The Rolls-Royce Phantom’s 6.75-litre V12 is one of the smoothest engines in production. More like a turbine than a four-stroke engine.
And the new eight-speed gearbox, with its virtually imperceptible shifts, makes even better use of the huge reserves of power.
The figures allow you to gauge the effortlessness of the Phantom’s performance. It will hit 60mph in 5.8sec and 100mph in 14.7sec – a little quicker than a Porsche Boxster.
Even under full acceleration its mechanical refinement is superb; there’s just enough of the V12’s baritone to reassure you that it’s fully extended but there's no vibration or harshness whatsoever. Nor is the Phantom particularly challenged at very high speed.
On Millbrook’s high-speed circuit it ran easily to the soft limiter at 149mph. The ‘power reserve’ gauge – there’s no rev counter in a Rolls – was showing 11 per cent still available. The brakes hauled it down from 70mph to a standstill in a startling 49.1 metres.
That’s all very important. Rolls-Royce's American and European customers typically prefer to drive rather than be driven.