Motivation for the 5,577-lb. 2006 Rolls-Royce Phantom comes from an aluminum 6.75-liter, 48-valve, 60-degree V12 with direct fuel injection and variable valve timing. Engine output is rated at 453 horsepower at 5,350 rpm and 531 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,500 rpm, all directed to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Michelin Pax run-flat tires are standard, with Goodyear Eagle tires measuring 255/50R21 front and 285/45R21 rear optional. Behind either set of rubber is a suspension system comprised of front double wishbones and a multi-link, self-leveling setup bolted to the rear; anti-sway bars are standard. With a top speed electronically limited to 130 mph and sprints to 60 mph requiring only 5.7 seconds, the Phantom takes full advantage of its four-wheel-disc antilock brake system, using large vented discs and benefiting from dynamic brake control as well as traction and stability control systems. The whole luxurious package – consisting of aluminum, composite, and steel body panels – is situated on an aluminum space frame and is directed by a variably-assisted, speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering assembly with a barge-like 45.3-foot turning radius. Mileage is EPA rated at 12 mpg city, 19 mpg highway; we recorded 9.4 mpg during a couple hundred miles of mixed driving around our offices in southern California.
Dismal fuel economy probably isn't much of a concern for buyers considering a vehicle that starts at $332,750, including a $3,000 gas guzzler tax and $1,000 for destination charges. In exchange for that enormous amount of loot the 2006 Rolls-Royce Phantom delivers coach-style power-closing rear doors, leather and genuine wood on nearly all interior surfaces, front and rear parking sensors, front heated bucket seats with memory and fold-out trays on the seatbacks, heated rear seats, Bluetooth connectivity, BMW's central iDrive controller, a GPS navigation system that also picks up local television programming, a multi-zone climate control system, and front side airbags. A power sunroof, power trunk lid, and illuminated mirrors, all optional features when the Phantom made its debut in 2004, were moved to the standard features list for the 2005 model year. Also included free of charge, so to speak, is a 420-watt sound system with dual subwoofers, a six-disc CD changer, and satellite radio; Rolls-Royce umbrellas integrated into each of the rear doors; and a hood ornament that can be set to retract whenever the vehicle is turned off (sorry, thieves).
That's the basic Phantom, which was not to be confused with the car Rolls-Royce loaned to us for testing. Our Silver Sand 2006 Phantom, with its Mocassin interior, carried with it a suggested retail price of $346,650. Here's a breakdown of what that extra $13,900 bought: a veneered instrument panel ($1,100); veneered steering wheel spokes ($600); veneered backs on the rear fold-out trays ($1,800); the Rolls-Royce logo stitched into all headrests ($600); front and rear cameras for the parking systems ($3,300); 21-inch alloy wheels with Goodyear Eagle tires ($3,000); a crossbanded elm cluster veneer ($2,200); and something labeled a “bespoke option" ($1,300). Not tacked onto our car was an optional rear bucket seat option with a DVD player, screens located in the back of the front headrests, a lower center console, power rear and side sunshades, and power rear seats. And not available at all on the 2006 Rolls-Royce Phantom are seemingly common features like cooled rear seats, rear footrests, or a host of outlets and accommodations for the laptop-carrying, business-conducting, chauffeured executive.