Bar a few Rolls-Royce badges and a Spirit of Ecstasy on the bonnet, this is Rolls-Royce's new Ghost limo completely undisguised. Spotted in Germany, albeit on a British plate, it's the first time the new 'baby' Rolls has been spotted in production-ready form.
When will we see the new Rolls-Royce Ghost officially?
At the Frankfurt motor show in September 2009, where Rolls will unveil a car that is essentially unchanged from the 200EX concept car – the only differences we can spot being the optional brushed aluminium bonnet and A-pillars on this test car. The rear-hinged suicide back doors still feature, and the overall look is of a (slightly) smaller, softer and more rounded Phantom.
What else do we know about the Rolls Royce Ghost?
Beneath that long bonnet lies a turbocahrged 6.6-litre V12 engine. And if you think a turbo V12 sounds poweful then you're right: Rolls claims 'upwards of 500bhp', but we already know the smaller 6.0-litre turbo variant of the engine in the new BMW 760iL produces 536bhp and 553lb ft. Expect a sub-5.0 second 0-62mph sprint for the Ghost, and at least 20mpg thanks to a more efficient eight-speed ZF gearbox that'll rack up the ratios and surf the plentiful torque.
Rolls has also just announced details of the Ghost's suspension system. At the front and rear are aluminium multi-link axles, linked to the company's Active Roll Stabilisation, air springs and Variable Damping Control. Rolls-Royce claims the air suspension is so sensitive it can compensate for 'the movement of a single rear passenger from one side of the seat to the other', with the dampers adjusting every 2.5 milliseconds. The Ghost can also raise or lower itself by 25mm, to aid entry and exit, or to let the more carefree owner off-road 'over uneven ground'.
Any comparisons to be made between the Rolls Ghost and the supernatural?
Only that they'll both shock you. The new baby Rolls is expected to cost around £180,000.
>> Click 'Add your comment' below and let us know what you think of the new Rolls-Royce Ghost. Is it worth £80k more than a top-spec BMW 7-series?