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All previous R-R models up to the Silver Seraph can be found in this book:
Rossfeldt: Rolls-Royce and Bentley / From the Dawn of the 20th Century into the new Millennium

Rolls-Royce Phantom & Phantom EWB
(2003 -2012)

Rolls-Royce Phantom
Rolls-Royce Phantom, 2003, #SA91568454U121614

After BMW Group by a clever coup on 28th July 1998 became future custodian of the Rolls-Royce motor car marque, they started "Project Rolls-Royce" by investing tremendously. For several years complete groups of employees commuted between BMW's headquarters in Munich, Germany, and the South of England. There a spot near Goodwood, West Sussex, had been acquired for a new factory to be erected. 3rd January 2003 marked the end of the "Starting Period" when the result of four years of intense development was launched: the all new Rolls-Royce Phantom.

The model's designation didn't contain any risk as ever since the introduction of the "New Phantom" (later Phantom I) in 1925 there had existed a Phantom model series. The designation was correct, too, because as regards dimensions there wasn't too much of a gap between the new one and the "big" Rolls-Royce Phantom from a by-gone era. The wheelbase of 3,570 mm (140.55 in) was only marginally less than those 3,683 mm (145 in) of the Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, production of which had been discontinued during the early 90ies. Height of 1,632 mm (64.25 in) and width of 1,990 mm (78.35 in) were almost on a par with those of the legendary forerunner, that measured 1,750 mm (68.90 in) and 2,006 mm (78,98 in) respectively.

Rolls-Royce Phantom, 2003, #SCA1S68004UH0003

However any comparison between the "dinosaurs", as the Phantoms from the past - due to their very conservative design - had been called quite often and the new one showed this to be light years ahead. The four-door body was made as an aluminium space frame structure; less heavy and substantially more rigid than a steel body of equal size. Rear-hinged rear doors combined easy access for rear seat occupants with the advantage that photos could be taken with no door frame protruding into the photo when the door was open. Keeping in mind the clientele that was envisaged as prospective customers the coachwork had been designed "media-friendly".

A new light alloy V12-engine of 6.749 cc capacity was shoe-horned into the engine bay. Thanks to four valves per cylinder the engine produced 460 hp (338 KW). It was necessary though - because no turbocharger was installed - to rev up to more than 5,300 rpm to gain peak power. Such a level hadn't found acceptance with Rolls-Royce previously and might be one reason for the special 2-phase-exhaust system, which employed a device to shut a valve at low rpm thus bringing down the exhaust note to an inaudible hustle. A six-speed automatic gearbox transferred power to the rear axle. Air springs on all four wheels provided a cosseting ride. Automatic level control was part of the system, too. There remained the question however, whether or not the massive 2½ ton motor car with its overall length of some six metres (ca. 230 in) did fit exactly to be described as a "perfect owner-driver"? 

The engineers though had succeeded tremendously well to make any long-standing Rolls-Royce owner feel "right at home" once on board the new Phantom. No compromise as regards choice of material - finest leather trim, genuine wool carpets and carefully selected wood. The "bull's eye" air-conditioning outlets were exact copies of what was to be found on previous models and that could be stated of the shape of some knobs in the fascia, too. The Phantom was available as a 5-seater. "Lounge" version being equipped with a rear bench offering space for three occupants. Optional "Theatre" version could be selected with two individual rear seats divided by a centre console - thus  making the car into a 4-seater.

In 1904 Frederick Henry Royce (from 1930 Sir F. Henry Royce, Bart.) and Charles Stewart Rolls, son of Lord Llangattock, had founded the Rolls-Royce marque. During the 99th year of its history the Rolls-Royce Phantom showed, which pace BMW Group intended to set for the future. In 2004 a limited series of 35 Rolls-Royce Phantom ‘Centenary’ was built to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the marque. These were highlighted by a Spirit of Ecstasy in Silver with a Rolls-Royce Goodwood hallmark, each one weighing about 300g (much heavier than the normal variety) and supplied in a box to each customer in addition to a normal stainless steel mascot made to the ancient ‘lost wax procedure’.

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Rolls-Royce Phantom Prototype
This prototype of the new Rolls-Royce was obviously employed far beyond the speed limit on French highways - but not quick enough to escape the camera of Pascal Pierart. Be that as it may clearly evident is that the prototype didn't differ too much from the finished product. (Photo courtesy of Pascal Piérart, France)

A long wheelbase version followed in March 2005. Apart from an increased interior space that version made the presence of any such Rolls-Royce Phantom in traffic really dominant. Within only a short delay the EWB/extended wheelbase variant was offered with separation, too. However there was no electrically operated glass division – quite different to what had been almost a standard feature in the past – and the glass screen could not be lowered; this model by its layout demanded permanent employment of a chauffeur.

In 2008 both 4-door models, i.e. with standard and with extended wheelbase, became subjects to a modification of the front design. The manufacturer did not agree the term 'facelift' was justified – but certain alterations of the front lines led to a smoother appearance.




Technical Data:
12-cylinder-engine with 60 degree V-configuration, four valves per cylinder, bore x stroke 84.6mm x 92mm (3.33in x 3.63in), capacity 6,749 cc (411.8cu in); digital engine control, 460hp/338KW at 5,350rpm (SAE 453bhp at 5350rpm), max torque 720Nm (531 lb ft) at 3,500 rpm; ZF6HP32 6-speed automatic gearbox; independent suspension front and rear, ventilated disc brakes (front 374 x 36mm, rear 370 x 24mm), anti locking device; wheelbase 3,570mm (140,55in); height 1,632 mm (64.25 in), width 1,990 mm (78.35 in), overall length 5,834mm (229.69in); Extended Wheelbase Version: wheelbase 3.820mm, overall length 6.084 mm; tyre size PAX205x790 R540A/S, light alloy wheels’ size PAX265x540A, from 2004 onward optional: tyre size 255/50R21W on 8x21 rims at the front, and 285/45R21W on 9.5x21 rims at the rear; max. speed 149mph/240km/h (cars destined for the USA and Canada electronically limited to 130 mph/208 km/h); 0-60mph 5.7 sec (0-100 km/h 5.9sec)

Rolls-Royce Phantom, 2003, #SA91568454U121614