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Best of the Best: Is the Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII One of the Greatest Cars of All Time?

The British marque’s eighth edition of the iconic model rules over its class.

Rolls-Royce Phantom VII Photo: James Lipman

The Rolls-Royce Phantom is the four-wheel equivalent of basketball’s LeBron James. Now in its eighth iteration, the British marque’s most iconic model—which dates back to 1925—dominates its class and is a perennial pick for nearly every accolade. What makes that fact even more remarkable is that the Phantom has been at the top of the automotive game—as far as exclusivity in engineering and presentation—for 93 years.

“It’s a long journey to come up with this level of perfection,” says Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. This point is driven home by the fact that just improving on the Phantom VII, introduced in 2003, took considerable time. “We started the first creative talks [for Phantom VIII] six years ago,” says Müller-Ötvös.

Available in extended- and standard-wheelbase versions, the new Phantom VIII features a 563 hp, 6.75-liter, twin-turbocharged V-12 engine (generating 664 ft lbs of torque) mated with a satellite-aided eight-speed transmission. The pairing enables the new standard-wheelbase Phantom to fly from zero to 62 mph in 5.3 seconds (5.4 seconds for the extended-wheelbase model) on its way to a limited top speed of 155 mph. The power train combines with the car’s all-aluminum space-frame construction and state-of-the-art, self-leveling air suspension to provide what Rolls-Royce refers to as a “magic carpet ride”—a promise that the Phantom definitely delivers on. And to add to the car’s airy drive dynamics, the 22-inch alloy wheels are wrapped in Rolls-Royce’s customized Seal Technology tires which are foam-layered to insulate occupants from road noise.

Rolls-Royce Phantom VII

Inside the acoustically insulated cabin  Photo: James Lipman

But what really makes the Phantom VIII phenomenal is the passenger experience inside the acoustically insulated cabin. Plush with lambs-wool rugs, the interior includes such accoutrements as the brand’s Rear Picnic Tables, Rear Theatre Monitors, and a bespoke dashboard gallery designed to showcase commissioned work from one’s favorite artist. In addition, the marque’s Starlight Headliner features 1,334 fiber-optic lights that can be fashioned to the owner’s choice, including favorite constellations. In all, the Phantom VIII translates the unmistakable message that, for its owner, life is nothing but net. (from $450,000)

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