20 September 2017


Rolls-Royce Ghost road test report

Rolls-Royce Ghost

When BMW bought the rights to the Rolls-Royce name in 2003, the announcement was greeted with a great deal of scepticism. Many critics muttered about how future cars bearing the famous Spirit of Ecstasy symbol would lose the luxury marque’s character and just be big Beemers. The first fruit of the deal, the super-luxurious Phantom (including its Coupe and Drophead Coupe variants) has proven that the naysayers were undoubtedly wrong. The huge worldwide sales success has now meant that Rolls-Royce is in the perfect position to expand its range to a second model, the slightly smaller, slightly sportier Ghost.

Road Test Reports Says5 star rating
A front-facing image of the Rolls-Royce Ghost

Image number 2 of the Rolls-Royce GhostImage number 3 of the Rolls-Royce GhostImage number 4 of the Rolls-Royce Ghost

Performance Performance - 5 stars

The Ghost is powered by a specially developed 6.6-litre V12 engine that generates 563bhp and 575lb-ft of torque. As the figures suggest, there’s no shortage of power on tap: peak torque is at 1,750rpm and the optimum power is harnessed at 5,250rpm, so there’s a wide power band to surf. All this shove means the Ghost can complete a 0-60mph sprint in a jaw-dropping 4.7 seconds, placing it in supercar territory and making it quicker than a Porsche 911. Stamp on the throttle from a standing start and you instantly feel how unfeasibly quick it is, the effortless the acceleration thrusting the car forward with real force, despite its almost two-and-a-half-tonne weight. Smooth progress is also helped by a superb eight-speed gearbox, which seamlessly shifts to ensure that there’s not a hint of lurching as the cogs change. If it’s possible to criticise the Ghost for anything, it’s that the effortlessness of that huge V12 means it’s easy to find yourself driving well over the speed limit – especially when cruising on the motorway – without realising it.

Ride & Handling Ride & Handling - 4 stars

On the road you’ll quickly conclude that the Ghost is a fantastically engineered car. Despite its size (5.4m long) and weight – which you’re always conscious of – it feels incredibly agile on the road. This agility comes from an air suspension system with variable damping that ensures stability on all surfaces and in all situations, combined with a host of electronic driver aids – Anti-Roll Stabilisation, Dynamic Brake Control and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), including Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and Cornering Brake Control (CBC). These combine to ensure that the Ghost is always perfectly balanced, even when undertaking manoeuvres such as high-speed lane changing or cornering: you can definitely feel the weight shifting, reacting to the forces being exerted on the car – not even Rolls-Royce can defy the laws of physics – but it all feels very controlled. The Ghost has been designed and engineered to be more driver-focused than any previous Rolls-Royce, something you’ll understand when you spend some time behind its wheel. Unlike the Phantom, this is a car that’s meant to be driven, not just sat in.

Build Quality & Reliability Build Quality & Reliability - 5 stars

Rolls-Royce is an exclusive car brand and, as its relatively small band of owners don’t really fill out customer satisfaction surveys, we don’t know for certain how reliable its cars are. However, buyers who shell out £200,000 or so for a car demand the best, so reliability can be pretty much be taken as given: Rolls-Royces don’t break down very often and we expect the Ghost to follow this trend. The other factor worth noting is that much of the technology comes from BMW’s 7 Series, so it’s been tried and tested, and has the full resources of the German carmaker behind its development. When it comes to build quality, there probably isn’t another carmaker that can boast a reputation like Rolls-Royce’s. It’s a reputation that’s entirely justified, as the car has the kind of solidity we have come to expect in a Roller and a fit and finish that are extraordinarily good. Everything feels solid and luxurious, with the best materials available being used throughout the cabin.

Safety & Security Safety & Security - 5 stars

The Ghost hasn’t been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, so we don’t know exactly how it fares in a collision. However, if we were involved in an accident involving the 2,435kg Ghost, we know which car we’d rather be in. Safety equipment includes an Advanced Crash and Safety Management (ACSM) system that takes measurements 2,000 times per second from sensors located around the vehicle, using the information to judge which safety features to deploy in which areas in the event of an accident. In addition, there are cameras around the car to give a fish-eye view at blind junctions; an infrared night vision camera that works with pedestrian recognition software to detect objects up to 300 metres away and assess imminent danger; a head-up display; a lane departure warning system that alerts the driver if the car drifts out of its current lane; and active brake intervention with a curve speed limiter that communicates with the car’s DSC systems to reduce speed on bends if safety and comfort may be compromised.

Space & Practicality Space & Practicality - 4 stars

The cabin of the Ghost is very spacious and incredibly comfortable. The seats are wonderfully cosseting, with the slightly elevated position of those in the front providing excellent visibility over the company’s trademark long bonnet. A 490-litre boot also provides plenty of space for luggage. All the controls are well laid out and within reach of the driver, with chrome switches on the dashboard and steering wheel that match the wonderfully chic circular vents (which are operated using quirkily stylish organ stop-style plungers). There’s also BMW’s iDrive multimedia system that controls infotainment features, such as satellite navigation, radio, CD, MP3 and Bluetooth telephone functions, plus a 12.5GB hard drive that enables storage of music files from USB or CD. The audio system can also deliver 600 Watts of sound through a 10-channel amplifier and 16 speakers, including two floor-mounted subwoofers.

Ownership & Value Ownership & Value - 3 stars

The price of £195,840 means the Ghost is definitely a purchase reserved for the select band of buyers who can afford it. There are also numerous options that buyers can choose to make their car more individual, so most cars usually cost in excess of £200,000. If you can afford a Rolls-Royce, running costs are unlikely to concern you much, but for the record the official fuel consumption is 20.9mpg and CO2 emissions are 317g/km, which means £405 road tax per annum. Insurance is, obviously, the maximum Group 20 (Group 50 under the new system), but premiums are again likely to be high, but affordably so for owners.

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