The new Rolls-Royce Ghost is ready for the ‘post-opulent’ world of self-driving
Everyone’s going on about AI and self-driving cars. At Rolls-Royce, self-driving means something else entirely – it means there’s no chauffeur to do it for you. Imagine that? You have to do all the driving. Yourself!
Preposterous. That’s why normal people, that are rich, buy a Phantom and employ a man. The rest of us have to settle for a Ghost and operate a motor vehicle all on our own. Used to be, a Ghost was a very, very fancy BMW 7 Series. Rolls-Royce got sick of hearing that, so now the new Ghost features its own architecture related to the Phantom and Cullinan SUV instead of a mere BMW. It also has the world’s first planar suspension, all-wheel drive, electrically operated doors, an illuminated grille, and a twin-turbocharged 6.75-litre front-mid mounted V12 engine. On paper, then, it’s not crap.
It’s also not shy about it – the second-generation Ghost has grown by 89mm and it’s also 30mm wider than before. Even though it’s the small entry-level Rolls-Royce, it still dwarfs every other super-saloon out there. Thanks to the new all-aluminium structure it’s also now stiffer than ever, coupled to all-wheel steering and all-wheel drive to ensure the hallmark ‘Magic Carpet’ ride doesn’t compromise on comfort. Engineers even developed a new planar suspension design, the result of 10-years of testing, and threw in cameras to read the road and electronically adjust for any harsh surfaces.
Technologically it’s the most advanced Rolls-Royce ever too, as the new Ghost includes state-of-the-art air purification and climate control, laser lights that illuminate the road 600m ahead, active cruise control, self-parking, high-resolution head-up display, and loads more. Most importantly for Rolls-Royce customers, the cabin has been made even quieter with 100kg of sound damping material. In fact engineers ended up with an interior that was too eerily silent, and had to overcome this disorientating experience by actually introducing a sound into the cabin, or rather a soft ‘whisper’ so you don’t go insane. In any case, an 18-speaker audio system providing 1,300W of output offers a worthy alternative.
As for the design, the new Ghost is as distinct as any other Rolls-Royce, with a traditional, huge vertical grille featuring 20 LEDs illuminating the polished vanes. In the spirit of the ‘Post-Opulent’ design brief, which calls for a minimalist look free of any flash jewellery, even the backs of the vanes were brushed so as not to reflect too much light. Subtle is the name of the game here. Until you get to the price, which is anything but. It may be the entry-level model but a new Rolls-Royce Ghost will still cost you at least $330,000 before you get imaginative with the limitless options offered by Goodwood’s Bespoke department.