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Rolls to drop atmo V12 for Phantom VIII

Phantom menace: The Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII will be revealed later this year, while Australians can expect to see them on-road in mid-2018.

New turbocharged V12, four-wheel steering for next-gen Rolls-Royce Phantom

25 May 2017

ROLLS-ROYCE will replace the naturally aspirated V12 engine with an all-new turbocharged V12 in its Phantom super-luxury sedan when the new-generation Rolls flagship arrives next year.

Set to arrive in Australia in mid-2018 after a global reveal later this year, the Phantom VIII will join other Rolls models in gaining a blown V12, but it will be a different unit.

Speaking with GoAuto at the official opening of the luxury car manufacturer’s new Melbourne showroom, Rolls-Royce Asia Pacific regional sales manager Ian Grant said a V12 was a part of Rolls-Royce’s ethos, but the new Phantom would cease to be naturally aspirated.

“(The V12) is part of the Rolls-Royce DNA and that will stay,” he said.

“It is 100 per cent new car. Under the skin, it’s a really technologically futuristic vehicle, and on the surface, the surface-level beauty of the car is incredible.

“I can’t say too much about it, but it’s a new unit going into the vehicle. It won’t be naturally aspirated.”

The Phantom’s current BMW-sourced 6.7-litre V12 pumps out 338kW/720Nm and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The most powerful output in the range comes from the Wraith Black Badge’s 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 that puts out 465kW/870Nm.

The Phantom’s primary competitor, the Bentley Mulsanne, has a 6.8-litre twin-turbo V8 generating 377kW of power and an earth-moving 1020Nm of torque, cranked up to 395kW/1100Nm in the Speed variant.

Mr Grant said Rolls-Royce had no plans to discontinue its reliance on V12 engines, but to counter ever-tightening emissions regulations, hybrid and electric technology could also possibly be employed in future.

“I don’t think there’s actually a government, or indeed a manufacturer currently, that has an absolute view on how emissions are going to change,” he said.

“In my 15-16 years in the car industry, we’ve seen everything from hydrogen fuel cells come and go, to electrification, I even saw one article about a car that ran on air before.

“I think until there is a clear global government strategy, it is too difficult to answer on the lifespan of the combustion engine, let alone a V12 combustion engine.”

On the possibility of Rolls-Royce introducing a hybrid or EV model: “All those options are being reviewed.

“We have the technology. We have the ideas. The delivery is something we need to look at.

“And we need to explore the correct way forward, because things change, governments change, and we must make the right decision on that.”

Mr Grant also revealed that the next Phantom would feature four-wheel steering, which would help the enormous saloon better navigate tight corners.

He claimed that the extended wheelbase version of the new Phantom would have a tighter turning circle than the regular current-gen equivalent.

Based on a new all-aluminium architecture, the Phantom VIII will be revealed in full later this year, with the first private viewings with dedicated and VIP customers expected to commence in Australia in the fourth quarter.

Mr Grant said he expected the limited initial production run for the new Phantom to be snapped up at private viewing events around the world, and that the first Phantoms would be seen on Australian roads around mid-2018, or even earlier if customers chose to have their new Phantom flown over.

So far Rolls-Royce has only released camouflaged images of the Phantom, showing a typically-Rolls front fascia with boxy front headlights and hulking signature Pantheon grille.

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