Phantom of your aspiration
The new Rolls Coupe is an antidote to austerity, writes PAUL POTTINGER
THESE days getting from standing to 100km/h in less than six seconds is no biggie. It’s not even such an expensive undertaking.
Holden and, especially, Ford would be glad to sell you the means to do so for substantially less than $50,000.
But there is getting there, then there’s getting there in unparalleled style and comfort without appearing to exert the least effort. It’s a feeling only several super-rich Australians who take delivery of the new $1 million-plus Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe this year will know.
And, of course, this obscenely fortunate carsGuider who has been given a preview of the only Coupe on the continent.
So what, I hear some of you murmur. How is this automotive emblem of excess relevant to the other 99.98 per cent of us? For that matter, isn’t this bordering on bad taste as austerity encroaches?
Valid points — to which we’d respond that anyone who cares for cars (as opposed to those who claim to but whose enthusiasm goes no further than Holden or Ford) would care to know of what is arguably the world’s best.
‘‘No one needs a $1 million car,’’ says Trivett Classic Rolls-Royce’s Bevin Clayton, the man who will sell 22 of them this year. (Indeed, for the rough equivalent of the luxury car tax on the Rolls — some $300,000 — you could buy a Maserati GranTurismo.) ‘‘But once you have driven one, it’s awfully hard to go back.’’
That’s something likely to be appreciated by the first time Roller buyers the Coupe is expected to attract. Clayton says the sheer scale of the Phantom sedan — to say nothing of the long-wheelbase version — would have intimidated them, not to mention the exposure of the glorious Drophead Coupe. In reality, the Coupe is no less imposing on the road. In some respects, it’s the most aesthetically pleasing of the three so far, combining the best attributes of the others.
From the front three-quarters it really couldn’t be anything else. The Spirit of Ecstasy is, as ever, perched on a silver grille that fills rear-vision mirrors and silently bids those in front to merge left. The bonnet is familiar polished metallic, contrasting in this case to deeply reflective Diamond Black paint. The shoulderline is emphasised with twin deepred pinstripes, painted by hand with ox-tail brushes.
The Coupe’s individuality becomes apparent as you peer in at the cabin’s mahogany panelling.
If backseat passengers lack the amenity of the sedan, even the tallest have more than ample room as they stare at the ceiling, in which dozens of tiny LED lights convey the impression of a starlit night.
Crack either rear-hinged suicide door and all is as you would hope — expanses of mahogany-coloured hide, silver switches and what Clayton says is a slightly thicker version of that spindly, old-world steering wheel.
Engage the silver ‘‘S’’ button on the steering wheel, punch the accelerator and the Coupe’s 2.6 tonnes and 5.6m consume the landscape with trademark ‘‘waft’’ and new assertiveness. When shoved, the otherwise almost silently purring 6.75-litre V12 permits itself a resonant timbre. Not a rumble. That would be uncouth.
Mainly though, the driving experience on our jaunt through the Coupe’s natural habitat of Sydney’s eastern suburbs is a case of effortless majesty, a near-ethereal feeling that puts every pretender to the ultraluxury throne firmly in their place.