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Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ flagship model, the Phantom has been around since 2003, which in car years is almost an eternity.
Although Rolls is a company that prefers steady, progressive improvements rather than flash in the plan redesigns or updates (it just wouldn’t be proper you know), Goodwood has decided that the imposing Phantom could receive a few enhancements for its second decade on the market.
As a result, at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, an updated Phantom Series II made its world premiere. Changes included a revised front end with new front bumpers and full LED headlamp assemblies, plus the adoption of a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and revised rear differential, said to improve fuel economy on the monster 6.75-liter V12 by around 10 percent.
Inside, a new, larger 8.8-inch touch screen is incorporated in the center stack, while an updated navigation system and improved multi-media controller, deliver better usability for the car’s info/entertainment and ventilation systems. In addition, front, overhead and rear view cameras provide better peripheral visibility when maneuvering this magnificent beast of a car; just as well for the thought of scratching or scraping one of these things is enough to make you cringe.
GALLERY: 2013 Rolls-Royce Phanton Series II
Alongside the scene stealing F12 Berlinetta, Ferrari also chose the Geneva Motor Show as the venue for the unveiling of its updated front mid-engined California, which is lighter, more powerful and faster than its predecessor.
Still powered by a 4.3-liter V8, tuning tricks and a less restrictive exhaust boost power by an extra 30 ponies, from 460 to a total of 490 horses. Torque stands at a meaty 372 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to shaving some 66 lbs of mass, due to a revised lightweight alloy chassis, performance is improved, with a projected 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 3.8 seconds.
Although the idea of tracking a convertible may seem a bit odd to some, Ferrari has added a “Handling Speciale” option to the new California, which adds stiffer springs and faster reacting magneto rheological shock absorbers, thanks to a specially calibrated ECU that tailors damping to match the individual driver and road conditions. Quicker ratio steering is also part of the package and combined with the car’s F1-Trac traction control system, will help result in a highly capable corner carver, topless coachwork or not.
At present, Ferrari has only confirmed European sales, though given the appeal of a car like this and the name, US availability seems a given, though exactly when that will happen is still to be determined.
As one expects of such a machine, a variety of options, including paint colors, upholstery patterns and even two-toning are available to help make your California stand apart from the herd.