WHAT REALLY IS THE BEST? THE BEST CAR? THE best bike? How can you paint a sweeping statement such as the one on our cover this month? Aren’t we leaving ourselves open to a million questions?
In truth, yes, though you will also understand why we’ve said what we have once you read our story starting on page 62. I’m not saying that the engineers at Ferrari or Porsche aren’t equally fanatical or detail oriented but the word ‘best’ has always been associated with luxury, not performance or lap times. And when it comes to luxury, my word, the Phantom VIII is from another planet. The silence is extraordinary, the opulence mind bending, the visual statement overpowering. I’ve never driven a car that has come close; where you sink into the back seat and wish you never have to get out. But the reason why the Phantom is on the cover of a performance-oriented magazine is that it is a joy to drive.
Now there’s great joy to be hand in caning an 812 Superfast through the hills of Modena or drifting round Turn 8 of the BIC in the AMG GT R. But, equally, there’s great joy to be had in gliding the Phantom VIII from corner to corner over the very same Alpine roads that James Bond chased Goldfinger. Of course there’s body roll and suspension squat and a large thin-rimmed steering wheel and a lofty seating position – all the antithesis of everything that evo India stands for – yet it is absolutely delightful. More than any other car in the world, rear-wheel steering transforms the Phantom giving it an agility that is utterly ridiculous for a car this vast. In purely objective terms, the Rolls is damn fast. But handling is as much about the subjective aspects as it is about lap times, and judging by how wide our smiles were, the Phantom aces The Thrill of Driving test. It is the best car in the world. ⌧
‘The word best has always been associated with luxury, not performance or lap times’