► First Ghost in 11 years
► Features new, Post Opulence design ethos
► 6.75-litre, twin-turbo V12 behind the iconic grille
The new Rolls-Royce Ghost has arrived, a full 11 years after the first one made its debut at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show. Featuring only two carryover parts from the existing car – the badge and the umbrellas – the new Baby Rolls is the product of an intense, five-year feedback loop between Goodwood’s creative brains and its most influential customers. The result is a car that is both more of the same, but also less of the same.
Ghost buyers still wanted to drop over £200,000 on their new saloon, but they wanted their investment to be a little less obvious – and that led to Post Opulence; Goodwood’s new understated, design philosophy.
It’s why the new Rolls-Royce Ghost is both cleaner and more minimalistic than the car it replaces. Fussy lines and features have been rubbed out, and the car shares the same design cues seen in yachts – that other hobby of the super rich.
It still looks like a Ghost but zoom in and you’ll find additional details such as an illuminated grille – less tacky than it sounds – fewer shutlines, and a Spirit of Ecstasy that now sits in a chrome island above the grille.
Inside, there’s a noticeably modern feel, with quality materials now centre stage rather than intricate details. There’s still plenty of the latter, as evidenced by the sparkling headliner and twinkling glovebox panel – but it’s less cluttered.
This Ghost also gets all-digital dials with chrome surrounds, much like the Cullinan, while 100kg of sound proofing helps to push away the outside world.
What’s it like to drive?
The Ghost may look slightly more refined on the outside, and that slightly increase is mirrored in the driving experience; it’s an experience full of contradictions.
Four-wheel drive is present, as is four-wheel steering (5 degrees opposite to front lock under 40mph, and the same way over), and when combined with a punchy V12, this baby Rolls is more nimble and engaging than the last.
That, twin-turbo 6.75-litre V12 is a silent partner, though. Capable of 563bhp, it gets a retune on its way from the Cullinan, but still puts out prodigious torque; there’s 627lb ft under your right foot, just a few hundred revs away from tick over.
The twelve cylinders lend themselves to effortless cruising power and decent efficiency, and when paired with low gears and the four-wheel drive transmission, it’s possible to drag all 2.5 tonnes of Ghost out of junctions as fast as physics allows.
The ride is also improved over the last car, mainly thanks to Goodwood’s new Planar system. It consists of two parts; a couple of ‘flagbearer’ cameras that scan ahead and brace the suspension for the terrain, and a 3kg mass damper over every wishbone to soak up any extra energy transfer. The result is a filtered out feeling of the road, and although there’s still a sensation of grip, everything else is stripped away.
Adding to this strange sensation is the car’s light but sensitive steering. Goodwood engineers have made the Ghost’s Parthenon-like front-end far easier to place than you’d expect, and it changes the way you drive the car. Within minutes you find yourself cleaning up steering inputs to minimise weight-transfer, opting for smooth arcs and removing aggression on the brakes and throttle. You almost drive it like an EV.
Get into a groove and you’ll carefully manipulate the Ghost’s significant weight and power through its skinny steering wheel, and turn a B-road into a smooth rollercoaster. And at the bottom of those peaks and troughs, the Ghost handles compression better than before.
The new Ghost is better than the last car in every way, which wasn’t exactly awful – but at these rarefied levels of refinement the improvement can only be subtle – even after tens of millions of R&D pounds. Rolls-Royce has spent a lot of time, and money, fixing issues that its customers probably never noticed, and the sum of these solutions is an ever-so-slightly better, distilled version of the Ghost.