Rolls Royce Ghost: the Goodwood-built Ghost saloon.
Updated: Sep 4, 2020
Rolls-Royce the epitome of luxury is back with all New Rolls Royce Ghost. When Rolls-Royce says 'All-New' they mean it. The new model ditches the BMW F01 2008 7 Series-derived underpinnings of the original car in favor of the latest flexible aluminium spaceframe.
Yes, the changes are slow in Rolls-Royce as prefer to maintain the hereditary of their company. But I assure you they do happen with every generation update. The similarities between the new Ghost sedan and its predecessor are immediately obvious. Only two components are carried over directly between the generations: the Spirit of Ecstasy badge and the umbrellas that are hidden within the rear doors.
The new Ghost has followed both Phantom and Cullinan onto Rolls-Royce's modular Architecture of Luxury platform, which is claimed to be lighter and stronger and to give much more dimensional freedom. The new car's overall length has grown by 3.5 inches to 218.3 inches, and its width has increased by 1.2 inches to 77.9 inches, although the 129.7-inch wheelbase is identical. Rolls-Royce claims torsional stiffness has increased and that the lower acoustic impedance of aluminium has helped to improve cabin refinement.
The new Ghost’s imminent arrival has already been used by Roll-Royce to introduce the concept of 'post-opulence', a quality of design simplicity and purity the company’s researchers say appeals to customers who will make day-to-day use of the car, sometimes by using a chauffeur and sometimes driving it themselves. According to Rolls designer Henry Cloke, who first articulated the post-opulence idea, the flexibility of the new spaceframe allows the Ghost its impressively short front overhang (which improves handling by allowing the engine’s weight to be carried entirely inside the wheelbase) and adds about 30mm of body width while maintaining an uncomplicated body side design.
The car’s styling extends the themes of the previous model. The grille now has a one-piece surround and the retractable Spirit of Ecstasy now emerges neatly from a simple aperture in the bonnet, not the grille surround, creating a whole new demand for precision engineering. New LED and laser adaptive headlights have a simple but technical design, while the body side’s main feature is a single elegant line, beginning at a vertical front crease then sweeping through the car from the front wings to the extreme rear. The panel detail is a gentler ‘waft line’, borrowed from yacht design, towards the bottom of the front and rear doors well they now are power-operated for both opening and closing. Luxury to the finest.
Panel joints have been eliminated as much as possible all over the car to give the impression that each body side is one panel altogether. The Ghost’s rear overhang is now longer in proportion to the front, an elegant Rolls tradition already present on the Phantom.
The new Ghost keeps the rear-hinged "coach" doors at the back since the seventh-generation Phantom. The doors house in umbrella holders which auto dry the umbrella thanks to the built-in fan and heater. The other unaltered feature is the continued presence of a V-12; Rolls-Royce hasn't fallen victim to downsizing yet. The twin-turbo 6.8-liter engine produces the same 563 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque it makes in the Cullinan, with the torque peak available from just 1600 rpm. Power reaches the road through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and—a first for a Rolls sedan—an all-wheel-drive system. While lighter than the Cullinan or Phantom, the Ghost is still a substantial automobile, with a 5628-pound curb weight, according to the company. We're also told it can dispatch the zero-to-60-mph dash in 4.6 seconds and will have a top speed limited to 155 mph.
The suspension is ostensibly a conventional self-leveling, all-independent system of double wishbones at the front and five links per side at the rear, but the Ghost introduces a brand new ‘Planar’ system (named after a geometrically perfectly flat plane) that combines three co-operating mechanical and electronic elements to improve comfort. Engineering on point.
With so much engineering the company is keener to talk about the Ghost's refinement, which should get close to the silence of the Phantom. For soundproofing, the Ghost uses more than 220 pounds of acoustic damping, plus double glazing and felt insulation within the twin-section floor and bulkhead. Panels have also been designed with shapes rather than flat, resonant surfaces to reduce noise transmission. While most automakers try to give the 12-cylinder engine a distinctive voice, well it's not the case here, the engineers have worked hard to minimize the engine's soundtrack with an air intake system "incorporating larger porting to reduce engine presence in the interior." It even has ports in the rear parcel shelf to disperse resonant sound waves that build up within the 18.0-cubic-foot trunk at cruising speeds.
To further reduce noise, Rolls-Royce’s engineers have assessed and tuned every component, including the seat frames, to a specific resonant frequency they call ‘the whisper’ – a subtle undertone that occupants experience as a single note. Apparently dead silence, where it is technically achievable, would be disorientating and weirdly uncomfortable.
Naturally, the new model has all the latest electronic parking, visibility and driver-assist features, the Bespoke audio system in the car includes a powerful amplifier that controls 18 channels (one for each speaker), providing a 1300W output. Two active microphones juggle audio frequencies, dulling those that intrude and enhancing those that need a boost. The interior decor continues the car’s minimalist exterior design themes, but materials and execution are of the highest quality; 20 leather half-hides cover each cabin and there are 338 trim panels whose quality must closely match one another. An optional ‘starlight’ headliner carries hidden integral exciter speakers that can, in effect, turn the whole headlining into a speaker. Oh! I think I forgot to mention of the 'Starlight' roof which is 1,340 optical fibers handstitched into the roofline to give the night sky like appearance along with shooting stars time-to-time while chauffeured around. *cough* Sunroof is lame.
The dashboard features a ‘Ghost’ script ahead of the passenger that lights when the door opens but which is otherwise completely invisible. Rather than scattering “complex, busy” stitching everywhere, The designers have opted for long and perfectly straight lines. This car screams luxury everywhere.
Well in the event of a pandemic like we are in go get a Rolls Royce as Cabin air is also filtered through what is described as a Micro-Environment Purification System to remove the contaminants that the real world is so sadly afflicted by, all this means you are safer in your Rolls-Royce than you are in your house. In another brand trademark, the Ghost still uses rotary mechanical hot/cold selectors instead of newfangled digital temperature displays. A closer look at the traditional-looking instrument dials suggests they are actually individual TFT screens.
The pricing although Rolls-Royce hasn't disclosed yet, rest assured it will not come cheap. Well, the only thing that rivals the Ghost will be the Bentley Flying Spur.