Rolls-Royce unveils its new, super-luxury Phantom version VIII. Ciara Lee reports one of the longest-standing models in automotive history, and the model's global appeal.
Its founder once said "take the best that exists - and make it better." That's what Rolls-Royce motors says it's done with the eighth version of the Phantom. The luxury brand says the reinvention is its quietest yet - and will be one of the most sought after luxury items in the world. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TORSTEN MÜLLER-ÖTVÖS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ROLLS-ROYCE MOTOR CARS, SAYING: "The whole sound insulation of the Phantom is up on completely new levels. We have brought rear-wheel steering into the car, not only to increase maneuverability of Phantoms, but also to make it even more comfortable when you depart or when you change lanes." From rock stars to royalty - this is the car that keeps on giving. This exhibition to celebrate the new launch, reveals some of the Phantom's most famous customers, including John Lennon, Fred Astaire and the Queen. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TORSTEN MÜLLER-ÖTVÖS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ROLLS-ROYCE MOTOR CARS, SAYING: "Phantom is the symbol and pinnacle of luxury and for the brand Rolls-Royce, it's quite a fundamental icon in itself. It is the longest model line in the automotive history anyhow, over 90 years." The price tag for the new Phantom could reach up to half a million dollars. And even a pull-back in luxury demand from China hasn't hampered Roll-Royce's outlook. Sales at the BMW subsidiary grew 6 percent last year, delivering over 4,000 vehicles around the world. But as the UK, among others, announces plans for a ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2040, a change of direction will be on the cards. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TORSTEN MÜLLER-ÖTVÖS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ROLLS-ROYCE MOTOR CARS, SAYING: "We think, I think, that electric propulsion is the route forward also for Rolls-Royce. So we also say already that within the next decade Rolls-Royce will start to get electrified." For now though it's focussing on this 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 engine. Which it calls the "silently beating heart of the New Phantom".