From £200,958
The 'baby' Rolls is every bit as smooth, refined and comfortable as its larger Phantom sibling

Our Verdict

Rolls-Royce Ghost
The Ghost’s steel monocoque is related to that of the BMW 7-series

The Rolls-Royce Ghost looks every inch a gorgeous, forward-thinking Rolls. But can it be as good as it looks?

8 December 2009

What is it?

We’re talking here about the new, slightly smaller stablemate for the mighty Rolls-Royce Phantom – the Ghost

This is a car that Rolls CEO Tom Purvis confidently claims will take the Rolls marque back to the prominence of its greatest days. The company was always strongest, says Purvis, when it had two distinct model lines.

This new all-steel model, more conventionally engineered than the flagship and 44cm shorter — but faster, more powerful and more agile — will sell for just under £200,000, roughly £80,000 less than the flagship.

Initially, Rolls lovers feared that the new Ghost might be a thinly disguised BMW 7-series, without enough separate engineering or styling to back its huge brand image. Nobody at BMW bothers to disguise the fact that some components (aircon, electronic parts, some brake and suspension bits) are shared with the new 7-series, but so much about the car is unique (platform, all major dimensions, styling inside and out, all important suspension specifications) that there can be no question this is no rebadged 7-series.

What’s it like?

Hard to think of a 5.4 metre, 2.4 tonne saloon as sporty, yet that’s how the Ghost feels. Its 6.6-litre, twin-turbo V12 produces 563 bhp at 5250 rpm, and 575 lb ft of torque from an ultra-low 1500 rpm. Both outputs are around 25 percent ahead of those for the Phantom, which is also around 200 kilograms heavier.

The result is some stunning Ghost acceleration times, including a Porsche-busting 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds. Top speed is governed at 155 mph, a speed the car can attain with remarkable ease. Even so, the new twin-turbo engine is BMW’s most efficient V12 yet, with fuel economy and CO2 outputs once scored by smallish V8s.

Floor the throttle at 100 mph, and the car surges forward like an Italian supercar struck by lightning — except that there’s almost no noise. Luckily, the air suspension delivers the stability, cornering grip and steering authority such a potent car needs.

Once you’re used to the car’s size, you can chuck it about with abandon, provided you’re accurate with the steering: this car doesn’t have quite the Phantom’s proportions, but it’s big. You can be reassured, though, that the superb brakes can wash speed away apparently without effort.

The big story is the refinement and ride comfort. Over bumps you know are evil the car is supple and almost silent. It refuses to pitch under almost any circumstances, or to float over bumps.

It has one of the finest, best developed (and admittedly most expensive) suspensions ever put under a car, far more Rolls-Royce than 7-series. No-one has yet done a back-to-back “comfort test” between Ghost and Phantom, but I’d say it’s by no means a certainty that the bigger car would win.

Interior equipment is comprehensive and assembled with surgical quality, but re-thought for simplicity of operation. Example: occupants don’t choose cabin temperature by number. They merely have access to two control-wheels governing upper and lower temperature where they sit: left for cooler, right for hotter. Every switch or control, though designed for a delicious, mechanical feel, has the same simplicity of operation.

Should I buy one?

If you’re in the income bracket, don’t hesitate.

From what we’ve seen, the Ghost is better-looking than the forthcoming Bentley Mulsanne, and this first drive confirms that it not only rivals its larger sibling, the Phantom, for driver involvement — which was expected — but also for refinement and feeling of well-being, both so important to Rolls buyers.

For some devotees there will only be one solution to the Phantom-vs-Ghost conundrum: have one of each.

Join the debate

Comments
19

8 December 2009

This looks fabulous - so much better than the new Bentley - and is well worthy of the RR marque from what one can see here and who would want more performance from this time of car, never mind finding somewhere to use it safely. A great effort that will be interesting to see in the metal on the road.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

8 December 2009

Now where is that rainbow, so I can get that pot of gold?

O dear cash4gold has got it all!!!

Very nice piece of craftsmanship gentlemen...

8 December 2009

How much!? Do you know how many Kia Picantos you can get for this sort of money?

Why is there a robot face baring his toothy grin on the centre of the dash?

Ok, it's actually pretty damn nice.

Is the scrappage allowance still available?

Where has all Japanese design went to?

8 December 2009

If I had so much money that I could blow £200k on a single car this would be the one I'd buy. Forget uncomfortable supercars - look at those seats! I can't even imagine what the ride is like as most cars today are so firmly sprung....

It looks good, the inside looks Rolls Royce, but modernised. My only concern would be this word having cropped up "sporty". Please just say it provides "ample acceleration" and "won't fall off the road" as anything else is brash and worrying (If I wanted my Rolls Royce to be sporty it'd have 26" chromed alloys and a "banging" stereo)

8 December 2009

A very elegant looking car, manages to loose the bulk of its bigger brother very successfully, good work BMW.

8 December 2009

I know in a different thread the other day I was saying i thought Rolls Royce were vulgar, but this a far better effort. It is still ludicrously ostentatious, (especially in todays economy), but it is far more tasteful than any modern Rolls I can recall. The interior looks particularly fantastic. I don't think I would want to be seen in one still though, not unless I lived in Dubai where it would look like just another avensis etc.

Regarding the heat controls, was this not how most car heaters worked until the mid-nineties, i.e. clockwise for hot, counter-clockwise for cool air. Not really revolutionary design for simplicity!

8 December 2009

Very chic !

8 December 2009

Has any one else noticed a recent move to what I would call oversized wing mirrors in latest generations of mainstream cars, I'm thinking new Golf, Octavia, A4?

Relevance to this article...well the only awkward part of the new Rolls styling in my opinion are the wing mirrors! They could be from a pick up truck!!

Super car and a great Rolls

9 December 2009

Much better-looking than the Phantom. (agree the mirrors are clumsy).

9 December 2009

Looks like RR has hit the bulls-eye with the Ghost. Utterly desirable.

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