Day 1 – First Impressions
Waiting for the Phantom Drophead Coupe (DHC) to arrive gave me plenty of time to ponder exactly where the DHC fits into society. Before experiencing it, to me, it seems it is really the ultimate expression of wealth and luxury.
Once the Phantom arrived and it was backed off the car transporter my initial reaction was based on getting my head around the size and mass of the car, it is a whopping 5.6m long and weighs 2,630kg. The car is huge which contributes to its huge road presence.
Getting inside, and taking the top down straight away to get that proper DHC experience, was incredible. Having unlimited head room, plenty of sun pouring in and being surrounded in expensive and luxurious materials gives you an experience that is only possible in a Rolls-Royce. My mind was blown and I hadn’t even moved an inch in the car yet.
Day 2 Fine Driving Experience
After 24 hours of getting used to the finer workings of the car, I took the car out for a good drive to figure out exactly how good it is behind the wheel. The RR uses a 6.75 litre V12 engine that creates 453bhp and 720Nm of torque. This means that the car will get from 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds and will do a top speed of 149mph.
This is a huge amount of power, but the really insane bit is that behind the wheel the experience is a controlled, calming and surreal cruise. The DHC is beautifully poised, with many elements contributing to this refined driving experience. From my testing there are a couple of key pieces of design and innovation that really enable this to happen, obviously the first thing is the air suspension system that seems to defy the laws of physics by carefully suspending the car in the air and ensuring that even the biggest bumps in the road don’t cause any discomfort to the passengers of the car. The sensation is more similar to sailing than it is to driving, incredible.
Secondly the throttle mapping on the car appears to be very intelligently mapped to provide the most relaxed, gentle and refined ride ever, but still allowing you to use all of the V12 power. I still can’t figure out how this is possible, but I can tell you that it just works.
Lastly the 8-speed GPS guided automatic gearbox plays a large part in the driving experience. From a driver perspective you need to pay very close attention to identify a gear change. The reality of this is that you no longer feel any relation between the speed that you are traveling and the gear you are in. You simply just have the full V12 performance at hand, without any complications.
Day 3 – Head Turner – Shuts Down the City
Still looking to understand the full Rolls-Royce experience, on a sunny day I took a leisurely drive cruising around the city running a few errands. I was shocked by just how much attention the car attracted. Everywhere I went it would stop people in their tracks, they would stare desperate to see who was in the £350,000 iconic car. People went to extreme measures to take a peek inside the car, cruising next to the car starring inside trying to figure out which celebrity was behind the wheel. The secret they were missing out on was that it was just a pesky journalist who would struggle to make the deposit payment, let alone pay for the entire car.
Either way my day was filled with jaw dropping spectators, inquiring comments and people going to special efforts to make room for this luxurious car with a hope getting a closer look.
Day 4 – Private Runway
Being a huge car that is worth more than the majority of people’s homes, we were keen, as always, to try and create the best possible photography with the car. We booked the car in at a private airfield which gave us lots of space to play with and a bit of a unique backdrop. Even in front of some of the biggest doors you have ever seen the car still looks pretty big.
With 2 miles of runway it is safe to say that we had plenty of room to spread out around the car and look for its most flattering angles. Here is one of my favourite pictures from the runway.
Following that we took our time testing a few different shots around some of the planes that were stored at the airfield that we normally just wouldn’t be able to get access to. We did come across some Rolls-Royce powered planes, and although the companies are separate entities it only seemed right to capture a quick shot of the meeting of some brilliant engineering.
Day 5 – Rolls-Royce From Every Angle
Motor Verso is passionate about photography and we are keen to show the test car directly through our eyes, but we also wanted to share our passion with other enthusiastic photographers. We invited a selection of photographers down to a private and secure location where they each had an opportunity to take pictures of the impressive Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe. It was amazing to watch a group of skilled photographers all taking their own perspective, interests and angles on the car. Take a look at the video below to get an idea of this rare yet inspiring experience and also see the pictures from some of the different photographers in Ross, our resident photographer’s article.
Day 6 – Drophead Coupe When the Weather Gets Tough
So we got to the point where we only had one last day with the car and it is fair to say that I had enjoyed every last experience I had with it. We had had some great weather which allowed us to really take advantage of the Drophead, but sooner or later the weather had to take a turn for the worst. The Drophead Coupe is surprisingly less fun in the rain. The car is still comfortable, quiet, well insulated and refined, but in the rain you feel that nature is limiting the use of that unbeatable Drophead Coupe experience, and no-one likes being told what to do!
Dealing with the Rolls-Royce in the rain does make you conscious of how precious and expensive the interior of the car is. A prime example of this is the lambs wool carpet which is probably some of the best carpet you will ever feel, and I don’t just mean in a car. Knowing that you are putting wet and dirty shoes on these soft carpets doesn’t feel like a pleasurable thing to do at all. When opening the doors you expose the soft leather to the rain, not to mention that you are putting that unique teak wood work directly into the falling rain, this can’t be good for the finish. All of this makes you very conscious of damaging the car in some way. Although I was worried about it the rain didn’t seem to mark or damage any of these components at all so I assume Rolls-Royce have us covered here. But the Drophead is obviously designed for the sunshine not our unpredictable English summers.
Taking my last drive with the car through a busy City Centre, I took the time to take in everything the car had to offer, I really focused in on every element of the experience to commit to memory before saying goodbye to the car. What a machine this thing is.
From spending a week with the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe I learned that the Rolls-Royce, no matter how technologically brilliant, impressive to drive, and beautiful to look at, the real takeaway point from the journey was just how much of a status symbol it is. The Rolls-Royce Phantom top-trumps the tens of thousands of cars I passed in my week and it literally stopped people in their tracks. It was certainly one of my best weeks motoring.