The superbly-crafted Ghost is the entry-level saloon from Rolls-Royce and is aimed, as the company points out, at owners who like to drive themselves. The range-leading Phantom is very much a car to be chauffer driven and is a fair bit larger than the Ghost in every dimension.


Even so, the Ghost isn’t a compact car by any stretch of the imagination but it looks quite trim when placed alongside a Phantom. Although the elegant, timeless, styling does pick up a lot of cues from the Phantom, it adds touches of its own and the end result is very praiseworthy indeed. When launched, the Ghost was an immediate success and is now the best-selling car in the 116-year History of Rolls-Royce. Recently, an extended model was introduced so owners can get some of the rear legroom Phantom owners enjoy.

Of course, the iconic Pantheon-inspired radiator grille distinguishes the car from anything else out there and is a prominent feature of the new car. Sited on the bonnet is the fabled Spirit of Ecstasy ornament, originally crafted in 1910 by sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes. To comply with pedestrian safety regulations and also for theft protection, the ornament glides quickly under a cover and out of sight at the slightest touch.


The Ghost carries on numerous traditions that have been refined by Rolls-Royce over many decades, but that doesn’t mean the car is steeped in the technology of yesteryear. In fact, the new Ghost is arguably the most technically advanced luxury car in the world and while still presenting a stately demeanour out on the road, it lacks nothing when it comes to advanced features.

Under the elegant bonnet sits a very advanced 6.8-litre (actually 6.75-litre) twin-turbo V-12 engine that delivers power via an 8-speed transmission with uncanny quietness and serenity. This is not one of those cars in which to enjoy all the mechanical noises from the powerplant because there simply aren’t any. The engine is sourced from BMW’s parent company, BMW Group and then worked on by the engineers at Rolls-Royce to extract further refinement. Interestingly, the Ghost has all-wheel drive so it’s simple enough to keep all that power on the road. Gear shifts are all but unnoticeable.


Other tech goodies include an all-new suspension system aimed at significantly enhancing agility in the corners. People who take their first drive in a Rolls-Royce are usually surprised by the car’s fast throttle response and predictable, safe, handling. This is the closest thing to a limo that you can drive like a sports car – and a quick sports car at that. As with all cars of advanced design, the Ghost incorporates all the current electronic safety benefits available. In fact, it bristles in high-tech benefits, some of which are just for fun. For example, among scores of personalized options, buyers can order a headliner featuring 850 stars to replicate the night sky. We’ve found this feature to be more appropriate on the bigger Phantom in which the owner usually sits in the back.

As might be expected in a Rolls-Royce, the cabin is a total delight with a plethora of superb materials and unmatched comfort. In a Rolls-Royce, you really are totally insulated from the outside world and whether driving or riding in one, it’s an entirely relaxing experience. To add to the enjoyment, an 18-speaker premium sound system can be added, though the standard unit will please even a fastidious audiophile.

Buying a Rolls-Royce is not simply acquiring a car; it’s an experience that will delight the owner for years to come. The majestic styling, the interior ambiance and a surprising level of performance all add up to make this car something very special indeed.

ENGINE: 6.8-litre V-12, 571-horsepower.

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic, all-wheel drive.

ACCELERATION: Zero to 100 km/h in 3.2-seconds.

TOP SPEED: 250 km/h.

I LIKED: Crisp styling, cleverly conceived to draw on themes from the past. Uncompromising quality and refinement. Surprisingly brisk acceleration and excellent handling, especially for a large and quite heavy car.

I DIDN’T LIKE: No complaints here, but when driving a Rolls-Royce, some unwelcome observers may resent your perceived status and wealth. Thankfully, most people love the car and make a point of saying so.

MARKET ALTERNATIVES: No serious competition for a car like this, though the Bentley Mulsanne approaches.

WHO DRIVES ONE? People who’ve always driven Rolls-Royces and want the latest. Buyers who have aspired to one all their lives and have finally acquired the means to become owners.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY: Available now from €289.170 (General European price, check with dealer for local price).


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