Our best look yet at potentially Rolls-Royce's greatest ever car.
The current Rolls-Royce Phantom's last days will soon be upon us. By the end of the year, Series 7 Phantom production will cease entirely, and the firm's already rolling out the latest in a line of limited-run special editions (not that Rolls-Royce would have trouble finding buyers for what has, remarkably, remained one of the greatest luxury cars in the world for the last 13 years). But all is not lost. We're due a Series 8 Rolls-Royce Phantom in the next couple of years, and we've just had our best look yet at the in-the-works Rolls-Royce flagship.
Even when you ignore all the swirls in the camouflage pattern, it's clear to see that Rolls-Royce's design team won't be radically overhauling the look of the new Phantom in comparison with its predecessor. As with the Series 7, the Series 8 is still defined by its imposing Pantheon front grille, rectangular headlight array, bluff bodywork and a roofline that tapers towards a cluster of vertical tailights. There are, however, some tweaks to the car's aesthetics if you look hard enough: the windshield, for instance, seems to be more steeply raked on the new Phantom in comparison with the old car, and the roofline seems to flow more seamlessly into the rear deck than it did on the previous Phantom. As we said, subtle differences on display here.
A similar story can be said for the interior: specifically, the dashboard that's been snapped in our spy shots. Like the soon-to-be-discontinued car, the upcoming Phantom will still feature a re-purposed iDrive system and a compartmentalized approach to a center console layout. Again, there are subtle changes to be discovered. Though the main multimedia interface appears to remain unchanged, it seems the new Phantom will ditch the conventional analogue dials and gauges and become the first ever Rolls-Royce to adopt a TFT dash. Likewise, the air vents in the center console are now positioned underneath the screen instead of alongside, and it seems the new Phantom will have a new steering wheel design too.
What can't be observed in our spy shots, sadly, are all of the major technical changes that are being brought in via the 2018 MY Phantom. We highly expect this new Rolls-Royce, for instance, to be based upon a new aluminium and carbon-fiber chassis that won't be too dissimilar to the one underpinning the current BMW 7 Series, and all the major multimedia and safety tech that's featured in the BMW halo model should be present in the new Phantom too. It's also believed the new Rolls-Royce will, in defiance of current industry trends, still be powered by a large capacity V12 gasoline engine (albeit with turbochargers to improve efficiency). Hopefully we won't have to be patient for too long before we find out the tech specs of the new Rolls-Royce Phantom.