A Luxury Liner. That's what this amount of money will get you - a land-based cruise ship. This is how we felt when first lowering ourselves into the brand new Rolls-Royce Phantom, lent to us by Abu Dhabi Motors. It's the sheer dimensions of the vehicle.
Measuring in at just under six-metres in length (extended wheelbase version) and with a height of just over 1.6-metres this car isn't exactly a shrinking violet. You simply cannot avoid standing out in the crowd, which is so UAE, we absolutely love it. Glinting in the sunlight, ship-sized wheel in front of us, we couldn't help but smile as we slid out of port (the car park) off on our maiden voyage.
How does a car that size move?
With phenomenal engineering and more power than we've seen in a luxury saloon for some time, that's how. A V12 motor producing 563hp takes this 2.6-tonne car from 0-100km/h in 5.4 seconds. Let's just take a moment to appreciate that fact, shall we? The fact it so effortlessly and quickly gets up to speed will never fail to astound. And can you hear anything from that hard-working engine? Not a whisper. The cabin is in fact so sound-proof, sometimes when you're sat idle, you'll forget whether the car's running or not.
So is the handling just as ship-shape?
It's better than ship-shape. It is categorically the lightest car to drive we have ever tested. Regardless of its stature, the steering is so physics-defyingly breezy we had trouble getting our head round it. You could, if you wanted (but we do not recommend), pilot the Rolls-Royce Phantom with two fingers. One if you were feeling particularly lazy, even in the tight bends. The imposing nature of the car is just as prevalent when approaching its top speed of 250km/h too.which we never did. Honest. It is a solid vehicle - regal on the road. With those large wheels and suspension so technically brilliant we can't even go into it, it never shakes or shudders no matter what the terrain or velocity.
It sounds like you didn't or couldn't comprehend much.
And you won't either. That's the beauty. The Rolls-Royce Phantom is astonishing. There is no other word for it. And much like a time travel film where you don't quite know how the plot works, but you love it and just go with it, you have to do the same here. You will just fall for the car and the sooner you accept that, the better. The engine is a powerhouse, the suspension and steering make it feel as if you're captaining a cloud and the size and luxuriousness of the car are unparalleled in the motoring world. They're the only things you're required to get your head around.
Tell us more about the lavishness
We thought you'd never ask. Fine hand-stitched leather seats with optional massage functions (which we inadvertently activated causing a bit of a fright driving home at 3am), veneered picnic tables, a walnut dash - scratch the luxury liner metaphor, this is a private yacht fit for that exclusive part of Yas Marina during the Grand Prix.
But it's two-million dirhams?
Yes indeed, it is. The short wheel base model goes from Dhs1,950,000 and the extended wheel base, Dhs2,250,000. If you can afford one, though, it's totally worth it. You're unlikely to find a car as exciting, prestigious and technically gifted as the Rolls-Royce Phantom. Fact.
Extended wheel base
0-100kmh: 5.4 seconds
By David Light
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