Rolls-Royce gives the Phantom a subtle face-lift

Ten tech takeaways from Rolls-Royce's subtly updated Phantom flagship

Rolls-Royce Phantom II
(Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars)

No bigger, but almost certainly better, this automotive icon of the gilded life glides in for a subtle mid-life refresh. If you’re in the market for this legendary machine, you can expect better connection, better lighting, smarter tech and even more emphasis on bespoke materials and craft.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

(Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars)

1. You can't hear the engine

For a start, you can't hear the engine. At the heart of the Phantom is a massive twin-turbocharged 6.75 litre V12, yet no-one from Rolls-Royce deigned to even mention its existence, let alone reveal such uncouth things as output, performance figures, or even emissions. All you need to know is that it has ample amounts of everything. In reality, Rolls is subtly prepping the ground for the banishment of cylinders altogether; not that you’ll notice.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

(Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars)

2. The Pantheon Grille

The Pantheon Grille is still the Phantom’s defining characteristic. The design team has given it a subtle makeover, emphasising the ‘RR’ badge and the famous Spirit of Ecstasy, as well as introducing a night-time illumination system. There’s no mistaking what this car is.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

(Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars)

3. Headlights

The Phantom’s headlights have been given intricate laser-cut bezels, embedded with ‘stars’ that reflect the famous starlight headliner specification and add even more presence to this 5.7m long machine.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

(Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars)

4. The new disc wheels were a massive technological challenge

Available in both polished stainless steel and black lacquer, they evoke the design of 1920s era Rolls-Royces, while still looking effortlessly contemporary.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

(Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars)

5. Not a lot has changed inside

Not a lot has changed inside; you can still specify a headlining with a constellation of fibre-optic stars, infinitely customisable to represent any section of the night sky, from any point in time and place. Throw in a couple of ‘shooting stars’ to keep passengers engaged.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

(Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars)

6. This three-dimensional metallic ripple

This three-dimensional metallic ripple is embedded in the car, set within the glass-fronted ‘Gallery’ that adorns the Phantom’s cliff-like dashboard. Chose a work by your favourite artist or sculptor, or simply ask Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke division to shape the space for you.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

(Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars)

7. A thicker steering wheel

Another subtle change for Phantom: that imposing steering wheel has been made ever so slightly thicker to create ‘a more connected and immediate point of contact for the owner-driver.’ Most Phantom owners, however, will stay loyal to the back seats, especially in the 6m long Extended Wheelbase version.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

(Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars)

8. The Phantom Platino edition

The Phantom Platino edition makes another nod to RR history with a split between leather and fabric seats. Up front, the driver has to make do with the company’s buttery soft leather upholstery. The rear compartment is finished in a two-tone fabric, a blend of Italian textiles and bamboo fibre-derived material. The spilt harks back to the era of open-topped chauffeur compartments when leather was seen as a utilitarian choice.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

(Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars)

9. ‘Whispers’ app

If you’re a Rolls owner, chances are you have the ‘Whispers’ app on your smartphone (or at least your personal assistant does). A private members’ app, it’s now set up to dovetail with the Rolls-Royce Connected system onboard Phantom, helping with navigation, security, and other car-related services.

Rolls-Royce Phantom II

(Image credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars)

10. Exclusive fabric

As well as incorporating the exclusive fabric into the dashboard gallery, the one-off Phantom Platino edition features a clock with a 3D-printed ceramic surround. Nothing is out of the ordinary in a car that is always unique.

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This article is part of The T3 Edit (opens in new tab), a collaboration between T3 and Wallpaper* which explores the very best blends of design, craft, and technology. Wallpaper* magazine is the world’s leading authority on contemporary design and The T3 Edit is your essential guide to what’s new and what’s next. 

Jonathan Bell
Jonathan Bell

Jonathan Bell is Wallpaper* magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor, a role that encompasses everything from product design to automobiles, architecture, superyachts, and gadgets. He has also written a number of books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. His interests include art, music, and all forms of ephemera. He lives in South London with his family.