Test drive: The Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII

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Updated 22 October 2017
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Test drive: The Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII

LUCERNE: Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII was this month driven by world media, including Arab News, in one of the most scenic regions in Europe in the Swiss Alps and around Lake Lucerne in Switzerland.
Since its debut in 1925, the Phantom has been the ultimate expression of luxury in the motor industry and the eighth generation scales new heights of beauty and power. The experience of driving and being chauffeured in a Phantom is memorable — especially as the world had to wait 14 years for this eighth generation to emerge.
The new Phantom VIII will arrive in world markets at the beginning of 2018 and some orders will shortly be on their way to the Gulf region.
Prices start at SR1.95 million ($520,000).
The new Phantom is the most advanced Rolls-Royce ever. With a new, almost silent, 6.75 liter twin-turbo V12 engine, the Phantom is an oasis of calm. It has a new aluminum architecture and air-suspension that gives it a Magic Carpet ride.
One unique feature of the new Phantom is “The Gallery” — an unprecedented concept which allows patrons to commission a work of art to be displayed inside the car’s glass covered dashboard.
A few weeks before the media launch, Rolls-Royce unveiled the new Phantom in London with examples from the seven predecessors — all owned by historical personalities. These included models owned by Queen Elizabeth II, Fred Astaire, John Lennon, the Aga Khan and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.
The new aluminum frame, dubbed “architecture of luxury” by the company, is 30 percent more rigid than that of the previous generation. This frame delivers more ride comfort, acoustic calm, seat luxury and interior sense of space.

Silence and comfort
Some extraordinary effort went into making the new Phantom “the most silent motor car in the world.” Two-layer 6mm glass was used all around the car; more than 130 kilos of sound insulation and sound-absorbing materials were included; double-skin alloys were also added to the floor and bulkhead of the space frame; and “silent seal” tires with foam layers isolate road noise and allow for quiet conversation within the car.
A further comfort feature is the “Magic Carpet Ride.” Suspension makes millions of calculations every second as it continuously varies the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system — reacting to body and wheel acceleration, steering inputs and camera information. In addition, the stereo camera system integrated in the windscreen to see the road ahead, adjusts suspension proactively rather than reactively up to 100 kilometers per hour. At this high speed, Phantom is 10 percent quieter than its predecessor.
The V12 direct-injection engine provides 563bhp of power and 900Nm of torque at a low 1700rpm. The new Phantom can reach 100kph speed in 5.4 seconds and its top speed is electronically limited to 155mph. In a combined cycle the Phantom achieves 29.1mpg and its CO2 emissions are 319 g/km.
As the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce, the new Phantom carries such features as active cruise control, night vision assist, collision warning, pedestrian warning, cross-traffic warning, lane departure warning and a high-resolution head-up display. It also has the latest navigation and entertainment systems and a WiFi hotspot.
According to Giles Taylor, director of design at Rolls-Royce, “Phantom is the epitome of effortless style.” Taylor integrated the new Phantom’s grille into the surrounding bodywork, resulting in a cleaner flow of the iconic exterior design. A new headlamp design uses the most advanced laser technology that casts light well over 600 meters down the road.

The driving experience
The only choice in a Phantom is to drive or be driven. Entering the car is an occasion in itself. After settling into a back seat, you can close the door with one button automatically. The occupant finds himself cocooned in the finest materials and transported into a serene environment. Only a few people would be lucky enough to sit in the back of a Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII.
Rarer still are those luckier to have a chance to drive the car. Even in the most affluent part of Switzerland, the Phantom turns heads in the streets like no other. Although, Phantom VIII can outperform most cars on the road, it is most appreciated at low speeds. Owners of Phantoms do not rush to catch up with anyone; rather, others wait for them to arrive.
Phantom drivers have command of the road and respect of other car drivers. When Phantom stops for a pedestrian to cross the road or waits for a car to pass, the appreciation turns to gratitude and admiring looks (for the Phantom, not its driver).
Driving a Phantom is a unique experience in any location; an experience for the lucky few who can express their status through their cars and their tastes in selecting the artwork to place in their dashboard “galleries”. Owners will have to wait a few more weeks for that experience.


REVIEW: Porsche’s all-new Cayenne takes on desert terrain

Updated 31 October 2018
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REVIEW: Porsche’s all-new Cayenne takes on desert terrain

DUBAI: When Porsche first unveiled its Cayenne approximately 16 years ago, motoring fans thought it wouldn’t take off. After all, what does a sports car brand know about launching an SUV?
Turns out, a lot actually as funnily enough it’s now a top seller. In 2018 the Cayenne is one of the German giant’s most successful creations in the Middle East region and beyond. So much so, that this year marks its third generation of the beautiful beast. And with Porsche’s promise of the vehicle’s “outstanding handling on any terrain” where else to put it to the test than on our beautiful desert roads?
But first things first — what versions are available? The models we tried were a trio of specs: The Cayenne, Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo. A Cayenne E-Hybrid is also now available.
The base model comprises a six-cylinder turbo engine, producing 340 hp. It achieves a 0-100km/h in just 6.2 seconds. The Sport version is powered by a 2.9-liter, 440 hp biturbo-charged V6 engine, reaching 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds. And finally, the tough Turbo — featuring a biturbo eight-cylinder engine putting out 550 hp — reaches an acceleration of 0-100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds.
We took all three out for a spin around Dubai, Fujairah and Dibba — different roads, different terrain. And the manufacturer is true to its word when it says the Cayenne can handle all types of ground (of course we didn’t try it on icy roads, but hey, what are the chances of needing to over here?).

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THE LIST

Cayenne starting prices

SR308,600 Cayenne

SR375,800 Cayenne S

SR573,700 Cayenne Turbo

SR392,167 Cayenne E-Hybrid

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The core components of the third generation are new. The more efficient engines combined with a new eight-speed Tiptronic S — along with new technology such as 4D chassis control, rear axle steering, three-chamber air suspension, and tungsten-carbide-coated Porsche Surface Coated Brake (PSCB) — result in a phenomenal performance. Meanwhile, the updated lightweight chassis delivers top class driving dynamics.
On normal roads, it offers the best steering experience along with great safety features, including parking assistance with reversing camera, surround view, and adaptive cruise control. There’s also an optional lane-keeping system that can monitor the vehicle’s position using a camera, responding by providing steering support if you leave your lane without indicating. Great for long drives.
While the spacious interior makes it ideal as the ultimate family car, it’s also one for adventure. You can choose between five different drive and chassis modes,
depending on the terrain. So going off-road is never a problem. In fact, we took one onto the mountains in Dibba and were very impressed by how safe the drive was. We just chose the mode that suited the terrain (between “gravel” and “rock”) and went for it. This adjusts the car to suit the environment ensuring a safe drive. An optional off-road package includes a menu offering additional displays for the steering angle, transverse gradient and longitudinal incline.
Inside the car, noise is kept to a minimum, while the technology in its infotainment system is second to none. While it’s great for your passenger, however, it sometimes can be a little too much for the driver. So make sure you set up your navigation, apps and music before setting out and avoid distractions on the road.
The Cayenne isn’t for the faint-hearted — it’s a big vehicle — but if you’re looking for a strong and sturdy family car, or something to take you on the greatest of outdoor adventures, then it doesn’t get any better than this.