Saturday, 2 February 2008

Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe

Though it has an absolutely terrible name that conjures violent Genghis Khan-type imagery, the newest of the new Rolls Royces is being touted as an auto that is both a bit brash but tasteful just the same. It's a two-door convertible, which most likely counts as the brash part. It's very Bond. And if it isn't, it should be. This car looks like it should be able to do all sorts of interesting spy-toy type things.

The car is still a bit of a snob, though. Looking at its photograph, you get the feeling that it actually knows it is a Rolls-Royce, because it requires you – or someone – to massage it regularly. In other words, it has a teakwood tonneau cover that requires an oil bath (linseed or Tung oil) to preserve its look at ever service stop.

The Phantom Drophead Coupe is a few inches – 10, to be precise – shorter than earlier Rolls-Royces, but it is still a big car - bigger than a Mercedes, sources say. Those same sources at Edmunds also say that the car handles well on the curvaceous roads of Italy, and that it handles speed really well.

Its 453-horsepower, V12 engine apparently shifts between gears so smoothly that it will be difficult to realize how fast you're traveling. The car really likes to shift up. Apparently, this car loves going fast. In fact, the only criticism the test driver at Edmunds had was that the car is absolutely reluctant to downshift at all whatsoever.

The Phantom Drophead Coupe costs $410,000. It's fairly pretty - or at least the designers and people who like Rolls-Royces think it's pretty. The Coupe actually looks a bit chubby, with a large, snub nose and a humongous grille right between its little eyes, making it resembled a flat-faced Persian kitten.

The inside is full of soft leather, wood and chrome, most of the parts that increase the car's worth to half a million dollars. The test drivers gave mega props to the stereo, which almost has the power to put the vocalist right into the car beside you. The stereo has an outrageous number of speakers.

The driving experience probably resembles the experience that you get when you're in one of those adventure rides where it is actually the scenery around your car that's moving around – not you. This car can create a special environment and insulate you from the world.

If you are a fan of the Rolls-Royce and you can afford the hefty price tag, then this may be a highly enjoyable car for you. There is definitely a sense of a completely new vehicle. And it is, after all, a convertible.

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