New platforms, modified designs, and more technologies underpin Ghost’s remarkable redesigned elegance.
As we look back at the late era of domestic combustion engines, the new Rolls-Royce Ghost could prove to be the last sedan to be powered by a V-12 engine without hybrid support. This is a difference that can be praised loudly, but 220 pounds of professionally applied sound-canceling material has other ideas. This is a car that never screams and rarely does more than a whisper. It seemed to require an extended trinocular valve to produce any evidence of internal combustion, and even then the V-12 only sounded a distant but purposely buzzing buzz as you hear on the bridge of a luxury yacht seconds after the fully forward-ordered motor. Many brands will struggle to maintain their identity in the era of electrification, but for Rolls-Royce, it will be a liberation from the small amount of engine trouble still caused.
Much about the new Ghost is all too familiar, for the simple reason that the first version has become the best-selling model of all time of the brand over the past decade. The new car is a little larger and significantly neater but the view from the outside is very similar. The exterior design is neater and less up-to-earth, Rolls says, and it has identified a “post-luxury” trend among those who make up a high proportion of its customers. But despite its more modest phantom full-baller appearance, the 218.3-inch, 5,700-pound Ghost will never be short of presence, especially now that its second store has a rear hinge that has the power to open as well as close. It also has the option of a lighting grille.
Beneath the surface, it all changed. The first Ghost sat on the same platform as the F01 BMW 7-series, but it was based on the Rolls-Royce Luxury Architecture module as the basis for both Phantom and Cullinan. Like its SUV brother, the new Ghost has both a four-wheel-drive system and rear wheels, with a 6.7-liter dual-voltage V-12 generation the same 563 horsepower.
Yes, it will hustle. Ghost buyers who will drive the car themselves – much clear in the United States – will be able to enjoy the surprising acceleration forces it can generate. While never enough to squeak its tires, Ghost will launch the difficult way with a popular head-up attitude with power but soft sprung. We didn’t confirm the 4.6 seconds 60 miles per hour time claimed during our drive in the UK, but considering the nearly 400-pound Cullinan beat that, we expect ghosts to be a little faster. It definitely seems fast enough. The steering system is lightweight and lacks drag, but the forward response is accurate and the grip level is very responsive. An active flip strain is equipped at the rear, but it is powered by a 12-volt engine (the Bentley Flying Spur has a 48-volt system), and the harder cornering effect is limited. The brake pedal has a weight to stop extremely smoothly and therefore also slightly soft to adjust precisely when the brakes are folded.
Ghosts are much more fun at softer speeds, with the most important statistic being 1600 rpm lying on their backs, at which powerful engines achieve a maximum torque of 627 pound-feet. There is no way to manually select the gears for the eight-level automatic gearbox, nor is there any clear need for system software that works unobtrusively as an attentive caterer. Like phantom and Cullinan, the drive system uses GPS support to help choose the right gears intelligently when approaching corners and intersections. Rolls-Royce is now happy to make its power and performance figures public — previously only required to be “qualified” —but the company still refuses to attach anything as vulgar as a speedometer to the dashboard. However, even with the Energy Reserve clock showing more than 80% of the engine’s untapped capacity, the performance is still very fast.
At first, the suspension installation felt too soft. Ghost’s gentle initial reaction to a collision felt as if it would be followed by the wall of a 60s land-based yacht, but air springs and adaptive reducer prevented the seemingly inevitable puffing. At higher speeds, it turns into a real magic mat, with a line-reading floating audio camera system informing the reducer about upcoming undulating times. There are also shock educators equipped for the upper handles designed for anti-vibration. Even fairly large compressions are digested without clear effort, with the tight sound-sounding ability having done a similarly good job of preventing the real world from ruining the tranquility of the Ghost cabin. At 70 miles per hour, it’s as quiet as most cars will be at 30 miles per hour; conversations between the person in front and the person in the back can be conducted in a whisper. A strange omission is that cruise control keeps lanes. Ghost will keep its distance from the vehicle ahead but there is no active lane-keeping support.
The cabin is spacious, although slightly less space than you might expect due to the car’s exterior size. In their usual form, ghosts are only slightly shorter than the extended base axis version of the upcoming car. Adults can sit comfortably in the back but there is no ankle rotation room that many people relate to true elegance, a deficiency that the inevitable stretched version will overcome. The combination of high ring roads and giant pillars also restricts visibility, especially from the driver’s seat, where there are significant blind spots ahead 3/4 and over the shoulder. We also note that, at the usual seat height, only the upper half of the Spirit of Ecstasy hood mascot is visible, meaning that the visible type looks more like Dumbo than the Flying Lady.
Rolls-Royce continues to deliberately make its cabins feel closer to the 1920s than in the 2020s, with ancient details such as mechanical rotational oven controllers in place of the u.s u.s. u.s. digital climate reading capabilities of all luxury rivals. For Ghost, it has added individual digital tools that look and work exactly the same as the usual digital faces they have replaced. But the overall effect still feels completely special, thanks to details such as perfectly weighted metal vents and beautifully stitched leather panel. Even the star-filled title — which uses hundreds of optical fibers to mimic the crystal clear night sky —doesn’t feel like a gimmick.
It’s hard to criticize a better car than a successful predecessor in every way, which is what ghost new management. When buyers of super-luxury cars follow the trend of favoring SUVs, it seems that this Ghost will not be as popular as the upcoming version. But in every aspect of experience and even subject matter, it is the superior car.
2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
ESTIMATED BASE PRICE
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 48-valve V-12, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
412 in3, 6749 cm3
563 hp @ 5000 rpm
627 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
Wheelbase: 129.7 in
Length: 218.3 in
Height: 61.9 in
Trunk volume: 18 ft3
Curb weight (C/D est): 5700 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 4.3 sec
100 mph: 10.4 sec
1/4 mile: 12.7 sec
Top speed: 155 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 14/12/19 mpg