This is the all-new Rolls-Royce Ghost in all its glory
Rolls-Royce on Tuesday finally unveiled its new second-generation Ghost. And the big news here is that this luxurious saloon is no longer built upon BMW underpinnings.
While the old Ghost was nothing more than a 7 Series in disguise, this all-new model adopts the same all-aluminium chassis already being used in the flagship Phantom and Cullinan SUV. The Ghost is now a "proper" Rolls-Royce and to traditionalists this matters a great deal.
Cabin refinement levels are said to be greatly improved upon too thanks to the addition of a new double-skinned floor and bulkhead. Rolls-Royce has also grafted in 100kg of sound-deadening material to help keep road and wind noise down to the absolute minimum.
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Other exciting new features include for the first time the addition of all-wheel steer and all-wheel drive. These systems deliver improved agility and composure across a range of surfaces and environments.
Rolls-Royce has also equipped the new Ghost with its proprietary "Planar" suspension system that ensures not only sharper handling but also a notably more compliant ride thanks specially tuned air springs and adaptive dampers.
Additional dampers have also been fitted to the upper suspension wishbones for an extra layer of both bump and noise suppression.
Complemented by the renowned Rolls-Royce "Flagbearer" system that uses cameras to read the road ahead and prepare the suspension accordingly, we expect the new second-generation Ghost to be one of the best-riding luxury saloons in the business and a worthy adversary to the Bentley Flying Spur.
Driving the new Ghost is 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine that makes 420kW and 850Nm worth of the torque - the latter of which is available from 1,600rpm. Power is sent to all four wheels (a first for a Rolls-Royce saloon) via an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission that just like the adaptive suspension system comes linked to a GPS. This allows the unit to adapt its shift programming to better suit approaching road conditions.
Want performance figures? Well, you're looking at a claimed 0-100km/h time of 4.8 seconds, and a governed top speed of 250km/h. Not bad for something that weighs in at 2,490kg.
The interior has also been given a thorough working over and is now the epitome of understated elegance. Refreshingly free of unnecessary clutter the switchgear count of both the dashboard and centre console has been burnt down to the bare minimum. You'll also notice a large touchscreen infotainment system plus an intuitive and easy-to-read digital instrument cluster.
Some of the bespoke cabin features include beautiful open-pore wood veneers and the utterly hypnotic "Illuminated Fascia" that subtly echoes the Starlight Headliner that received much praise in the first-generation Ghost.
Developed over the course of two years and more than 10,000 collective hours, this remarkable piece brings a glowing Ghost nameplate, surrounded by more than 850 stars, into the interior suite of the motor car. Located on the passenger side of the dashboard, the constellation and wordmark are invisible when the interior lights are not in operation.
As is the case with the interior, the exterior of the new Ghost subscribes to the same "less is more" ethos with no gaudy detailing to speak of. Indeed, the aim of the Rolls-Royce designers was to "reduce" as must as possible and stay true to the brand's "post-opulence" design strategy.
However, having said this, the new Ghost does sport an illuminated "Pantheon" grille. Twenty LEDs mounted underneath the top of the radiator grille illuminate the brushed metal grille bars to impart a soft glow when the sun sinks below the horizon. Although some might think this in poor taste, we think that it works surprisingly well.
The new second-generation Rolls-Royce Ghost will go on sale in 2021 and is predicted to wear a price tag of over $300,000 (roughly R5m).