2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Review

Phantom Drophead Coupe

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2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Overview

When it comes to top-of-the-line luxury-oriented convertibles, the 2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe has few competitors. With an overall length of 220.9 inches, or more than 18 feet, and a curb weight of nearly 6,000 pounds, few convertibles can match the Drophead Coupe's sheer size and weight. Equipped with a big V12 engine delivering a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds, the Drophead Coupe remains quick-of-the-mark, though it won't break any speed records. However, its level of interior luxury and endless customization options are nearly unmatched in the automotive world. But the real prestige comes from the R-R badging both inside and out, and the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, which occupies a prominent spot at the top of the Drophead Coupe's distinctive Pantheon grille.

Now in its eighth year of production, the 2-door Drophead Coupe receives no updates for 2014, but continues to deliver high levels of style and luxury. Although it's based on the 4-door Phantom sedan, the Drophead Coupe displays a number of unique styling cues, many borrowed from the nautical world, according to Rolls Royce. The goal was to make the Drophead Coupe a land yacht on wheels, and considering its size and high-end features, it's an apt description. A lower swooping line along the sides, which mimics the curve of the front edge of the doors, resembles the prow of a yacht, and the automaker offers a teak wood decking option for the convertible top's storage compartment behind the rear seats, as well as teak wood trim for the trunk. The nautical theme continues in the design of some of the gauges and controls.

The Drophead Coupe measures 9 inches shorter than the Phantom sedan, but retains the sedan's general rectangular shape, crisp lines and well-balanced proportions, as well as many of its standard features. The single-piece Pantheon grille, rear-angled and top-rounded, provides a sportier look than the sedan’s straight-up grille. The front end also features rectangular adaptive LED headlights bisected horizontally by glowing light bars, which serve as daytime running lights. A heated windshield, rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED parking, indicator and rear brake lights are among the other exterior features. In its standard configuration, the exhaust pipes are hidden from view on either side of the rear bumper to ensure a clean appearance, although owners can opt for visible chrome-plated pipes. Rolls-Royce also offers an optional brushed stainless steel hood and brushed steel windshield frame for a distinctive appearance. Owners can choose from 16 standard exterior colors, as well as 44,000 exterior hues available through the automaker's Bespoke customization program.

Adding to the Drophead Coupe's unique design, the 2 doors, called suicide doors by some but coach doors by Rolls-Royce, are hinged at the rear and open from the front. The Drophead Coupe's convertible top consists of 5 layers of material, including cashmere, designed to both reduce noise in the cabin and ensure a luxury feel inside with the top raised.

A hand-built naturally aspirated 6.7-liter V12 engine with direct injection and variable valve timing drives the Drophead Coupe through the rear wheels. While not as powerful as the engines in the Rolls-Royce Wraith and Ghost, it still generates a respectable 453 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm, with 75 percent of torque available at just 1,000 rpm. Working with a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, the V12 posts fuel economy numbers of 11 mpg city/19 highway and pushes the big convertible to a top speed of 150 mph.

Inside, the Drophead Coupe seats 4 passengers comfortably in a 2+2 arrangement. Hand-stitched leather upholstery, available in a variety of colors, comes standard in either monotone or two-tone contrasting colors. The wood veneers, made from walnut, elm, oak or exotic woods like Paldao and Zebrano, come from a single tree, ensuring a consistent color, grain and look. The power-adjustable heated front seats include lumbar support and memory settings, with the RR logo embossed in all headrests. Owner can add heated rear seats as an option, as well as upgrades like lamb’s-wool floor mats.

In place of a traditional tachometer on the instrument cluster, Rolls-Royce opts for a Power Reserve dial, which lets drivers know how much spare power remains from the engine, while an analog clock in the center dash serves as a reminder of the car's long history. At the touch of a button, the clock panel flips to reveal the 8.8-inch touchscreen, which provides access to the car's navigation and infotainment systems. The leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel features a tilt-away feature for easy driver entry and exit. Other standard features include automatic climate control and a parking distance control system with front, top, side and rear cameras, as well as a 15-speaker 600-watt Lexicon audio system with satellite radio, Bluetooth, a weatherband, a 6-DVD changer and a USB port. Other nice touches include a standard umbrella, which has its own special holder in the trunk. Cargo space in the trunk measures 11.1 cubic feet, which is fairly respectable for a convertible. The long list of interior options includes various veneer patterns, a variety of seat details, a full-metal dashboard, a cigar humidor or a pen set in the glovebox and various types of drink coolers and drink holders throughout the cabin.

As expected for a car in this price range, the Drophead Coupe delivers a smooth, capable ride, thanks to its self-leveling air suspension with continuous electronic damping. The double wishbone front suspension and multilink rear suspension also help provide good handling and maneuverability. Owners who prefer a sportier ride can add the available Dynamic Package, which includes a stiffer suspension, as well as a thicker sport steering wheel and tweaked transmission shift points. Speed-sensitive power-assisted, rack-and-pinion steering comes standard, along with power-assisted ventilated 4-wheel disc brakes. Owners can opt for a performance braking system, as well as 12 different wheel options, including a variety of 21-inch alloy wheels with various spoke designs and finishes. All designs include run-flat Goodyear EMT performance tires.

Such safety features as Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control, Dynamic Brake Control and Cornering Brake Control come standard on the Drophead Coupe, along with a full range of airbags. In addition, Rolls-Royce includes a state-of-the-art ISIS (Intelligent Safety and Information System), which uses measured braking, stability control and traction control to keep the Phantom upright and its passengers unharmed in the event of an accident.

For owners who would like to make the Drophead Coupe their own, Rolls-Royce offers a Bespoke program capable of creating just about anything an owner can imagine. Personalized logos? Special engravings or artwork? Unique color schemes? No problem. Rolls-Royce excels in making the Drophead Coupe a one-of-a-kind car. We'd expect no less.


Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in California.

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