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.