Drive the Rolls-Royce Ghost on the roads of mainland Europe or California and you might never twig the flaw in its chassis. On smooth surfaces it glides in the finest traditions of its marque. Even over undulations, the electronically controlled, air-sprung suspension – so sensitive that it can detect a rear-seat passenger swapping sides – maintains its ride height with admirable authority for one so inherently softly sprung.
But on the lumpy, bumpy, broken and degraded back roads of the UK, the story is somewhat different. Here, secondary isolation is less good than expected, a fault felt partly through a slight agitation in the seat but mainly via a high level of kickback through the wheel. The cause is not known, although if we were looking for a culprit we’d probably first point the finger at the very stiff sidewalls mandated by its run-flat tyres.
The suspension follows conventional thinking for such cars, with a double wishbone front end to allow optimal steering precision and a multi-link back axle to provide for both stable location and fine tuning. In handling terms, the Ghost manages its bulk well; the brakes are very strong and grip levels are more than enough for the car’s performance.
Rolls-Royce says this is the most driver-orientated car it has yet made, but it’s still some miles from feeling sporting, for which we can only be grateful. Our only concern here is the rather light steering, which feels slack around the straight-ahead in a very Germanic way before responding quite sharply off centre, making the car a little more difficult to place with grace than is necessary.