In the automotive world, the term ” luxury ” gets thrown around on a daily basis, and in most cases, without much accountability. A touch of leather here… a dash of comfort there… but there are very few cars that have “luxury” pulsing through their veins in quite the same fashion as a Rolls Royce. From the ground up, cars wearing the Spirit of Ecstacy (aka the flying lady) have long been designed with the passenger (or client) in mind, with no expenses spared in producing one of the plushest, quietest, and most comfortable rides on the market.
Historically, the traveller in the back has had their demands thoroughly attended to, but Rolls Royce has often neglected the emotional needs of the human behind the wheel. However, with the success of the Goodwood Ghost (the best selling RR to date) and the subsequent feedback from its owners, Rolls Royce has acknowledged that most of its customers also enjoyed driving their cars (we were surprised as you were). So, after years of luxurious blood, sweat, and tears, Rolls Royce has finally released its successor, the, well… NEW Ghost.
Right off the bat, any astute observer will notice how visually clean the new profile looks. Embracing what Roll Royce calls a “Post Opulence” design language, the new Ghost wears a minimalist skin masking a maximalist nervous system.
For the first time, the Spirit of Ecstasy is a motorised piece that emerges from the bonnet effortlessly but upon further inspection, requires some complex engineering to achieve such seamlessness. Similarly, the rear quarter panel looks elegantly minimal but needed four specialists to hand-weld the aluminium body simultaneously, guaranteeing a perfect union. The build quality and attention to detail throughout the exterior is nothing short of phenomenal.
Sure, describing a Rolls Royce as discrete may seem paradoxical, but you do get a genuine sense that the exterior of the new Ghost is form following function in a way that only pure indulgence can communicate. The stainless trim above the door, for example, isn’t a gutter, rather a raindrop width (yes, someone measured the average width of a raindrop) detail that prevents the passenger from getting wet when their electronic doors are opened. This type of minimal exterior / maximal problem solving is an interesting duality that pulsates through every detail of the 5.5-metre long body.
Swanning about the interior of the new Ghost Ghost, things start to feel a little more, well, Rolls Royce. The motorised doors open with a sense of grandeur, revealing one of the most luxurious interiors we have ever encountered. The champagne refrigerator… the heated umbrellas… the plush carpet… it would be ridiculous if it wasn’t so enjoyable.
It may be the only car that we were naturally drawn to the rear seats first. The whole cabin feels like a sanctuary of indulgence that massages your muscles, filters your air, quenches your thirst, and provides more entertainment at your fingertips than you’d ever need. Sure, the star-filled headlining can feel a little kitsch at times, and a little hyper-opulent at others, but you can’t fight the grins and giggles when you’re stretching your legs out in such an extraordinary environment.
Once the seatbelt is secured and the wheels start to turn, the whole experience is unchanged. If it wasn’t for the moving scenery out the window, we could have been convinced the new Ghost was still stationary. Rolls Royce went to a great deal of trouble eliminating unwanted noise from the cabin (so much so that they had to eventually let some more noise back in as it sounded too sterile), which not only feels calming on the mind, it also allows the audio system to sing, and the bespoke Rolls Royce sound system is something that has to be heard to be appreciated.
The ceiling and doors have been ported in such a way that they act as structural speakers, and the result is a sonic smorgasbord of high fidelity immersion. Controlling it all is a BMW-adapted infotainment system that is expensive on the touch, intuitive on the mind, and it rounds off our most pleasurable passenger experience in a motor vehicle. When we were prized away from out rear seat oasis, Rolls Royce encouraged us to head up front and play chauffeur for an hour or two.
From the high driving position, the spirit of ecstasy looked like she was in another postcode with that lengthy bonnet dominating our visual field. But as large as the 5.5-meter body looked, it drove like it was floating. This is due mostly to what Rolls Royce calls its ” Planar ” suspension, and is effectively a damper unit that works alongside the traditional wishbone, basically creating a shock absorber for the shock absorber.
While engineeringly complex, the resulting ride was as elegant and succulent as we’d ever encountered. Even when gliding the two and a half tonne luxury sled through the twisties, the all-wheel drive and steering worked harmoniously to produce a package far more agile than the numbers would suggest. It still isn’t a car that you ‘ push ‘ in the traditional sense, but with 6.75-litre, 420kW, twin-turbo V12 at your disposal, there certainly is a brutish satisfaction pulsing through an otherwise very polite driving experience.
As an overall package, the new Ghost is an incredibly impressive feat of engineering. Every single feature has been meticulously thought about with a level of detail that borderlines obsession and flirts with perfection. It’s luxury in the purest way possible, and although we could never honestly agree to its “Post Opulence” marketing, there is a subtle nod to humility in some of the design language. As a passenger experience, it’s a blissful as it gets. And while the driving dynamics are a little disconnected, there is genuine satisfaction to be had behind the wheel if you’re willing to explore.
Numerous lavish cars on the market do a good job at ticking the boxes, but the new Ghost re-writes the luxury checklist in a way that only Rolls Royce seems capable. This thing is a cloud. A beautifully made, hyper-luxurious, V-12 powered cloud. And while it’s tricks, decadence and grandeur may seem ridiculous to an outsider, those lucky another to experience the new Ghost will realise how surprisingly understandable it truly is.