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The New Rolls-Royce Phantom Series II Has Great Wheels

Not much is different about the Phantom, but it's also got some stellar seats.

Rolls-Royce just gave its flagship model—the eighth-generation Phantom—a nip and tuck to keep it looking fresh while newcomers from Bentley and Mercedes-Maybach arrive. The updates to the Phantom are minimal, but there are enough changes to make millionaire owners of the pre-facelift car jealous of their billionaire friends with this newly facelifted one.

So what sort of changes can you expect from a nearly half-million-dollar luxury sedan? For starters, it gets an aluminum bar that runs horizontally across the top of Rolls-Royce’s famous Pantheon grille. Riveting stuff, I know. The grille is now illuminated, though, which is borrowed from the Phantom’s smaller sibling, the Ghost.

The biggest change for this newly updated Phantom is the choice of wheels. One new option is a 3D-milled, stainless steel wheel with an almost sawblade-like pattern, which looks sportier than pretty much any other Rolls design. The other is a classic disc wheel, pictured up top, which is probably the best-looking one offered on any Rolls-Royce product. What’s more, they’re available in either a polished metal finish or black lacquer.

Some say that wheels maketh the car, and in this case, I think they’re right. That usually applies to cheap-ish enthusiast whips, which this obviously isn’t, but nevertheless. The rest of the Phantom is pretty cool, too, even if not much is different.

Rolls-Royce intentionally changed very little about the already opulent interior. There are some new options for the Art Gallery dashboard trim, which provides a display case for commisioned art behind a glass panel. Interestingly, Rolls also thickened the steering wheel by just a bit. Apparently, more and more Rolls-Royce customers buy their Phantoms with the intent to actually drive themselves, rather than being driven around by a chauffeur. For customers that do want a chauffeur, there’s also the Phantom Extended, which stretches the wheelbase out to provide even more rear legroom.

The newly updated Phantom gets Rolls-Royce Connected, which links the car to the Whispers app. For those unaware, Whispers is a Rolls-owners-only app that serves as “the place to gain access to the inaccessible, to discover rare finds, to connect with like-minds, to be the first to receive news and offers, as well as accessing and managing your Rolls-Royce garage.” Mkay.

Inside the headlights, the bezels are laser-etched with a starlight pattern to match the starlight headliner inside the car. This is the neat type of detail that owners will either never notice or never be quiet about—either way, it’s there.

Alongside the updated Rolls-Royce Phantom, the craftsmen in Goodwood created a new bespoke model, the Phantom Platino, named after the silvery-white color of platinum. The Platino uses an interesting blend of different materials and fabrics in the cabin, rather than using mostly leather, to spice things up a bit. Two different white fabrics—one made in an Italian mill and one made from bamboo fibers—are used to create an interesting contrast. Even the dashboard clock gets a 3D-printed ceramic surround, set into an iced-finish wood trim, just to mix things up.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom was already such an incredibly indulgent vehicle, it didn’t need much updating, which is why these tweaks are subtle. However, they do make the most luxurious car in the world even more luxurious. Finally, billionaires are getting some special treatment.

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