Rolls-Royce Ghost


It’s sounds almost rude, I know, but I turned downed my first opportunity to drive the new Rolls-Royce Ghost. I postponed my second opportunity too. It was very much a conscious thing on my part, and fortunately, Emma, Roll-Royce’s very nice PR fully understood my quandary. You see, Rolls-Royce offered me not one, but two long weekends in their new Ghost right in the middle of a lockdown. Or was it two lockdowns? And if ever there was something that’s sure to shout non-essential journey, - especially-so out here in The Far Unlit Unknown - surely it’s a brand new Rolls. Frankly, I didn’t want or need the inevitable attention that driving such a car brings.

   The, latest Ghost, replaces the most successful product in the 116-year history of Rolls-Royce and, say the now Goodwood based maker of motor cars, “reflects the company’s ‘Post Opulent’ design philosophy”. Hmm, in Midnight Sapphire blue paint so thick, and with a polished finish so deep it looks as if you could dive into it, the Ghost, at over five and half metres long and sitting on 21 inch wheels, still appears pretty opulent from where I’ve been sitting.

    Apparently, only the Spirit of Ecstasy and the umbrellas in the doors have been carried over from the previous Ghost, everything else has been crafted and engineered from the ground up. Good to see Sir Henry Royce’s timeless edict to ‘Take the best that exists and make it better’ is still being adhered to.

    Quite what Mr Royce or Mr Rolls would have said about the Ghost’s now German engineering (Rolls-Royce is BMW owned) is anyone’s guess, nevertheless there are more than just hints of Munich to be found should you wish to find them. The body isn’t made in Sussex, merely fettled and fitted out there; the infotainment system is definitely BMW’s I-Drive (is that the same screen as in a Mini Cooper?), and the effortlessly powerful 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 engine, all-wheel drive, and all-wheel steering system probably owe more to Bavaria than they do to Bracklesham Bay.

    However, underpinnings aside, once aboard you couldn’t be in anything but a Rolls-Royce. The lambswool mats are so thick you could shear them, the trademark thin-rimmed steering wheel and polished organ-stop air vent controls move so smoothly it’s as if they’ve been oiled the very second before you move them, and there’s barely a murmur from beneath that oh-so-long bonnet when you press the starter. 

     And the ride…

   It’s the redesigned Planar suspension system that provides the marque’s fabled ‘magic carpet’ ride. It works in tandem with the Flagbearer system, which uses cameras to read the surface ahead so that the Ghost can anticipate and react to even the most demanding roads. Not only that, the driving experience is further enhanced by the Satellite Aided Transmission, which uses GPS data to pre-select the optimum gear from the 8-speed gearbox for the corner ahead. 

    It’s not always right, a Shropshire B-road can catch even the most sophisticated of suspension systems unawares, but once the tarmac becomes less lunar landscape in its appearance, there’s really no reason at all why rear seat passengers should ever spill their Bollinger. (Yes, there was a fridge, cut glass tumblers, decanter, and champagne flutes in “my Ghost”. Telly and internet too). You glide in a Ghost, detached from the all the hubbub and hassles of the real world.

    There is a cost for such isolation, and not just a material one. Yes, your Ghost can be tailored to suit your every whim, and as long as you’ve deep enough pockets, Rolls-Royce, so long as your tastes don’t devalue the brand (don’t ask for a flames-up-the-side paint-job), will ensure it gets done. If that’s your thing you’ll be in heaven.

    However, if you like what you drive to entertain, to make you feel part of the driving experience, to involve you, the Ghost, despite being aimed squarely at younger owner-driver clientele, might leave you lacking. A Bentley Flying Spur can be yours for nearly £100k less, and as driver’s car, it is simply in a different league.

    I suppose if you’re in the market for a brand-new Rolls-Royce you can no-doubt afford the Bentley too.

     If it were my money, I’d buy the Flying Spur (and probably something even sportier with the change). To each their own, as the saying goes. Still, a certain section of high society will think you’ve only turned-up if you buy the Bentley, purchase the Ghost instead and they’ll realise you’ve definitely arrived.



Rolls-Royce Ghost

Engine: 6,592cc, 12Cyl, 48V twin-turbo Petrol

Transmission: 8-speed satellite guided auto. Rear Wheel Drive

Power: 563 bhp @ 5000 rpm

Torque: 627 lbft @ 1600 - 4250 rpm

0-62 mph: 4.8 sec

Max Speed: 155 mph (electronically limited)

MPG: 18 – 18.8 combined.

CO2: 347 - 358 g/km

VED Band: M

Price: £298.625 (exc. Local taxes)


Many thanks to Emma, and Alan, at Rolls-Royce for the loan of the Ghost EWB  



Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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