Rolls-Royce Phantom review 2021

The Phantom is Rolls-Royce’s flagship saloon, and one of the most luxurious cars on the market today

£146,893
Average price
Loading...
2
Out of 5

Pros

  • Outstanding quality
  • Superb comfort
  • All the latest technology

Cons

  • Ludicrously expensive to buy
  • Sky-high running costs
  • Fearsome dimensions
  • MPG

    19 - 19

  • CO2

    328 - 328 g/km

Model review

If you were asked to name a luxury car, there’s a very high chance the first firm that came to mind would be Rolls-Royce. These models have become a symbol of wealth, ostentatiousness and splendour, and the most opulent of the lot is the Phantom

The nameplate has been used by the British manufacturer for almost a century, and dates back all the way to 1925, and has been used across eight generations since – the more modern incarnations first arriving in 2003 as the first models produced under BMW ownership. The German firm is widely praised for successfully reviving the firm, and even built a new factory in Chichester, West Sussex, to accommodate this. Every Rolls-Royce since has also been manufactured there. 

This seventh-generation Phantom, which was on sale until 2017 was the most popular version yet, and even spawned Coupe and Drophead (convertible) models to broaden its appeal. 

Latest model

The most recent generation Phantom (the VIII) was showcased in 2017, and boasted even more prominent styling than before, headed up by its imposing chrome grille that looks like it could swallow other cars, while also being based on a new aluminium platform. This would go on to underpin the new Cullinan SUV in 2018 and the Ghost saloon in 2021. 

It also gets a new 6.75-litre, twin-turbo V12 engine at its heart, while Rolls-Royce also claimed it was the most technological Phantom yet, boasting a new camera system incorporating the likes of night vision and full panoramic cameras, as well as the firm’s renowned Starlight headliner – essentially individual lights placed into the roof lining that aims to mimic how the solar system looks at night. 

Value for money

One thing that’s unlikely to be on the mind of a Rolls-Royce customer is the question of value for money. And it’s a truly eye-watering amount that the Phantom costs, with the ‘starting’ price being £375,000 – a figure more than the average person would ever even spend on a house. But that’s only the baseline, with Rolls-Royce’s exhaustive customisation possibilities meaning that plenty of models will be far more than that – some up to £500,000 and perhaps even beyond. 

Things fare slightly better on the used market, particularly if you’re prepared to go for a model of the previous generation, with these now available from £60,000 – typically what you’d expect to pay for a new Mercedes S-Class. The choice of current-generation cars is quite slim, though significant discounts are available – we spotted a 2019 car with 6,000 miles on the clock for £250,000, which is a sizable discount off the new price. 

Looks and image

 If you want to go around unnoticed, a Rolls-Royce Phantom is most certainly not the car for you, as few cars are as brash or unmissable on the roads as this luxury saloon. From its huge chrome grille to the firm’s ‘Spirit of Ecstasy' emblem that comes out of the bonnet, it’s as ostentatious as they come. Then there are the sheer dimensions – particularly in Extended Wheelbase form – where it’s nearly six metres long. To put into perspective, that’s a full metre more than a Range Rover…

Then there is the interior, which is nothing short of incredible. There probably isn’t a more opulent or luxurious way of getting around, with the highest quality of materials being used and a true ‘the sky’s the limit’ approach when it comes to personalisation, and you’re unlikely to ever see two Phantoms the same for sale. 

The Phantom has always been renowned for its huge engine and its outstanding comfort and refinement, and nothing has changed with the latest car. It has a suspension system that works in tandem with cameras, and is able to adjust the setup depending on any bumps in the road. It’s also equipped with a four-wheel steering system that gives it a much tighter turning cycle than you would expect, and certainly helps with maneuverability, but there’s no way of hiding the Phantom’s dimensions, that’s for sure.  

Space and practicality

Those buying Phantoms are likely doing so to be chauffeured around, and it’s safe to say there’s no shortage of space in the back. Even in the standard wheelbase model, space is nothing short of vast. The Extended model is 22cm longer, too, with much of that space going straight into providing additional legroom. 

The latest Phantom also has a much bigger boot than before, and increases the room on offer to 548 litres – up from 460 litres. It certainly means you won’t have any trouble loading in bags for a week away or an extravagant shopping trip. 

Engines

There’s just a single engine option on the Phantom and it’s a monstrous 6.75-litre V12 that uses an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, with power being delivered to all wheels. It kicks out a monstrous 563bhp and 900Nm of torque, allowing this 2.5-tonne model to reach 0-60mph in just 5.2 seconds and head on to a top speed of 155mph. 

It really is a remarkable feat of engineering, with the engine providing punch from as little as 1,700rpm, while remaining impeccably quiet at all times. 

Running costs

This will likely come as no surprise whatsoever, but the Phantom will be an especially costly model to run. Rolls-Royce claims it will return just 20.3mpg, along with CO2 emissions of 319g/km. It will also be expensive to insure as it sits in the top group, though new models from the firm come with four years of warranty, servicing, repairs and roadside assistance included in the price. 

Things to look out for

Given the Phantom doesn’t sell in huge numbers, not a huge amount is known about its reliability. That said, Rolls-Royce has an impeccable reputation for quality, so we reckon there will be very few things to worry about here, just as long as rigorous maintenance is kept up. 

Rivals 

The Rolls-Royce Phantom really is in a league of its own when it comes to luxury, as is reflected in its price. Arguably its closest rival is the now-discontinued Bentley Mulsanne, though other options worth considering include Rolls-Royce’s smaller Ghost saloon, the Bentley Flying Spur and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

More mainstream luxury models you could consider include the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Range Rover. 

Depreciation

Though the Phantom might remain incredibly desirable on the used market, it depreciates in the same drastic fashion as you’d expect any luxury car of this value to. It means that two-year-old examples could be bought for £100,000 less than the first owner paid – a staggering amount of money to lose. 

Which Phantom to pick

Cheapest to buy when new

4dr Auto

Most MPG

4dr Auto

Fastest model (0-60)

4dr Auto

Trims explained

Rolls-Royce doesn’t offer trim levels as such, but rather one standard specification that customers can then customise as they wish. Equipment highlights are as follows, though.

Phantom

All Phantoms benefit from 21-inch alloy wheels, a head-up display and an impressive media system that incorporates the latest satellite navigation system and Wi-Fi connectivity. You also get an impressive amount of safety kit as well, including adaptive cruise control and night vision technology. You also get a full leather interior with wood veneer, Matrix LED headlights and even electric rear doors,

From £373,400

Summary

  1. Fantastic interior in every way
  2. One of the most comfortable and refined cars ever made
  3. Outstanding engine
  4. Ludicrously expensive to buy…
  5. And not much cheaper on the pocket to run
  6. Huge personalisation possibilities
  7. Brimmed with technology
  8. Imposing styling
  9. Vast amounts of rear space
  10. The ultimate luxury car

Related news

View Rolls-Royce news archive
View all Motors.co.uk reviews