STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

At the wheel of the newest, most expensive Rolls-Royce

A high-rise ultra-luxury resort just north of Miami Beach called Acqualina has a parking lot filled with Rolls-Royces...

Posted: Feb 9, 2018 2:59 AM
Updated: Feb 9, 2018 2:59 AM

A high-rise ultra-luxury resort just north of Miami Beach called Acqualina has a parking lot filled with Rolls-Royces.

They belong to residents who pay millions of dollars to live, at least part of the year, in this ochre-colored tower with its ocean views, private beach and spa.

As it happens, Acquilina has the highest concentration, anywhere in the world, of privately owned Rolls-Royces. A few residents have more than one. I went there to try out Rolls-Royce's newest model, the completely redesigned Phantom. This is Rolls-Royce's largest and most expensive car. Prices start at a $450,000. It is also the lodestar for the brand. Every other Rolls-Royce model is some smaller and slightly less expensive variation on this car's essential theme which is, in a word, magnificence.

As I walked out the front door out of the Acquilina, with the door held open for me by a very busy doorman, a driver opened the back door of a Phantom allowing me to step right inside after barely touching the warm Florida air. The driver touched a button on the car door handle and the door, hinged at the back, whooshed closed, shutting with a vault-like thunk.

Normally, I wouldn't start a test drive by riding in the back, but this car is engineered around the passenger. The seats are comfortable and recline deeply. They will massage you if you want. Press a button and he floor rises up to meet your feet while your head rests on a soft leather pillow.

Please try the stereo. Unlike most carmakers, Rolls-Royce did not just hire a big-name stereo company to fit a product into its cars. Instead, Rolls-Royce hired its own sound technicians to create its own stereos. The results are amazing. Normally, nobody wants to get the "factory stereo" but, when the factory is Rolls-Royce, you do.

And that sets the tone for this car. I could provide a long list available features such as the champagne cooler you can get with etched crystal champagne flutes. But that wouldn't tell you how pretty those champagne flutes are. There are the umbrellas that reside, ready for immediate deployment, inside the doors. These are umbrellas like you've never seen. They have silver handles and a nice heft in the hand. They cost $700 each. The perfect pinstripe down the side was painted there by hand. I know because I've met the one man in the world who paints Rolls-Royce stripes.

Not everything was perfect, though. At least not to me. But the things that I didn't like weren't issues of quality but decisions made by Rolls-Royce designers that just didn't happen to please me. Call me picky but when I'm looking at a $630,000 car, including all its options, I want to be happy.

The Starlight headliner, for instance, is beautiful. The entire ceiling of the car glistens with tiny specks of light mimicking the stars in England's night sky when the first Phantom was built. But there is no optional panoramic sunroof, like so many cars have these days. I would have preferred the glass roof. Too bad for me.

And those backwards-hinged rear doors look classic but they are awfully awkward to open from the inside. But that's a signature Rolls-Royce feature so those doors will never be hinged the normal way. And in the new Phantom, Rolls-Royce's beautiful gauges, some of my favorite in the business, have been replaced with "virtual gauges" on little computer screens. In a cabin with no fake wood or fake metal, fake gauges seem sad to me.

I also took a turn at the Phantom's great big steering wheel. Rolls-Royce makes some of my favorite cars to drive. The two-door models, the Wraith and the Dawn convertible, are a pleasure to pilot over a winding rural road. There's a feeling of complete but gentle control as you ease through curve after curve at a clip.

The Phantom is similar in that this big car can charge along at surprising speeds without ever making you aware -- except glancing at the speedometer -- that you probably ought to slow down. It's no sports car but, considering its size, the performance is impressive. With its big V12 engine, it bolts to highway speeds in just five seconds.

The Phantom never feels wallowing or uncontrolled. Once you get used to things like the gentle action of the brakes -- they do respond promptly in an emergency stop -- you can securely weave it through anywhere, provided there's space.

For those who can afford it, it's a unique experience. As for me, I'll take the smaller Wraith and be perfectly happy in the driver's seat rather than riding in the back of the Phantom.

West Lafayette
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 66°
Kokomo
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 62°
Rensselaer
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 63°
Fowler
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Williamsport
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 66°
Crawfordsville
Scattered Clouds
60° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 60°
Frankfort
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
Delphi
Broken Clouds
60° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 60°
Monticello
Broken Clouds
60° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 60°
Logansport
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 63°
Some more showers & storms ahead.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 67122

Reported Deaths: 2971
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion14578718
Lake6994269
Elkhart456676
Allen3557157
St. Joseph307179
Hamilton2446104
Cass17439
Hendricks1731105
Vanderburgh167912
Johnson1631118
Porter114439
Tippecanoe108511
Clark106245
Madison83364
LaPorte81829
Kosciusko81412
Howard79864
Marshall73922
Bartholomew72747
Monroe67430
Floyd66544
Delaware62852
Boone62646
Noble62428
Dubois61612
Hancock60837
Jackson5474
LaGrange53910
Shelby50826
Grant49629
Warrick48830
Dearborn45628
Vigo45410
Morgan41232
Henry35818
Clinton3493
White34410
Montgomery33621
Lawrence32527
Wayne3139
Decatur31032
Harrison28222
Miami2562
Scott24410
Daviess24019
Greene23534
Putnam2178
DeKalb2144
Jennings20812
Jasper1992
Franklin19710
Gibson1963
Steuben1953
Ripley1867
Perry17012
Orange16124
Starke1617
Wabash1553
Posey1540
Fayette1507
Jefferson1482
Whitley1446
Carroll1392
Fulton1391
Wells1292
Knox1260
Huntington1183
Spencer1103
Newton10910
Washington1071
Randolph1024
Tipton1025
Clay945
Jay810
Adams792
Rush794
Owen781
Sullivan741
Pulaski711
Brown691
Fountain622
Benton600
Blackford512
Parke461
Ohio454
Switzerland430
Martin420
Crawford410
Pike410
Vermillion340
Union280
Warren191
Unassigned0200

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events