Rolls-Royce Builds on an Important Icon With the New Ghost
After the 1906 Roll-Royce Ghost, this nameplate went into hibernation for over a century until after BMW had acquired the Rolls-Royce automotive division from rivals back in 1998.
Looking for an appropriate name to put on a supporting model to their flagship, the Phantom, the new owners resurrected the dormant name and used it for the 2009 Rolls-Royce Ghost. It had a twin-turbo, 6.6-litre V12, producing 570 hp. By 2014, it had a mid-life refresh and received a facelift along with better features.
This year, Rolls-Royce presented the all-new, second-generation Ghost, which switched to the clever “Architecture of Luxury” (A.O.L) aluminium spaceframe chassis that also underpins both the Phantom and Cullinan SUV. As this platform is designed to be scalable, it can be adapted for the entire Rolls-Royce model range, as opposed to creating a bespoke platform to accommodate each of the carmaker’s current models.
Fortunately for the Ghost, this means its Extended Wheelbase version can be made just a tad shy of the length of the Phantom, meaning to say this “junior” Rolls-Royce is really a large car. The benefits are seen on the inside—the cabin provides prodigious and impeccable luxury for the occupants. Every combination of top-quality finishes is possible on demand— the Ghost can be personalised to the hilt for a price.
One would imagine that the marque—with its expertise in making luxury cars for over a century— would have already accomplished its mission to deliver a silent, comfortable interior. But of course, great is never enough for the engineers at Rolls-Royce, who have introduced yet another technical development in the relentless quest to create the proverbial magic carpet ride.
Rolls-Royce calls this new technology the Planar suspension system. It is designed as another set of arms that rests on the upper suspension wishbone, and acts like a damper, similar to when one places a finger on the tine of a struck tuning fork. This attenuates the transmission of the road impacts to the body of the car, further reducing audible noise and harshness.
The rest of the ride comfort is achieved via the Flagbearer system, a complex piece of tech that scans the road ahead for imperfections and quickly adjusts the suspension to absorb the impending undulations. Comparing a jaunt on the Ghost to a magic carpet ride is no empty boast—it’s most certainly the best limousine I have ever driven or indeed have been a passenger in, bar none.
HANDLES LIKE A DREAM
Despite its heft, the Ghost is not ungainly in any way. The engineers have added a rear-wheel drive system to help mitigate the inevitable unwieldiness that comes with a car of its size and weight. This mechanism helps long cars, in particular, to attain the agility and turning capability of a much shorter car and yet provide superb stability at higher speeds.
During my test-drive, there was a particular piece of road, both narrow and twisty, that proved the efficacy of the rear steering system impressively, clearly demonstrating that the Ghost is not just for wafting about. Hustling a Ghost through the bends is surprisingly satisfying but, obviously, its greatest talents lie elsewhere.
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NEW AND IMPROVED FEATURES
One may have noticed that Rolls-Royce typically does not make a song and dance about car power or performance. Its 6.75-litre V12 twin-turbo engine now boasts 571 hp, a mere one hp increase since 2009. What has increased is engine torque output, which rises from 780 Nm to 850 Nm. Rolls-Royce's reasoning is there is no need to be quicker than 4.8 seconds to sprint to 100 km/h, as being regal is not about how fast one is going but rather how effortless and refined the motion is.
The new Ghost brings a good many features to the table—refinement, comfort, ease of use. But its greatest triumph, I feel, is in its new styling. Pictures really cannot convey just how well proportioned it is in real life. There is a sense of restraint despite the obvious ostentation—just enough to maintain good taste and desirability. While the previous Ghost did a good job, the new Ghost is really on a whole new level altogether.
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Price from: $ 1,258,888 (standard) $ 1,418,888 (extended), before options and COE
Engine: 6.75-litre petrol injection V12, twin-turbo
Max power: 571 hp at 5000 rpm
Max torque: 850 Nm at 1600 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with GPS guidance
0-100km/h: In 4.8 seconds
Top speed: 250km/h (electronically governed)
Fuel consumption: 15.3-15.7L/100km