THE VIEW FROM THE BACK SEAT

Auto Car (UK) - - FIRST DRIVES -

What’s it like to ride in the back of a Phantom? Fairly sub­lime, as you’d ex­pect. It’s the noise lev­els, re­ally, that set the Phantom apart from ev­ery­thing else. You can tell there’s lots of sound­proof­ing by how heavy the doors are. Which is no big­gie, be­cause they’ll close elec­tri­cally. Even at mo­tor­way speeds, some­body shuf­fling the steer­ing wheel is about the loud­est thing you’ll hear.

The seats are large and ad­justable, and you won’t run out of leg room in ei­ther model. The Ex­tended Wheel­base Phantom, which is 5762mm long, has 220mm ex­tra in the wheel­base and all of that has gone into rear ac­com­mo­da­tion. Sig­nif­i­cantly, though, be­cause the stan­dard and ex­tended-wheel­base cars were planned to­gether and de­vel­oped along­side each other, they’ve each been op­ti­mised, to pro­vide largely the same driv­ing and pas­sen­ger­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

In the pre­vi­ous model, the ex­tended-wheel­base ver­sion wasn’t quite so well sorted as the stan­dard car. Here, it gets dif­fer­ent spring and damper tun­ing to ac­count for the ex­tra weight. (An ex­tra 50kg sits largely over the rear of the car.)

As you sit there, pay­ing no at­ten­tion what­so­ever to any of that, you’ll no­tice the ‘starlight’ head­liner, in which 1300 lights are placed, to a loose pat­tern but ac­tu­ally unique to each model, in the head­lin­ing. It’s one of the love­lier ‘sur­prise and de­light’ fea­tures of mod­ern mo­tor­ing but does mean there’s no chance to have a glass sun­roof or moon­roof. Rolls-royce is work­ing on it, though, with the hope that one day you’ll be able to have both your starlights and a glass roof.

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