x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Extra-long Rolls-Royce is a snip at just Dh2.5m

The new Roll's Royce Phantom EWB comes fully loaded with luxury extras and a little more room.

The new Phantom Series II ewb. It differs from other Phantom Series II models because of its additional leg room, but it doesn't come cheap: The space added comes out to 1,000 dhs per extra millimetre.
The new Phantom Series II ewb. It differs from other Phantom Series II models because of its additional leg room, but it doesn't come cheap: The space added comes out to 1,000 dhs per extra millimetre.

ABU DHABI // It's the car you've been longing for: a new version of the Rolls-Royce Phantom aimed at those who feel the standard model is not quite roomy enough.

The Series II Extended Wheelbase, or EWB, is 25cm longer than the already-lengthy standard Phantom. To enjoy that extra leg-room you have to pay Dh250,000 more than the price of the standard car. That is enough to buy three Toyota Camrys, and is the equivalent of Dh1,000 per extra millimetre.

A black EWB on display in Abu Dhabi is laden with extras that push the price even higher. The average Phantom sold in the capital costs Dh1.9 million, while the longer version on show is a massive Dh600,000 more.

The car was launched earlier this year and went on show here last week.

"We feel there is a shortage of this type of car in the Abu Dhabi market, so that's why we ordered it," said Kadhim Al Helli, brand manager at the capital's Rolls-Royce showroom, the world's largest.

The display car, a 2013 model, has a double gold coach-line, a gold-plated Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet ornament, elm woodwork with a distinctive swirling pattern, a cool box, black lamb's wool carpets and a host of other features.

The soundproof partition wall - essential to stop the chauffeur overhearing sensitive discussions - costs Dh185,000 alone, though that includes an intercom system and entertainment package. The partition feature is not available on the standard Phantom.

"If you need privacy you need this car," said Mr Al Helli. "If you need to conduct business while you're travelling and you don't want the driver to listen to your conversation you need this type of car.

"It can be used by businessmen or members of the government. If you have a politician coming on a short trip and you need to have a conversation for half an hour, this car can give you privacy."

Mr Al Helli said he had already lined up two potential buyers who were considering colour options.

"It drives exactly the same as the normal Phantom, you don't feel any difference," he said. "It suits the roads here in the UAE perfectly and the parking perfectly. This type of car may be hard to park in London, but in Abu Dhabi, it's OK.

"Some people drive these cars themselves when they use it with their family, but in general most buyers of EWBs use it with a chauffeur."

Mr Al Helli said customers sometimes bought a Rolls-Royce as an Eid or Christmas present, and families have been known to order one to mark a major event such as a graduation.

The Series II EWB replaces the extended wheelbase version of the previous Phantom model. The showroom sold on average two of the earlier EWBs each year.

The new car is more than six metres long - 6,092mm to be exact - and weighs 2,670kg. Its 6,749cc V12 engine propels it from zero to 100kmh in 6.1 seconds and the car has a governed top speed of 240kmh.

Kevin Hackett, The National's car expert, drove the new EWB soon after its launch. He said it seemed enormous from behind the wheel - "like being inside a stately home that's just sprouted wheels" - but had surprising pace.

If the price of the giant Phantom is slightly out of reach but you still want a car that is a bit special, then you might be tempted by another newcomer in the showroom.

The first two of a limited edition of five Rolls-Royce Ghosts inspired by the story of Abbas Ibn Firnas, a 9th-century Muslim inventor famous for attempting to fly using a set of wings, are now on display.

The bespoke cars have two-tone colour schemes, motifs showing a winged man and other special features that were devised by Mr Al Helli.

A Firnas Ghost costs Dh1.6m - an absolute bargain compared to the Phantom EWB.