• The next chapter in the story of the ultimate luxury car

  • A new concept for Rolls-Royce: The Architecture of Luxury

  • The quietest Rolls-Royce ever built

  • More bespoke options than ever before, include an artistic commission on the dashboard

It’s finally here. After eight weeks of counting down, revealing seven historically-important Phantoms along the way, Rolls-Royce have finally revealed what we’ve all been waiting for: The Phantom VIII.

It’s hard to overstate just how important this is for Rolls-Royce. Forget the Dawn and put the Wraith to one side, the Phantom is and has always been the marque’s flagship. More than that, it’s been the ultimate luxury car, the one that all others aspire to, since the very first model back in 1925.

Each step in the Phantom’s evolution has pushed what we expect from Rolls-Royce and luxury cars in general to new heights and we’ve never been let down. Still, the Phantom VII was an icon of modern automotive exclusivity and it’ll take a lot to improve on. Don’t worry though; we can all go to sleep at night in the comforting knowledge that Rolls-Royce have done it once again.

The Phantom VIII from the outside takes a more minimal, modern aesthetic approach over its predecessor. There’s even something about the much, much older Phantom V in its clean, crisp, and unspoken agreement between gentlemen that less should always be more.

Not that it’s vintage in any way of course; this is a new generation of Phantom and should look it. The first integrated grill in any Rolls helps, given a more fluid feel to the front end, as does the sweeping back interrupted only by an almost imperceptible bubble for passenger head room. The real future of Rolls-Royce however is in the architecture.

The structure of the Phantom VIII is entirely new, new enough that it’s been given a name: The Architecture of Luxury. Essentially, it’s a hand-made chassis that can be customised to fit any purpose. It’s something that mass-produced cars simply don’t have the capacity for and will shape all future Rolls-Royce cars. What that versatility means in the future only time will tell, but it goes one step further in Rolls-Royce’s bespoke concept – as does the interior.

The overall interior hasn’t changed too much, at least between this and say the Black Badge editions. It’s a little more contemporary but just as comfortable as ever and, with myriad bespoke options available, can be customised to your particulars. The biggest change comes with the dashboard and what is being called ‘The Gallery.’

The Gallery lives up to its name. The concept is a simple one of using the usually ignored space above the console panel. Essentially any Phantom VIII owner can commission an artist to work with Rolls-Royce to transform the usually unadorned veneer into a unique work of art. It doesn’t matter what; current concepts range from oil paintings of the South Downs to a gold-plated 3D print of the owner’s DNA.

Now there’s nothing bar perhaps the bodywork you can’t change about the Phantom. Hell, with the Architecture of Luxury even that’s becoming a possibility for potential owners below the $1 billion mark. Either way there’s one thing you won’t want to change: the engine.

The 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 engine at the heart of the Phantom VIII is a beast of epic proportions, able to propel the monolithic mass of metal to new heights for Rolls-Royce. However, just like a heartbeat it’s also easy to ignore. Wrapped in layer upon layer of insulation, this is by far the quietest V12 ever built.

Because when you’re being driven to your next appointment, relaxing in the embrace of your Phantom VIII, who wants to be bothered by the outside world? Sit back, sip a whisky, admire your bespoke dashboard art and relax. If you can afford the Phantom VIII, you probably deserve it.

Words by: Sam Kessler