DRIVEN — The New Rolls-Royce Ghost

DRIVENThe New Ghost


It was an early start — early for me at least — as a Rolls-Royce Cullinan pulled up outside my house. It was morning apparently, but the sky was yet to be notified as the carriage of the Cullinan glowed mysteriously in the fading darkness. My destination? Goodwood; the home of Rolls-Royce and venue for the official UK launch of the new Rolls-Royce Ghost.

I know it sounds a strange thing to say, but I do feel a tad sorry for Rolls-Royce. Imagine the pressure in knowing that everything you make will be instantly considered a benchmark to compete against, and furthermore scrutinised by some of the most astute tastemakers in the world; their clients. Clients that are used to getting perfection and hence have a reinforced, well informed viewpoint of what that perfection is — or should be. Rolls-Royce is seen as THE standard, not only in the world of automation, but in the world of luxury in its entirety.

I was recently introduced the new Ghost, but this day was to be a different experience, a chance to get behind the wheel and truly experience the innovations and drive upgrades to what was the best-selling Rolls-Royce of all time.

As I floated down to Goodwood in the Cullinan – the marque’s first SUV — I was reminded just how much the range has been transformed over the last 10 years; from the Wraith in 2013, the Dawn in 2015, and the “meaty” performance Black Badge editions of both, to the updated Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII in 2017 and of course the Cullinan in which I was sat.

It’s been quite a journey for a brand that essentially only sold one car model until the first Rolls-Royce Ghost’s introduction in 2009. Now the brand not only has multiple models, but boasts its own unique innovations, including spaceframe aluminium — the architecture of luxury — first introduced on Phantom VIII, and underpinning every new model since allowing Rolls-Royce engineers more creative freedom than ever before.

Coupled with the extensive feedback gained over years, and extensive research came a clear understanding of clients’ changing luxury consumption patterns, resulting in a new project mantra — Post Opulence.

“Post Opulence was really key to us because it wasn’t meant to be minimalist and pure in a sterile way, it’s incredibly modern and beautifully designed — it still feels homely.”

— Henry Cloke, Designer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars



0-62mph — 4.6 seconds

Engine — 6.75L V12

Torque — 850Nm @ 1600rpm

Top Speed — 155mph

Pricefrom £208,000 (UK)


There are also features you notice when you see the car in the flesh, or lack of features I should say to be more accurate; features that once sought after, yet actually now offer more in their absence. One such example surrounds the Spirit of Ecstasy, where the bonnet once had additional shot lines, these have been removed to provide less of a distraction, much like a picture without the extra frame. So instead now when you open the bonnet you have a perfect Spirit of ecstasy sized hole remaining.

“Feedback from clients is that they want to use their Ghost not only more often, but in more road conditions, more climate conditions, and four-wheel drive was something that was actively being asked for, so we’ve integrated that into new Ghost. Also, we’ve got four-wheel steer for the first time. And this is one of my personal highlights, because you don’t have to be a chassis engineer to truly appreciate it.”

— Jonathan Simms, Engineering Lead, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The four-wheel steer Jonathan talks about is as intuitive as it is effective, with the rear wheels turning in the same direction as the front wheels at speed to ensure added ease when changing lanes, and in the opposing direction of the front wheels at slower speeds to give the sizeable vehicle a tighter turning circle.

The shining light in the drive innovation has to be the Planar system, which combines three core elements to refine a drive that many would believe to be already refined. The addition of an Upper Wishbone Damper unit mounted above the front suspension assembly, essentially gives your suspension… suspension.

Translate this into real terms, the ease of drive is so effortless that you feel so relaxed. However hard I challenged the car with bumpy un-cultivated roads, the ride reminded distinguished throughout; as if the car itself had been put through the most ardent posture school. The result is a tireless drive, in both activity and feeling, as everything you want the car to do happens with consummate ease. Yes, this is a car to be driven in, as the new extended wheelbase option will attest to, but in this new post opulent world of luxury, the new Ghost leaves the initiative well and truly in the owners’ hands.


More New Ghost



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