That success, it should be noted, is recorded in spite of a couple of objective reservations about ride isolation. There’s just a hint of excitability from the Phantom’s suspension over ruts of a certain lowish profile and highish frequency; the odd thud over the sharpest edges, too. Both traits are common to many air-sprung cars, but in the Phantom, where especially soft ride rates have been chosen, sharper edges can intrude on the car’s pervading aura of calm as they clunk through into the rear cabin. Given the car’s so quiet the vast majority of the time, when this happens you can’t fail to notice.
However, the gentleness of the car’s ride lope feels every bit as opulent in the Phantom’s back seats as it does when you’re sat equidistant between its axles in the front – and it’s no doubt in part because of the distance between those axles that no single bump seems to be able to affect the front and rear wheels simultaneously.
From the driver’s seat, meanwhile, the Phantom is so much more engaging and enjoyable to drive than any car with this brief has any right to be. While it communicates loud and clear, between one road surface and the next, how quickly you should drive it in order to deliver the utmost tranquillity for your passengers, it’s also well capable of keeping its body under a semblance of control at brisk road speeds. This isn’t a ‘one-speed car’.
Best of all, it lets you know in several ways – steering effort, body control, handling response and more – the instant your prevailing speed is taking you beyond that initial zone of effortless and level body control and ride composure, and seldom really begins to wallow or heave to extremes either.
Considering this is the most luxurious car in the world, it tolerates being driven to the limit of grip with good grace. Although most owners won’t care about track handling, they’ll have more than a passing interest in how controllable their car might be when avoiding an accident, or how much reserve is engineered into its cooling or braking capacity. There’s no cause for concern on any of those fronts.
Our scales revealed a nearly perfect weight distribution, which contributes to limit handling that remains adequately controlled (although there’s plenty of body movement) and controllable for as long and as far as its always-on stability control is prepared to be pushed.
For the juvenile and curious among us, there’s no way to make the car oversteer, even in very slippery conditions, unless you go to extreme measures to disable the electronic aids. But in the extreme wet, the car’s sheer stability and capacity to cut through standing water are both mighty.