Rolls-Royce Ghost (2009): the actual production one

Published: 06 September 2009

Rolls-Royce calls it the RR4, it'll be called the Ghost in showrooms and we were calling it the baby Roller. That nonsense will have to stop now we've seen the final production version of the new Rolls Ghost, due to be unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show. It's vast! These first official pictures and details have been released, giving the full story behind the new smaller Rolls-Royce, designed to slot underneath the epic Phantom.

It sure looks like a Phantom!

Yes, quite deliberately, we suspect. Rolls wasn't about to throw away its distinctive style overnight, so the new Ghost is very much a shrunken Phantom (it's 400mm shorter, but with comparable space inside, says Rolls). There's the long bonnet, the perpendicular nose, the shrouding C-pillars to afford rear-seat passengers (should that read dignatories?) privacy. And, of course, those suicide, sorry, 'coach' doors, which open to 83 degrees and close automatically at the push of a button.

Get up close to the Ghost and you'll spot some lovely details. The wheel centres right themselves to the RR logo is always upright, like on the Phantom, and there's a contrasting silver satin finish available for the bonnet, grille and windscreen surround. First UK sales kick off in autumn 2009, priced around £190,000.

Inside the Rolls-Royce Ghost

To step inside the Ghost is to enter a temple to indulgence. The photos give you a sense of the layout, but you're left wondering at how they cram so much luxury, so much clubbiness into a mere car cabin. The dials are cool and frosted, the carpets deep of shag and Welsh lamb of origin. There's a panoramic glass sunroof option and buyers can choose between four individual seats or a rear bench option.

It's not all about pampering, though. Rolls reckons the Ghost will appeal to a younger demographic. So there's a 600-watt stereo, a 13GB hard drive, head-up display and night vision. Just watch out, because this Rolls has the Goodwood equivalent of iDrive, which could befuddle minor aristos.

What drives the Rolls-Royce Ghost

No, we haven't driven it yet. But we've learned all the engineering spec of the Ghost. It's based around a steel monocoque with steel and aluminium body panels, weighing in at a hefty 2.4 tonnes because of all those gizmos and luxury items.

Each corner is suspended by air, articulated by double wishbones up front and a rear multi-link axle. Electronics compute load calculations every 2.5 milliseconds, and Rolls says it can detect if a passenger moves from one side to the other and compensate accordingly. It can also raise or lower the car by an inch to help getting in and out (although we question the usefulness of 25mm adjustment).

Providing the Rollsy thrust is the BMW group's latest 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12. It's directly injected and produces 563bhp and 575lb ft. Which explains why acceleration is very un-limolike, with 0-60mph flashing up in 4.7sec. It's also an early view of BMW's eight-speed ZF auto, whose lofty legs help contain CO2 damage to 317g/km and 20.8mpg.

But is it a Rolls or a posh 7-series?

C'mon, just look at it! The two model lines share only the vagaries of the electronics department, with substantially different engineering elsewhere. Each Ghost takes 20 days to build, worked on by 60 artisans at the Goodwood factory. We're firmly in the love-the-Phantom camp and, although most CAR staffers reckon the Ghost looks too like its bigger brother, there's little doubting the impact of Rolls' newcomer. We can't wait to drive it this winter...

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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