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Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe engines, drive and performance

2007 - 2012 (change model)
Performance rating: 5 out of 55.0

Written by David Ross Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

Rolls Royce used to describe the output of its V8 engines as ‘adequate’, but the Phantom’s 6.75-litre V12 is far better than that. The 453bhp it cranks out is impressive enough for a naturally aspirated engine, but it’s the 720Nm of torque produced at 3500rpm that really defines how this car drives. There’s no sport mode for the six-speed automatic gearbox so you just drop the column change lever into Drive and waft away.

The incredibly refined engine is near silent even when pushed and you barely have to tickle the throttle to complete most manoeuvres. Should you wish, you can hustle this 2.6-tonne convertible to 60mph in just 5.6 seconds and only the intervention of an electronic limiter prevents it passing 149mph, but that’s not the best way to enjoy it. A sluggish kickdown can leave you exposed when you move to overtake and the incredible refinement dulls the sense of speed anyway.

So sit back and relax.

It’s difficult to think of many convertible cars being offered today without sporting pretensions, but mercifully the Phantom counts itself among them. You won’t find two-stage dampers here or multi-setting traction control systems. This is a car that knows its audience and concentrates on the things that matter in a luxury soft top. In other words excellent ride comfort, effortless steering and the confidence to tackle a variety of surfaces without causing the driver to break into a sweat.

Yet the Phantom can also provide B road fun at modest speeds. The surprisingly alert steering points the nose into corners with far more vigour than seems likely and the suspension prevents roll and dive from attaining epic proportions. Get too carried away though and the heft overcomes the available body control, wallow sets in and the brakes start to seem slightly inadequate.

But to drive the Phantom in such away would be to miss the point entirely.