit 62 mph in just 5.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 mph. In other words, this big boy can boogie.

But let's be honest, the back seat is where we really want to be. As expected, the Phantom is covered in soft leathers and perfectly applied wood veneer.

But let's be honest, the back seat is where we really want to be. As expected, the Phantom is covered in soft leathers and perfectly applied wood veneer.

Open up Rolls-Royce's signature coach doors, and you'll see a pair of thoughtfully located umbrellas.

Open up Rolls-Royce's signature coach doors, and you'll see a pair of thoughtfully located umbrellas.

To close the doors, simply push the button located in a little nook by one of its window pillars.

To close the doors, simply push the button located in a little nook by one of its window pillars.

As I settle into my reclining, private jet-style seat,...

As I settle into my reclining, private jet-style seat,...

...The first thing I notice is the legroom. The endless amounts of legroom. There's so much room you almost begin to feel lonely.

...The first thing I notice is the legroom. The endless amounts of legroom. There's so much room you almost begin to feel lonely.

Neatly tucked away in front of you is a wood picnic table.

Neatly tucked away in front of you is a wood picnic table.

At the push of a button, table folds down and an infotainment screen appears.

At the push of a button, table folds down and an infotainment screen appears.

The entire rear cabin is controlled using this rotary-style controller. It's essentially a carbon copy of the controller found between the front seats.

The entire rear cabin is controlled using this rotary-style controller. It's essentially a carbon copy of the controller found between the front seats.

Hidden between the seats...

Hidden between the seats...

.... Is a Champagne chiller.

.... Is a Champagne chiller.

There's also a drinks cupboard in the console between the rear seats.

There's also a drinks cupboard in the console between the rear seats.

In the ceiling is Rolls-Royce's customer Starlight Headliner that's now standard on the Phantom. The individually placed fiber optic lights take two craftsmen 17 hours to install. It looks great during the day...

In the ceiling is Rolls-Royce's customer Starlight Headliner that's now standard on the Phantom. The individually placed fiber optic lights take two craftsmen 17 hours to install. It looks great during the day...

....But they really shine in the dark.

....But they really shine in the dark.

However brief our encounter may have been, we were duly impressed by the new Phantom. We look forward to an extended drive in Rolls-Royce's new flagship limo.

However brief our encounter may have been, we were duly impressed by the new Phantom. We look forward to an extended drive in Rolls-Royce's new flagship limo.
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