Also known as the so-called Baby Rolls, the Ghost, despite being roughly 16 inches shorter than the flagship Phantom, is no featherweight. At 5445 pounds, it is some 700 pounds heavier than the new V-12-powered BMW 760Li and yet just 0.2 second slower to 60 than the slimmer, lighter Bavarian. At 212.6 inches long, the Ghost is seven inches longer than the 7 Series and nearly two inches wider and taller.
Providing the Ghost's motivation is a direct-injected, twin-turbocharged, 6.6-liter V-12 that is not sourced from BMW, which owns Rolls, despite similarities to the parent company's own 12-cylinder mill. The Ghost is being billed as the most powerful Roller ever produced, and with 563 horses on tap and 575 pound-feet of torque available from just 1500 rpm, we're not arguing with that assessment. Rolls says the Ghost will sprint to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds and run the quarter mile in an impressive 13.2 seconds with the help of a ZF-derived eight-speed automatic gearbox, which Rolls says will also help the car achieve up to 21 mpg on the highway.
Keeping the Baby Rolls in check are massive 16.1-inch brakes in front and 15.8-inch brakes out back, as well as a host of electronic helpers. Included on the spec sheet are Anti-Roll Stabilization, Dynamic Brake Control, Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control, Cornering Brake Control Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Active Brake Intervention and Curve Speed Limiter. The last four items on the list work together to precisely maintain vehicle speed and stability while the cruise control is activated, going so far as to automatically brake on hills, stop and start with traffic, and reduce speed in corners, all without intervention from the driver.
The driver, of course, likely will never feel any of these systems at work, nor will the folks in the back seats, thanks to Rolls-Royce's advanced air suspension, which adjusts itself every 2.5 milliseconds and can cancel out weight shifts as minimal as a passenger moving around in the cabin. A double-wishbone suspension up front and a multilink setup in back keep the steel monocoque chassis planted in chauffer and sporting driving situations alike. If the driver still manages to get into trouble, the Advanced Crash and Safety Management system checks its sensors 2000 times a second to precisely deploy airbags, seatbelt tensioners, and other safety devices in a crash.
Rolls-Royce's attention to safety and stability go hand in hand with the Ghost's core mission: to provide a sportier and more involving experience from behind the wheel. Responding to pleas from customers looking for a more engaging drive, Rolls says it has tailored the Ghost to the driver.
In the cockpit, the driver's seat has been elevated slightly for a clearer, more commanding view of the road -- a view augmented by a heads-up display. Voice recognition software allows the driver to keep both hands on the wheel while calling up most vehicle functions, and cameras mounted all the way around the vehicle make sure they never curb a wheel. The optional night vision camera with pedestrian recognition software will scan the road ahead and display warnings on the hideaway navigation screen. Adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, and lane-departure warnings round out the suite of driver's aides.
While the Ghost may be much more of a driver's car than the limo-like Phantom, it hasn't forgotten that it's a Rolls-Royce. Inside the luxuriously appointed cabin, the Ghost has borrowed more than a few pages from the Phantom's playbook. Up front, the dash is restyled with the gauges set more deeply into the dashboard, but the Phantom's classic layout remains. Like the Phantom, the Ghost features a navigation screen hidden behind a wood veneer until needed and operated via a rotary control knob in the center console with dedicated buttons for certain functions.
It isn't just the front seats where the Ghost emulates the Phantom, either. Despite being nearly a foot and a half shorter than the Phantom, the Ghost is nearly the same size inside and borrows its big brother's rear-hinged rear doors, which open to 83 degrees and can be closed with the push of a button from the inside. As with the Phantom, umbrellas can be found stashed in the front doors for rainy days.
Being a Rolls-Royce, comfort is of course still a major priority. Four-zone climate control allows every passenger to set his own temperature thanks to controls in the front and rear of the car. A special solar compensation program adjusts the climate controls as needed to counter the effects of direct sunlight from the optional Panorama Sunroof. Automatic air recirculation keeps the interior from getting stuffy while condensation prevention keeps the windows from steaming up
As with the Phantom, Rolls realizes that many of its customers will prefer to ride in the back and it hasn't forgotten them. Rear seats can be had as a three-passenger bench or with two individual lounge seats, all set behind the large C-pillar for privacy. Opt to leave the fifth passenger behind and the Ghost features rear seats angled slightly toward each other for easier conversation and built-in massagers and cooling systems for maximum comfort. The rear seats are also elevated slightly for better views out the front while deep-pile carpets and optional Lambswool floormats invite passengers to kick off their shoes and enjoy the scenery.
Comfort isn't Rolls' only specialty, either. The company also excels in accoutrements and the Ghost delivers here as well. Fold-down tables are integrated into the backs of the front seats, as are 9.2-inch monitors, should you choose the optional Theater Configuration. Each screen can be adjusted from a control knob between the seats for perfect viewing angle and can be controlled independently of the other. Through the screens, the passengers can access all vehicle systems that don't affect the driver or watch a movie from the six-disc DVD changer mounted in the glovebox. Sound can be routed to headphones or through the standard 600-watt, 16-speaker stereo. The sound system includes two subwoofers, a 12.5-gigabyte hard drive for storing music and videos, a CD player, and USB and auxiliary jacks. Refreshments during the movie can be enjoyed thanks to an optional cool box mounted between the seats with its own champagne glasses.
As is standard operating procedure at Rolls-Royce, a number of interior and exterior colors will be available, allowing each owner to customize their Ghost to his specific tastes. Twelve exterior colors are available and can be matched with an optional Silver Satin finish on the hood, like the 200EX concept car. Whatever color you choose, the paint will be hand-polished for five hours by a Rolls Royce craftsman before it's delivered to you.
Inside, eight different leather colors are available for the minimum of eight hides needed to cover everything. The hides are selected from only the best bulls raised in farms without barbed wire for minimal defects and damage to the hides. Each car is fitted with hides from the same dying batch for perfect color consistency. Likewise, the wood veneers used in the Ghost all come from one tree and can be had in five different colors.
Rolls still isn't talking price, though it will likely be announced at the Ghost's debut at the 2009 Frankfurt show. Indications are that it will be priced below the Phantom in keeping with its smaller size and fall somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000 -- right in line with the new Bentley Mulsanne.
|2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost|
2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost
2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost
2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost