With flights and travel limited around the world, those looking for first-class experiences are finding it in new ways. Perhaps this is why Rolls-Royce posted its best sales quarter in 116 years. Of course, having a steadily improving portfolio helps, and we had a chance to test out the all-new Ghost, which has plenty to boast about.
What used to be known as a baby Phantom has emerged into a vehicle with an identity of its own, something that appeals to a different audience. The automaker even used feedback from current Ghost owners to improve the new version.
Owners wanted something to see something new, a wild idea considering automakers like Rolls-Royce create a brand identity through design, ensuring each vehicle represents the logo on the front. But for the Ghost, there was a demand for more separation from the Phantom, and so the design brief arrived with hundreds of pages of comments from customers explaining they wanted refinement, simplicity and reduction.
As a result, the new Ghost arrives with what Rolls-Royce designers call a post-opulent image. It’s practically the opposite of the Phantom, with an under-the-radar look that still exudes first-class motoring but without the ostentatious aura.
Fussy lines are gone, especially the hood shut line, which is now at the very tip of the Ghost’s nose. The body looks like one whole piece, rather than a few panels put together. Other details like the illuminated grille or 3D effect on the rear lamps are proof that the brand is still listening to Henry Royce’s philosophy of “Small things make perfection.”
Unlike Phantom owners, Ghost drivers may want to drive their sedans at times instead of being exclusively driven in them. Why not? The 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 makes over 560 horsepower and 620 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty to enjoy. Lay into the throttle, and the nose angles ever so slightly upward as the power flows to all four wheels, ensuring confident traction from a stop and in inclement weather.
The vehicle also features a four-wheel steering, which helps make the large sedan feel a bit more nimble when making tight corners. Perhaps the most important element of the ride is the Planar Suspension System, which incorporates a camera to read the road conditions ahead and prepare the suspension proactively ensuring a ride that makes the road feel nonexistent. Add to that a transmission that incorporates map data to preselect a gear for a given path, and the Ghost never feels as though it’s caught off-guard by any route.
If you are the type to want the
five, six, seven-star lifestyle, then the Ghost has a few fancy gadgets to make that happen. For example, the power-assisted doors. Not only do the cars feature the same self-closing rear doors (operated with a sly button hidden within the C-Pillar) but they now automatically open. Passengers pull the door handle once to unlock the door, then hold it to open it automatically. Letting go of the handle applies a door brake for safety. Once the passenger has exited the vehicle, just tap the outer door handle and the door closes automatically.
From the Private Jet
These kinds of touches that reference details in a private jet make the Ghost seem like something out of a dream, and there are more smart touches in the cabin. Rear passengers have adjustable seats with recline functions for even more comfort. They also get hidden pop-out entertainment screens and a table if they need to get some work done. There is even a controller to adjust the car’s multimedia and navigation system.
Between the rear seats is a hidden compartment, with a secret stash for a bottle of champagne and a pair of glasses, allowing the Ghost to bring that private jet-set lifestyle wherever it goes.
Also, importantly, it is astoundingly quiet. The automaker packed about 100 kilograms of sound-absorbing material into the sedan but found that making a car too quiet could result in some disorientation while on the go. Some channels were placed between the trunk and the rear shelf to help bring a bit of the natural frequency of motoring back.
Without a doubt, my favourite part of the Ghost is the use of stars in the cabin. For example, the headliner is made up of six panes of glass and 6,000 etchings to look like a starlit night sky. Shooting stars occasionally blast across the canvas every so often, bringing yet another delightful element into the vehicle. Additionally, on the dashboard in front of the passenger is an illuminated glowing Ghost nameplate, with over 850 LED-lit stars surrounding it. Both of these components can be customized to the owner’s liking, but the subtle presentation of our tester stood out.
It could have been an easy redesign of the Rolls-Royce Ghost, with more power, updated features and a gimmicky feature or two, but the amount of effort that went into the latest generation of the sedan is staggering.
Details both big and small are what make these vehicles alluring, and while the automaker perfected those, it also allowed the Ghost to step out from the shadow of the Phantom and take on a personality all its own.