Rolls-Royce doesn't do futuristic, but the Phantom has definitely evolved.
Rolls-Royce recently announced that the Phantom would be axed, much to the relief of many. The ultra luxury barge has been around since 2003 and saw a refresh in 2012, but aside from hitting the powder room that one time, it's remained the same for 13 years. While the norms of the industry don't apply to top tier automakers, 13 years is long enough for a car to go stale. Thankfully, our spy photographers caught the new Phantom out testing without its chunky plastic camouflage.
That means that we can see the car's lines as well as the production headlights and taillights. The bulk of the difference up front and at the rear is made up of changes that help the Phantom lose a bit of its stuffy look by adding headlights that appear more asserted and mimicking the grille on the Phantom Coupe, which seems set into the front end and does not protrude from it. At the rear, the camouflage covers a patch that's laid on top of the tail lights to make them look like LED rings following the shape of the old lights. We hope the cammo is covering a piece of the body because we like the look. The changes are subtle, but the overall effect is that the Phantom retains its confident stance and iconic look while shedding some of its dated aesthetic.
It's not just the outside that's all new, the bones of the luxury cruiser have gotten a makeover too using the lessons that its parent company BMW learned when putting the 7 Series on a diet. The aluminum space frame architecture underpinning the Roller should help it gain some fuel economy and feel more nimble through the corners, but the latter of the two benefits is one we suspect most Rolls-Royce owners will care little about. Inside, our spies managed to snap a picture of the large LCD screen that replaces the dials, kind of like in the Mercedes S-Class. However, not every old school part will be replaced. Expect the V12 to remain when both the standard and long wheelbase versions go on sale in 2017.