The Rolls-Royce Phantom flagship retains the model's ability to astound and astonish
Something in the way the Rolls-Royce Phantom moves The luxurious Rolls-Royce Phantom glides around corners with the ease of a car half its size. ST PHOTOS: LEE JIA WEN

If there is one thing which shows the new Rolls-Royce Phantom is still deserving of its ethereal name, it would be the way it corners.

Steer the monumental beast around a sharp bend and it magically traces the arc with the precision and ease of a car half its size.

In standard form, the car measures close to 5.8m long and 2m wide, with a wheelbase in excess of 3.5m. It weighs over 2.5 tonnes and rides on 22-inch wheels.

Yet, it turns with not a trace of nervousness or clumsiness associated with such measurements. It is as if there is an unseen force gently nudging the rear axle in the opposite direction and another to prevent the titanic vessel from rocking ever so slightly when a turn is complete.

It is nothing short of supernatural. And it makes the new Phantom as much of a driver's car as it is a chauffeured carriage.

The ample V12 impresses not so much by its ability to make more power than the last one, but by its uncanny talent of delivering sportscar performance with absolute nonchalance.

As before, there is so much in reserve. All you need is a change in pedal pressure and the car responds with its insane access to 900Nm of torque from 1,700rpm.

In most situations, its eight-speed automatic transmission does not even have to drop a gear to deliver a quickened state.

Sitting in the second row is as magical. Imagine being teleported to your destination without having to leave your favourite couch in your drawing room.

The standard wheelbase car already offers more legroom than you know what to do with, but the extended version adds 220mm to that.

The test-car does not have thick-ply carpeting, but it has footrests that can be raised at the touch of a button. The doors are motorised, too, as are the rear picnic trays which unfold to reveal individual infotainment sets. These contraptions squeak a little when in operation, but only from the stretching of the leather encasing them.

The massage function in the seats adds to the joy of moving without moving at all. Even the effects of hard braking are kept well at bay.

As luxurious as the rear seats are, it is the front row which offers a slightly more settled ride quality. Even if it is closer to the engine, you get the same silent treatment here as you do at the back.

It is here, too, that you take in the Phantom's new cockpit. To the fore is the car's "gallery", a glass-encased display where owners can mount their personal artefacts - a watch collection perhaps, or beloved archaeological treasures.

But even when empty, the display looks grand, with the brushed metallic finish in the test-car giving the hallowed marque a touch of modernity. A self-folding 12.3-inch TFT screen with LED backlighting floats like a spectre behind the glass.

On the exterior, the Phantom appears more elegant, with an outline which hides its bulk better than before. LED lamps, a grille which is more flushed and C-pillars which slope gently towards the boot give it a softer silhouette.

Even so, it is obviously a massive creation. The more you look at it, the harder it is for you to reconcile its sheer size with the way it moves.