The Rolls-Royce lineup of cars is surprisingly expansive. For a brand focussed on offering the most opulent automotive experience, it seems to offer some models not as luxurious as the Phantom. Fair enough, they cater to different folks with different tastes and maybe the “regular” Phantom isn’t the right car for every millionaire. That’s where the Rolls-Royce Ghost was introduced as a smaller, four-door offering with more spirited driving experience for a new generation of rich clientele. Since its introduction in 2009, Rolls-Royce has now revealed the second generation of the Ghost.
While it may look similar to the previous Ghost, barely any of it has been carried over to the new one. It is underpinned by the brand’s latest-generation aluminium spaceframe architecture as premiered on the latest Phantom and then the Cullinan. On the surface, Rolls-Royce wanted the new Ghost’s design to be limited and unobtrusive. So, the car’s outer shell is one, single, massive and seamless piece of metal starting from the A-pillar, over the roof and all the way towards the rear of the car. The design aimed to do away with unsightly shut lines and body seams for an uninterrupted appearance. To achieve this fantastic bit of metalwork, it necessitates four craftsmen hand-welding the body together simultaneously. The laser-welded doors are 100% aluminium which keeps them light and stiff too. The material’s lower acoustic impedance also improves the cabin ambience.
At the front, the new generation Ghost features an illuminated pantheon grille with a dual-tone finish to be a little less flashy. Those elegant headlamps house LED and laser headlights which claim more than 600m of illumination range. The Spirit Of Ecstacy now sits within the bonnet rather than being housed in a garish bit of chrome around the grille. Overall, Rolls-Royce smaller luxury sedan is bigger than before with an extra 89mm of length and wider by 30mm. The wider stance lends it even more road presence from the front, especially with the headlamps being a bit further apart. Around the rear, it continues its smooth and uninterrupted styling with elegant taillamps whose top ends converge towards the iconic “waft line” that spans the profile of the Ghost.
The performance duties of the new Rolls-Royce Ghost continue to be the responsibility of the 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 under its massive bonnet. This engine produces 563bhp and 850Nm, sending it to all four wheels, with all of the torque being available from just 1,600rpm. There’s no point in talking about the sportiness of the Ghost but as the numbers suggest, there is enough performance on offer to make this large luxury room-on-wheels to move briskly. However, we have heard that the 2.5-tonne luxury vehicle is capable of doing the 0 to 100kph sprint in under 5 seconds and onto a sufficient top-speed of 250kph.
As a true Rolls-Royce, it features the brand’s iconic Magic Carpet Ride suspension system in its newest avatar, redesigned to deliver something called the Planar Suspension System. The new Ghost actually has suspension on top of the front suspension assembly, called the Upper Wishbone Damper. Its suspension is meant to offer the smoothest and flattest ride possible and also uses RR’s Flagbearer system that works via cameras to read the road ahead and prepare the suspension for any undulations in the road surface. The transmission is satellite-based as well to ensure its always in the right gear for the road ahead. For improved manoeuvrability, the new Ghost also comes equipped with rear-wheel steering.
Onto the heart of every Rolls-Royce model – the cabin. Somehow, it’s even more luxurious than before with a premium leather upholstery and uses open-pore wood in the trim of the dashboard and doors. Then there’s the aesthetic use of high-finish metals for various controls. Its dashboard is the centre-piece of the new Ghost that features a large touchscreen infotainment system and a digital instrument cluster. The steering wheel is a nice round-shape with an old-school thickness to it. Rolls-Royce has kept this layout quite minimalistic with the central air vents, climate controls and a tall central console tunnel for the rotary drive selector and a few other handy controls. The passenger-side of the dashboard leaves room for a bespoke design element. For the new Ghost, RR has featured a new illuminated fascia inspired by the Starlight Headliner. This specially developed fascia is an illuminated Ghost nameplate surrounded by over 850 stars which can be also be arranged to include a specific constellation of the owner’s choosing. It uses 152 LEDs mounted above and beneath the fascia and over 90,000 laser-etched dots across the surface. To make sure this illuminated fascia is not at all visible when not operational, RR used three layers of composite materials – first is a piano-black substrate, overlaid with a layer of dark-tined lacquer and a final sealing layer of subtly tinted lacquer with a 0.5mm thick high-gloss finish.
The Ghost has suicide doors of course and like every cool Rolls-Royce, its rear doors can be closed at the press of a button from inside the cabin. For the new one, the doors are power-assisted for clients to open them as well. Simply keep the door handle pulled for the function to kick in and when you stop holding it, the door brake gets engaged. Once out of the car, push the button on the outside door handle for it to close automatically. Given the global pandemic of 2020, Rolls-Royce has also focussed on making the Ghost’s cabin safer at a microscopic level as well. So, it is equipped with a new Micro-Environment Purification System with highly sensitive impurity detection sensors to detect ambient air quality and automatically switching fresh air intakes to recirculation mode when needed. All the cabin air flows through a nanofleece filter that can remove nearly all ultra-fine particles from the cabin in less than two minutes.
Some more high-tech highlights of the new Ghost include vision assist, a four-camera system for all-round visibility, radar-based driver assists, self-parking, Wi-Fi hotspots and a high-res head-up display.
When it comes to the quietness of the cabin of the new Rolls-Royce Ghost, there are a few things to talk about. It achieves a sense of luxurious serenity through impressive engineering and more than 100kg of sound-deadening materials that have been applied in the doors, roof, inside the tyres, within the architecture and between the double-glazed windows. Only the sills don’t feature any sound dampening and instead are designed to act as sound chambers for an exquisite auditory experience. The acoustic specialists of the Goodwood-based marque tried to make an absolutely silent interior suite but turns out that can get quite disorienting. They solved it by creating a soft undertone that will be heard as a single note by tuning each component to resonate on a common frequency
Behind the middle of the back seats, there lies a wine fridge with two cooling settings depending on two broad types of wine and champagne. Each of the two rear occupants gets their own fold-out table and tablet which are also motorised in case that’s too much to pull-down or push back into place. There’s also 507-litre of boot space for plenty of plush suitcases and travel bags.
The new-gen Rolls-Royce Ghost is expected to go on sale towards the end of the year with a likely starting price of over £200,000. Like most Rolls-Royce vehicles, it’s hard for me to get excited about them because of just how far they are from my realm of reality. On paper and based on the pictures, I like the look of the new Ghost and can appreciate the ingenuity of its seamless exterior design, luxury interiors and ride engineering. What do you think of the second-generation Rolls-Royce Ghost? Share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to the Auto Loons for more cool updates from the car world.