Last week, Rolls-Royce revealed the Extended version of its new Ghost saloon, which has reclining rear seats with 170mm more leg room and a champagne cooler with an 11deg C setting for vintage bottles or 6deg C for newer tipples.
Classy, but the stretched Ghost will command upwards of £250,000, at which point the mind wanders to where your money might be better spent. Well, what if we told you that you can own a modern, long-wheelbase Rolls-Royce for little more than a quarter of that?
Yes, the once-unfathomably luxurious Phantom VII has started its transition from the realm of fantasy to that of feasibility for the luxury car buyer on a budget.
That’s all relative – it’s still a Rolls-Royce, after all – and at £60,000, this 2004 car is among the more affordable examples for sale, but that’s hardly bad value when you consider what you’re getting. Your Moët will have to stay at home, but there’s 100mm more space between the axles than the Ghost Extended, more wood inside than the New Forest, suicide doors and the Phantom’s party piece: that BMW-derived 6.75-litre V12.
There’s no chance this 16-year-old car will feel dated once on the move, with its 435bhp and 531lb ft enough to whisk you from 0-62mph in less than six seconds, while the cosseting air suspension irons out even the harshest broken Tarmac.
The car’s previous owners have clearly had their money’s worth out of it, clocking up an impressive 110,000 miles between the seven (yes, seven) of them. But the deep burgundy carpets bear no sign of fading and the leather looks remarkably fresh. Happily, even the Phantom’s umbrellas can still be found in their secret in-door hideaway.
The bold silver over red over beige colour scheme won’t be to all tastes, and it serves as a reminder that limitless showroom personalisation options don’t always result in stunning automotive creations – but rather that than the matt black wrap that more commonly adorns Phantoms of this vintage. And anyway, you don’t buy a car like this to blend in, so why not go ahead and indulge your inner oligarch?
FP: Homer Simpson had a similar idea with his ill-conceived concept car. The Sandero doesn’t need such gimmicks to cultivate appeal, hence why it remains one of the UK’s most popular cars while your Roomster was consigned to the history books years ago. And the 1990s Renault link is a happy coincidence; as I’m sure you know, the short-lived Rancho was succeeded by none other than the fantastic Espace MPV.
MA: I don’t believe we were asked for a commercially successful car, and as I’ve described in detail, mine is closer in spirit to the old Rancho than yours. But I’m not judging this, so it’s over to you, James…
Verdict: I’ll take that Rancho-style Roomster, thank you.