The all-new 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom has been revealed this week in the UK, pitched by the company as the "most technologically-advanced Rolls-Royce ever".
Although an all-new car, you could be forgiven for wondering if the company had mistakenly issued photos of the outgoing Phantom.
On closer inspection, however, the differences become clear. The new limousine gets a higher-set grille integrated into the surrounding bodywork, new laser headlights - which can cast light 600 metres down the road - and the two-tier light design of the previous generation has been dropped.
The body is curvier, now more of an enlarged version of the Ghost - a more contemporary and athletic offering than the old Phantom - while maintaining the company's 2:1 proportions that apply to all of its vehicles.
High-polished stainless steel adorns the front grille and window frames, while larger 22-inch alloy wheels fill the arches.
Inside, the evolutionary theme continues. The new Phantom's overall interior design doesn't look overly different, but the company has added numerous new features and trims to make the Phantom even more opulent.
Headlining the changes at the front is what the company calls 'The Gallery', consisting of a 12.3-inch TFT driver display with LED backlighting, with three instrument dials framed with a physical chrome outline - similar to parent company BMW's implementation of the virtual dash.
Drivers have access to information such as speed, power reserve, fuel and temperature levels, while the display can also show cruise control, navigation and driver assistance prompts.
Measuring 5762mm long, 2019mm wide and 1646mm tall in standard 3552mm wheelbase form, the new Phantom is 80mm shorter, 29mm wider and 8mm taller, while there's 18mm less space between the front and rear wheels. The extended-wheelbase version is 5982mm long, 2018mm wide and 1656mm high with a 3772mm wheelbase.
Underneath the skin is where another major change has been made, in the form of an all-new scalable aluminium spaceframe architecture designed in-house by Rolls-Royce's engineers, which will soon underpin every model in the company's range.
The 'Architecture of Luxury' is around 30 per cent more rigid than the spaceframe platform employed by the previous Phantom, while also being lighter and more production efficient.
It's also quieter than before, with Rolls-Royce making improvements to the sound insulation to help the Phantom become the "most silent motor car in the world". The company claims its new flagship is approximately 10 per cent quieter at 100km/h - thanks to 130 kilograms of sound deadening materials, larger cast aluminium joints, and double-skin alloy on areas within the floor and bulkhead of the spaceframe.
Continuing the theme of quietness is what lies under the bonnet.
Like the rest of Rolls-Royce's range, the Phantom is powered by a V12 petrol engine, but compared to its predecessor, it's now twin-turbocharged rather than naturally-aspirated.
The new 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12 develops 420kW of power and 900Nm of torque - the latter at just 1700rpm - which is well up on the old car's 338kW and 720Nm outputs respectively.
With the extra grunt, the Phantom can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds (5.4 seconds in long-wheelbase form), on its way to an electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h (155mph).
As with all Rolls-Royce models, customers will be able to commission their own bespoke Phantom. With this latest model, buyers will be able to choose from a favoured artist or designer to create an individual 'work of art' that spans the width of The Gallery.
Rolls-Royce craftspeople and engineers have also created a collection of silk, wood, metal and leather treatments that can be specified for The Gallery, which will take far less time in the ordering process than commissioning a bespoke project.
On the road, the Phantom keeps occupants in optimal comfort thanks to its self-levelling air suspension, new double wishbone front and five-link rear axles which contribute to the "Magic Carpet Ride".
The suspension system makes millions of calculations every second using information from steering inputs, body and wheel acceleration, along with stereo cameras mounted on the windscreen - which make calculations based on the road ahead.
Helping to make the Phantom more stable and also more manoeuvrable is the addition of four-wheel steering.
In terms of driver assistance, the Phantom now comes equipped with an array of technologies including alertness assistant, a surround camera system with panoramic and helicopter views, night vision, active cruise control, pedestrian warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure and lane change warning, along with a 7x3 high-resolution head-up display (HUD). There's no mention of autonomous emergency braking, though.
A representative from Rolls-Royce's local arm has confirmed we should see the first Phantoms on Australian roads in the fourth quarter of this year.
Pricing will start at $950,000 plus options and on-road costs for the Phantom Standard Wheelbase version. Opting for the larger Phantom Extended Wheelbase will set you back at least $1,100,000 before on-roads and options.
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