A Detailed Look At The 2003 Rolls Royce Phantom

Nothing in the automotive sphere offers the same grandeur, supreme luxury, and authoritative presence as a Rolls-Royce. For decades, it has remained the pinnacle of British engineering and craftsmanship, as well as the forefront of automotive design. In 2003, the motoring world braced itself for the much-anticipated seventh-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom, set to be the new gold standard. Moreover, this represented a significant milestone for the company under its new Bavarian owners.


When BMW acquired full ownership of the Rolls-Royce Motor Company in 1998, it set out to continue the philosophy of the brand, which is to develop the best car in the world. What’s more, the new Phantom was the first model to amalgamate British craftsmanship with BMW’s engineering know-how. Although the production of the aluminum space frame and majestic V12 engine took place in Germany by BMW, the final assembly of the Phantom took place at the new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Goodwood, West Sussex, England.

Indeed, a year before the Phantom’s unveiling, Mercedes-Benz introduced the ultra-luxurious Maybach 57 and 62 models, although criticized for sharing too many similarities with the Mercedes S Class. The Phantom, however, was carefully built from the ground up and shared no platform with BMW.

Furthermore, when the Rolls-Royce Phantom landed in 2003, there was nothing like it on the road. Ostentatious, modern, and utterly beguiling. It was, and still is, an automotive masterpiece. Indeed, the Phantom was for the super-rich only, with prices starting at an eye-watering $350,000! Used examples still fetch well over $110,000.

The seventh generation Phantom, however, proved to be a success for the British marque during its 14-year production run, with other variants added to the line-up including the long wheelbase model, the Phantom Coupe, and the stunning Phantom Drophead Coupe.

Related: Why Rolls-Royce Boat Tail Is The Most Exquisite And Most Expensive Luxury Car Ever


BMW’s Phantom Successfully Carried Forward Rolls-Royce’s Design Principles

Rolls Royce Phantom Front Quarter Image
Via: Mecum Auctions

The Phantom retains the classic silhouette of a Rolls-Royce, although interpreted in a modern way. Such as the sweeping waistline, short front overhang, and deep C pillars. Not forgetting, the distinctive front end, dominated by its prominent grille, proudly carries the spirit of ecstasy figurine. The headlamp design, however, proved controversial. You realize the Phantom is exquisitely put together from the ground up. It’s by no means a dressed-up Beamer.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom is massive in every respect. Measuring 5834mm in length and standing 1632mm tall, the Rolls-Royce Phantom makes it almost the same height as an SUV. Moreover, the heavyweight Roller tips the scales at 2485Kg (5480lb).

The unique coach doors, sometimes referred to as ‘suicide doors’, allow rear occupants to enter and exit the cabin gracefully, not to mention drawing up red carpets in style. What’s more, the rear doors can swing shut from the inside at the touch of a button. In addition to the Teflon-coated umbrellas housed in each of the rear doors, the Phantom comes with other unique features, such as the electrically retractable Spirit of Ecstasy and the RR logos on the wheel hub centers that remain upright while the vehicle is in motion .

Related: The All-New Rolls-Royce Specter Is A Spectacular Piece Of Art

Rolls-Royce Phantom Interior Exudes Elegance And Luxury

Rolls Royce Phantom Interior View
Via: Mecum Auctions

The interior of the Phantom is a fusion of tradition and modernity. As you step into the palatial cabin, the exquisite craftsmanship and superlative elegance of Rolls-Royce immediately become apparent. The exemplary quality is on another level. What’s more, the Phantom has carried nothing over from the Silver Seraph that preceded it.

The interior design is simple and contemporary, with cutting-edge technology, with most controls kept out of sight until required. What’s more, Rolls-Royce utilized the highest grade of materials, including the finest wood veneers, perfectly weighted metal switchgear, ultra-soft wool carpets over an inch thick, and sumptuous hand-stitched piped leather to showcase the cabin.

In typical Rolls-Royce fashion, the gear selector comes mounted on the column behind the thin-rimmed steering wheel, and a power reserve gauge replaces the tachometer. At the rear, passengers can enjoy the curved lounge seats, picnic tables, 12-inch monitors, and a high-end, Lexicon audio system.

The long list of standard equipment in the Phantom includes state-of-the-art safety technology. Perhaps the only anomaly is the adoption of BMW’s IDrive multimedia system, which is cleverly concealed behind the revolving dashboard panel when not in use, replaced with an analog clock. Furthermore, the Phantom also boasts a 460-liter trunk for keeping your Rolls-Royce picnic hamper.

Related: The Bespoke Rolls-Royce Phantom Interior Features An Astonishing Million Stitches

The Phantom Was Given A Naturally Aspirated V12 Powerplant

Rolls Royce Phantom Engine View
Via: Mecum Auctions

Under the long sweeping hood of the Phantom, you have a 6.75 liter, naturally aspirated V12 power plant that delivers 453 horses, equating to an impressive 531lb-ft of torque. Moreover, the Phantom shares the same ZF six-speed automatic transmission with the BMW 760I and changes effortlessly, feeding massive power to the rear wheels.

Related: Here’s Why The Rolls-Royce 6.75-Liter V12 Engine Is A Work Of Art

The Phantom Remains The Benchmark For Ride Quality

Rolls-Royce Phantom Front Quarter Image
Via: Rolls-Royce

Unequivocally, the Rolls-Royce Phantom is an imposing vehicle on the road, with the driving position perched as high as an SUV. With enormous reserves of power on tap, the effortless urge of the Phantom is unique, wafting along on a wave of torque in near silence.

The Phantom, however, is no slouch when it comes to performance. BMW has injected its expertise into the handling department. 60 mph arrives in a mere 5.7 seconds from a standing start and will top 150 mph. It also boasts impressive body control, thanks to the advanced air-sprung suspension that allows precise cornering. The gas mileage of the heavyweight Rolls is around 14.8 MPG combined, although a heavy right foot will return a mediocre 7.6 MPG.

The Phantom is not perfect, however, hardly any other vehicle can offer more prestige and comfort than the world’s ultimate automotive status symbol.

Sources: BMW, Rolls-Royce, Mecum Auctions

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