2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Review

Phantom Drophead Coupe

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2015 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Overview

Long considered the epitome of automotive distinction, the Rolls-Royce Phantom lineup represents the flagship of this BMW Group member’s luxury offerings. For 2015, the Phantom Drophead Coupe (2-door) convertible returns in what many consider a logical extension of both the Phantom sedan and the Phantom Coupe, each of which are covered in separate reviews. From the distinctive Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament to the handcrafted interior, from RR’s Bespoke personalization division to the available teak rear decking, this drop-top land yacht is far from your average full-size 4-passenger convertible.

Available in a single, ahem, "base" trim, the 2015 Phantom Drophead Coupe offers a number of optional sub-trims, with perhaps the most notable being the Phantom Drophead Coupe Nighthawk. Changes are again minimal for this model year. Indeed, changes over the Phantom lineup’s 12-year history have been so minimal that one would be hard-pressed to distinguish the 2003’s debut trim from today’s offerings. For 2015, a subtle reshaping of the LED headlights is the only upgrade of note.

Both the Phantom Coupe and the Drophead Coupe differ from their sedan sibling in the fact that a stiffer suspension, sportier transmission calibration, and more athletic brakes all likely contribute to a proud owner's actually wanting to drive this icon of wealth and respectability him- or herself, rather than letting the chauffeur have all the fun.

Again delivered with only the traditional rear-wheel drivetrain (RWD), the 2015 Phantom Drophead Coupe still packs the ubiquitous 6.7-liter V12 engine that mates with the equally ubiquitous 8-speed automatic transmission to put out 453 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque. Look for a 0-60 time of about 5.5 seconds (according the folks at Rolls), while mileage remains pegged (again by the people at RR) at 11 mpg city/19 highway/14 combined while burning premium gasoline.

Standard exterior adornments complementing the uniquely ostentatious profile once again include 21-inch aluminum wheels, power rear-hinged and soft-close doors, and a 2-piece “picnic” trunk lid, with said trunk (or “boot” in Rolls-speak) capable of accommodating up to 11.1 cubic feet of designer luggage. Curiously, this is more toting capacity than either the hard-top Phantom sedan or Coupe offers.

Inside, look for heated, power-adjustable front seats to bolster the hand-stitched premium leather upholstery, as well as full power accessories and memory for driver's settings. Cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering also remain standard equipment, as does dual-zone automatic climate control. Furthermore, front and rear parking sensors also return, as do Bluetooth-enhanced Rolls-Royce Assist telematics (with a pop-up controller) that includes GPS navigation via an 8.8-inch touchscreen display.

As for entertainment, the Phantom Drophead Coupe is delivered with a Harman Kardon Lexicon 7 Logic premium audio system boasting a glovebox-mounted 6-CD changer, a video display, 15 Surround Sound speakers, satellite radio (with a lifetime subscription), and an auxiliary audio input.

Of course, the above cornucopia of features represents only the basic components of the Phantom Drophead Coupe’s myriad personalization possibilities. Contacting your local Rolls-Royce Bespoke representative allows you to customize your Drophead Coupe to indulge your tastes in exterior color and design, interior fabrics and materials, even to the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, which you might want in solid silver, gold, or even illuminated form.

Further options can include, but are certainly not limited to, things like rear-seat DVD and video entertainment, front- and rear-view camera systems, myriad wheel designs, lambswool carpeting, a champagne chiller, a cigar humidor, even a trunk-mounted leather-encased picnic basket with stainless-steel utensils. Should the available Drophead Coupe Nighthawk edition be selected, look for such added details as unique wood veneers and seat piping, black matte coatings on selected exterior trim pieces, added premium leather interior accents, and heated rear seats.

Oh, and lest you get the impression this drop-top might allow more than the customary level of road and wind noise, rest assured that the convertible top consists of no less than 5 layers of heavy-duty fabric and is considered by most reviewers to be just as acoustically sound as the roofs of its hard-top brethren. Alas, powering said top up and down takes a bit longer than owners of lesser rag-tops might expect.

Considering occupant safety, bear in mind that the 2015 Phantom Drophead Coupe is a massive automobile, heavier than Chevy’s jumbo Suburban sport ute, and thus sheer heft remains its most viable safety system. Nevertheless, this plush convertible again boasts standard 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, daytime running lights, and front fog/driving lights. Additionally, Rolls-Royce Assist emergency alerts and communications also come standard, as does a post-collision safety system, as well as those marginally re-styled adaptable self-leveling LED headlights and a remote antitheft alarm.

As is usual, no safety testing data is available for the Phantom lineup, and you may want to note that Rolls-Royce does not offer such now-common safety technologies as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warnings, or lane-keeping assistance in any of its motorcars.

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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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