2010 starts a bit different here. Instead of focusing on our usual BMW vs. the world comparisons, we decided to change the focus on one of BMW’s most successful acquisitions: Rolls Royce.
In 1998, British luxury car maker Rolls-Royce has been sold to BMW for $571 million – despite promises of a higher bid from rival Volkswagen. At the time, BMW said that they wanted to invest about $1.6 billion in Rolls-Royce over the next 10 years. Skipping forward 12 years, the Rolls-Royce acquisitions proved to be very successful, both for BMW and the UK high luxury automaker. The latest Rolls Royce Ghost model is being said to be sold even before it hits the market.
At the highest end of car luxury, Rolls-Royce has a significant opponent: another British automaker, the VW-owned Bentley. Both brands are highly respectable, with a long history in the high-end luxury segment and with a status icon attached to them.
Valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars, many of these ultra luxurious models remain a dream for many of us and the lack of driving tests, make it even harder to properly compare them. Therefore, we propose to focus today on the heritage, design, road presence, value, quality and technology of these cars, and the photos below will help us to pass on a fairly accurate judgment.
Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe
Prior to the Ghost unveiling, the Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe was the latest addition to the British automaker’s line of vehicles. Featuring a driver-oriented interior, the large grand tourer is powered by a mammoth V12 6.8 liter engine that produces 453 horsepower and 531 lb-ft of torque — with nearly 400 lb-ft, or 75 percent, available at just 1,000 rpm. One interesting detail about the Phantom Coupe is that it features rear-hinged coach doors which add considerably to the ease of access to the rear seats as well as to the overall aesthetics. Base price is situated around the $400,000 mark.
Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe
Considered to be a direct competitor to the Bentley Azure and even Continental GTC, the $448,000 Drophead Coupe is powered by 6.8 liter 48-valve V12 engine producing 453 horsepower and 531 lb-ft of torque, and runs from 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds. The Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe makes the ultimate statement when it comes to luxury and wealth.
Rolls Royce Ghost
Launched at the Geneva Motor Show in a concept form and carrying the name EX200, the Ghost is Rolls Royce’s latest bet. With record sales in 2007 and 2008, RR hopes to return to high sales sometimes in 2010 and the Ghost can be the model that will pull them through.
The new Rolls which is built atop the most recent BMW 7 series platform, will be manufactured at the Goodwood plant and it will share some interior and exterior materials with the Phantom and Drophead Coupe, but fit into a shorter wheelbase. At the same time, RR Ghost has a very modern and round design giving the impression of a smaller and sportier luxury vehicle. RR Ghost has a very modern and round design giving the impression of a smaller and sportier luxury vehicle.
It use a twin-turbo V12 6.6-liter engine backed up by an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Maximum output is measured at 563 horsepower and 570lb ft of torque.
Base price: $310,000
Rolls Royce Phantom Black Edition
In July 2006, Rolls Royce produced a limited edition run of 25 cars called the “Phantom Black. A special metallic Diamond Black paint is used on the body, complemented by twin silver coach lines. Under the bonnet the 6.75 liter V12 engine has been treated to gloss black inlet manifolds, chrome plated top covers and new black Rolls-Royce badges. The near silent motor provides 453 horsepower, enough to propel the Phantom Black from 0-60mph in just 5.7 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 149mph.
The base price back in 2006 was set at $310,000.
Bentley Continental GT Speed
The Bentley Continental GT is a two-door ‘two plus two’ grand touring coupé released in 2003, replacing the previous Rolls-Royce-based Continental R and T. A few years later, Bentley released a more powerful GT, dubbed Speed. Power comes from Volkswagen’s 6.0 liter W12 twin-turbo engine that outputs 602 horsepower, 553 lb-ft pf torque, with a top speed of 325 kilometres per hour (201.9 mph) and a 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds. Continental GT Speed uses an AWD drivetrain.
Base price: $182,000
Bentley Continental Flying Spur
The Flying Spur was introduced for the 2006 model year. A direct result of Bentley’s new owners, the Volkswagen Auto Group, the sedan shares its basic underpinnings and some mechanical bits with VW’s late Phaeton. In 2009, Bentley gave its Continental Flying Spur a slight facelift. It uses the same engine as in the GT Speed with the same power output: 602 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque at 1,750 rpm.
Base price: $177,000
Bentley Azure T
It is a higher performance version of Bentley Azure, the large four seater convertible introduced by Bentley in 1995. Under the bonnet, it features a twin turbocharged V8 6.8 liter engine, rated at 500 hp and 1,000 Nm (740 lb-ft) torque. It has 0-60 miles per hour time of 6.1 seconds (0-100 km/h at 5.5 seconds), 0-100 mph time in 12.1 seconds (0-160 km/h in 12.0 seconds) and a top speed of 179mph (288 km/h). The engine is mated to a smooth-shifting ZF 6-speed automatic transmission.
Base price: $370,000
Back in August 2009, Bentley took the wraps off its latest model: Mulsanne, the flagship ultra-luxury sedan that replaces the Arnage model. Its direct competition comes from Rolls Royce’s Phantom. It is set to arrive in showrooms in 2011 and it uses a revised version of the 6.75-liter V-8 engine, which has been updated with cam phasing and variable displacement technologies to help reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. It outputs 505 horsepower and a massive 752 pound-feet of torque, the latter delivered at just 1,800 rpm. Drive is sent to the rear wheels via a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission equipped with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters.
No pricing has been announced at this moment.[poll id=”47″]