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Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

We struggle to be concerned by how fast the Rolls-Royce Ghost is. Yes it’s good pub-grade trivia to know that this mobile mansion is as quick to 60mph as an Aston Martin Rapide and barely a blink slower to 100mph than an Audi R8, but this is a Rolls, for goodness’ sake, and if ever a car was about the quality rather than the quantity of its performance, this is it.

In this regard, the news is broadly good. The engine is as smooth and cultured as its specification suggests, and thanks to its low-boost, high-compression configuration it is effectively devoid of lag. The bulging torque curve means that even if you only ever used half of the available revs, the Ghost’s performance would remain highly impressive almost all of the time.

There is a question mark over the way the gearbox software has been mapped

There is, however, a question mark over the way the gearbox software has been mapped to match the torque characteristics of this engine. In other cars, it has been rightly praised for its ability not only always to be in the right gear but also to allow the engine to do the work, rather than shuffling restlessly through its multitude of gears in search of a theoretically optimum ratio. And some of the time the Ghost does exactly that, allowing the car to ride its low-end torque, surging smoothly and seamlessly in a manner entirely befitting a Rolls.

But at other times it feels the need to take on a share of the burden itself and, particularly at low speeds, needlessly drop a gear or two. In anything other than a Rolls-Royce, this would perhaps be little more than a footnote, but in this regard, at least, the Ghost does not quite live up to the promise made by that Flying Lady on its prow.

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