Carefully wrought changes make the Ghost an even better car than before

What is it?

Supposedly, this Rolls-Royce Ghost is the entry-level model in Rolls-Royce’s range, although that has to be a relative term here.

The Ghost has, if not transformed the fortunes of Rolls-Royce then at least helped it to more than treble its sales volumes, turning the Goodwood manufacturer into a maker of more than 3500 cars a year since it was introduced in 2010.

Yet an increasing number of customers have approached Rolls to say that they’d like what you could loosely term this base model, but want things a little more bespoke – a little more personalised. 

In that respect, Rolls operates above the normal environs of the motor industry. The way that it sells vehicles is the way that you sell any super-luxury product, more than the way that you traditionally sell a car.

What's it like?

Among the most notable things about this Series II Ghost is the number of ways in which customers can specify things they want. Trims, woods, options that go above and beyond the norm. This might be the easiest way into a Rolls-Royce, but it is still a Rolls-Royce. A large proportion of buyers visit the factory to spec their car when they order. 

Next most notable are some exterior design differences. The swage line along the side is a touch more dynamic, the indicator repeater has been raised and the front end has been reprofiled slightly, with more horizontal lines to accentuate breadth and beef. The LED headlights are a new shape, while the grille top and Spirit of Ecstasy mascot are higher, to be more visible from the cabin.

Elsewhere, changes are slight, which is unsurprising, because Rolls volumes are sufficiently small that it’s hard to justify a major re-engineering raft – especially given that this car’s development is in many ways tied to that of the BMW 7-series, whose architecture, you’ll recall, it shares. 

BMW and Rolls would rather you didn’t recall that too often, you understand. They go to great lengths to hide it, in fact – mostly successfully. Only a few button styles or trim pieces (the mirror in the sunvisor, for example) will the spotter pick out, plus some of the general layout, and the iDrive system, which still has its Rolls-Royce wallpaper. That’s fine. It’s a class-leading system.

Other interior changes amount to more supportive front seats and rear seats that angle passengers barely noticeably towards each other to make conversation easier. They’re still exceptionally comfortable, and it’s incredibly spacious back there.

Mechanical changes? Not many. The 6.6-litre bi-turbo V12 remains and retains its 563bhp output, and it is still mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Only the shift software is altered.

All Ghosts have revised rear axle bearings, said to reduce cabin intrusion while improving stability. Although it has been a long while since I drove a Series I Ghost, there was precious little that’s unimpressive about it. The ride stays flat and there’s admirable control of its body over undulations. 

There’s some ride intrusion over smaller bumps, but seldom does the Ghost feel less than a Rolls-Royce should. Ditto steering wheel kickback, which is still present, but slight. There’s a driver’s package if you mind it less still; we haven’t tried it, but the dampers are meant to keep slightly keener control of the body. 

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Should I buy one?

Yes, because these changes make the already lovely Ghost even better. There’s an extended-wheelbase version on offer too, which we found to be a little less satisfying than the standard car, especially with its relatively slower, and slightly heavier, steering. Again, though, it’s all relative.

Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II

Price £216,684; 0-60mph 4.8sec; Top speed 155mph (limited); Economy 20.2mpg (combined); CO2 327g/km; Kerb weight 2470kg; Engine V12, 6592cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power 563bhp at 5250rpm; Torque 575lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox 8-speed automatic

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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fadyady 23 September 2014

For the few

Sumptuous, luxurious, whisper quiet.
BigMitch 23 September 2014

Lovely car but the headlights

Lovely car but the headlights are waay too tiny and the alloys and nowhere near special enough for a car like this
catnip 22 September 2014

I think this is a very

I think this is a very handsome vehicle, but its such a shame that a car with the prestige and heritage of Rolls Royce should be fitted with.... privacy glass. And as for the lack of front fogs, I applaud any manufacturer that doesn't fit these unnecessary items, which, lets be honest, are only ever used illegally and to the annoyance of others.