Ice explorers: The best car in the world has to be the best under any conditions. Rolls-Royce decided to prove just that on icy roads and in sub-zero temperatures
The year of an automotive journalist is marked by numerous invitations to launches and promotional events. New models, factory visits, promotion of some new marketing strategy, track driving with professional drivers, etc.
In my 14 years of writing about cars I thought I had done a bit of everything, but when the phone rang in the middle of January and on the other end of the line came an invitation to drive the Rolls-Royce range in the snow, I realised there is always the possibility of doing something different.
Norway is one of the top destinations for snow driving experiences at this time of year and the British brand chose the ski resort of Hemsedal, 200km from Oslo, to demonstrate to a selected group of journalists that a Rolls-Royce is always a Rolls-Royce, come rain or shine. Or snow, of course.
With temperatures always hovering around -10 degrees Celsius and with no motorway network spanning the country, the programme was based on the experience of testing the Phantom, Ghost and Cullinan models on different national and regional roads, covered with more or less snow, but always challenging and ideal for demonstrating why these are the best cars in the world and why the brand is today and always a pioneer in defining prestige in the shape of a car.
Rolls-Royce says we are in the midst of the “post-opulence” era, which means something like wanting less things, but even more quality, in products with real substance. Less about fiduciary value, more about the intrinsic and timeless value of items.
After a day exploring the Rollers over 250km of roads straight out of a National Geographic photo album, the morning of the second day directed the entourage to the frozen lake of Golsfiellet, which in the winter months becomes a huge playground for those with a passion for cars.
With no potholes, pavements, speed bumps, traffic lights or oncoming traffic, driving on a sheet of ice is always unforgettable.
But having the Rolls-Royce team encourage us to drift a 2.6-tonne, €700,000 Phantom requires us to first free our minds from everything we know about a car that is more a piece of art, less a way to get from A to B.
When we do, the connection with these high-precision machines becomes magical, unique and very special. And only at the end of the day, in the warmth of the mountain hotel, can we reflect on the privilege of driving or being “just” a passenger in one of these cars.
Currently in the process of transitioning to a 100% electric range with the new Spectre, Rolls-Royce is easily the pinnacle of technology that has dominated the automotive industry thus far. Farewell glorious V12s, and so long.
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