– Commanding presence
– Luxurious interior
– Comfortable ride
– Little bit expensive
– Intentionally soft controls
– Pretty darn long
Rolls-Royce, a name that has lived through a century, needs no detailed introduction. Boasting a glorious past that saw the brand becoming the undisputed “ultimate” in extravagance only a privileged few across the globe could afford, Rolls-Royce still remains the uber-luxury icon that the general public dreams of. We have lived our share of the dream by getting to test-drive various models from the luxury carmaker during quite a few occasions, including one in Europe. But when we were offered to take home the new 2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II, we clearly didn’t mind giving a Rolls-Royce one more go.
The Ghost is smaller than a Phantom, but ‘smaller’ is pretty much only a relative term here as the Ghost is a larger-than-fullsize sedan. The Series II features redesigned headlamps and front fascia, chrome inserts in the front air intakes and new alloy-wheel designs. The dual-tone paintjob, the trademark suicide rear-doors and the pop-up-down ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ bonnet ornament are all still there to make up the visual grandeur.
Enter the cabin and the experience only gets more indulgent. Starting from the leather headliner and padded door upholstery to the real wood trim all around the cabin, real metal vents, sofa-like beefy seats and the plush carpet floor, the finely-crafted interior intentionally exudes colossal amounts of premium vibe. The cabin is fairly spacious, though not as much as you’d think in out back, although rear passenger do get a couple of nifty tray-tables. The boot space is only about average, courtesy of the hidden machinery that supports the in-cabin luxury gadgetry. All four passengers get their own individual a/c controls too, with further separate temperature adjustments for the air to their face and the air to their legs. Expectedly, the interior is a very quiet place to be in, with external noise kept to a bare minimum. Even under hard throttle, the engine noise remains hushed.
Aimed at being the epitome of rolling luxury, Rolls-Royce cars can be infinitely customised inside and out to include numerous gadgets, various options for paintjobs, and the finest of materials for the upholstery. A few features that are available include a satellite navigation system, a 16-speaker premium audio system, massaging seats, a multitude of airbags, night-vision, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and a heads-up display, some of which are clearly derived from BMW 7-Series tech.
Powered by a massive 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 engine also sourced from BMW, it’s mated to a unique satellite-aided 8-speed automatic transmission that selects the right gear by using GPS to see turns are coming up. Truth be told, we have no idea whether the latter was working as advertised or not, as the gear-shifts are unnoticeable and the roads in Dubai aren’t particularly twisty, but we can confirm that it worked great in the mountain roads of Austria when we drove the closely-related Wraith there last year.
The Ghost falls in the league of a handful of luxury cars capable of doing the 0-100 kph dash in 5.5 seconds. Make no mistake though, as the Ghost is no hooligan of a car, with a smooth and linear build-up of speed, and intentionally-dampened responses to pedal inputs. There is no sport-mode or paddle-shifters, but only a simple electronic column-shifter that cries out loud Rolls-Royce’s message that the Ghost is no more than a high-speed luxury comfort cruiser. It doesn’t even offer a hint of wheelspin with the ESP on. It loves petrol though, as we were hitting 20 litres/100 km in mixed driving.
This is no car that should be thrown into a corner for the heck of it, although it does remain composed in long corners if abrupt movements are kept to a minimum, courtesy of the anti-roll stabilisation tech. The intentionally-floaty feeling is evident even while traversing over humps and uneven patches of highway, but the ride is generally silky smooth. The brakes are powerful enough to bring this rather heavyweight car to a halt without drama, but there is no feedback whatsoever from the mushy brake pedals, while the light steering is there just to turn the car, not to tingle your senses with sharpness or feel.
Technical merits and demerits aside, driving a Rolls-Royce Ghost is an inexplicably surreal experience, solely because of the majestic vibrance the car emanates. While the masses respect everything from Bentleys to BMWs to even Nissan Patrols mostly due to popular trends, the Rolls-Royce Ghost earns its respect with the legacy that goes well beyond the current generation. We do not tend to remember our experience with most of the cars we test for too long, but every moment that we spent in a Rolls-Royce is like a special event. We may not recommend this ultra-expensive car to anyone, even if they have the money, but cars like these aren’t exactly rational purchases.
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