Rolls-royce Phantom: the Pricey Spirit

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Rolls-Royce's new Phantom is born with the right spirit. But for those who intend to seize its spirit, they have to pay first the pricey price. And how pricey is pricey? A Phantom Drophead Coupe was earlier sold for $2 million at a charity auction in Florida. Now, it holds the record of the most expensive new car ever sold in the United States.

In the seven-year history of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, the $2 million bid was the highest price paid. The famous auction was attended by equally famous celebrities like television and film stars. It was also graced by top vintners and chefs. The top bidder though has to wait for the delivery of the landmark vehicle. The production of the soft-top worth ?300,000 will be starting this summer at the company's factory in Goodwood, West Sussex. The said factory will use only two robots to do the painting of the car's spaceframe body. The rest of the work is done by hand. This is in accordance with the Rolls Royce tradition.

The 2008 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe debuted at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) last month. The ultra-luxury saloon was the first Rolls-Royce branded car made under the ownership of BMW. It is equipped with 6.75 L, 48-valve, V12 engine based from BMW's V12. The engine is capable of producing 453 horsepower and 531 ft&bulllbf of torque.

After the car was unveiled, it got a mixed reception. Purists did not take the modifications positively. However, modern owners interpreted the alterations in an optimistic light.

The excitement found in the new Rolls Royce Phantom may not be credited to ; it has to be contributed by a collection of remarkable auto parts that include the double wishbone suspension and six-speed automatic transmission. The Rolls Royce Phantom also features side markers, aluminium spaceframe body, wood and leather work and it also retains some of the customary Rolls-Royce design cues.

Other stunning features of the Phantom Drophead include the power reserve dial instead of a tachometer, suicide doors, electronic lock, pop-out umbrellas on the rear doors, traditional Spirit of Ecstasy ornament, and the catchy 'RR' logos.

What do you do with a handsome Phantom? Critics in the industry said 90 percent of owners will be at the controls of the ?250,000-worth car. Nevertheless, some aficionados asked whether the car is really worth its price. To find out, critics got behind Rolls Royce Phantom's wheel and tested it.

According to the expert who test drived the Phantom, the car glides effortlessly and the steering is very light and requires the minimum of effort. "It really is uncomplicated and very relaxing, although a large blind spot means you need to take great care when changing lanes. But on these kinds of roads the longer you're at the helm, the more you want to drive the Phantom. Few motors leave you this chilled-out after a 300-mile journey, which explains why R-R is so confident owners will want to drive it," they added.

"The feeling of space and the sumptuous seats make the Rolls a very exclusive place to be," an occupant quipped. "If that happens, the Phantom will be everything a modern Roller should be - graceful, easy to drive, smooth and powerful. When it comes to luxury motoring, it doesn't get much better," he added.

At ?250,000, the Phantom is definitely not an affordable car. However, the classy machine could undoubtedly charm the rarefied realm where purchasers of such cars exist. Indeed, the pricey spirit of Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead is handy to those who can afford it.

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