The Car Connection Rolls-Royce Ghost Overview
The Rolls-Royce Ghost is the brand's "entry-level" four-door sedan. With a base price well over $250,000, the Ghost's rivals include Aston Martin Rapide, the Bentley Flying Spur and the new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.
Though based on a BMW 7-Series platform, the Rolls-Royce Ghost is in a very rarified automotive segment indeed, where sticker prices start at a quarter-million dollars and escalate quickly. Very quickly.
MORE: Read our 2016 Rolls-Royce Ghost preview
The Ghost was presaged by Rolls-Royce's 200EX concept car, which made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show back in 2009. The series-production version was shown shortly after and was offered for sale in 2010 as a 2011 model. In contrast to the larger Phantom sedan, which makes a statement by its mere presence, the Ghost is a somewhat more subtle Rolls. The Ghost is considerably less expensive, yet still sits above big luxury sedans like the Audi A8 in price and amenities. And while not as shouty as the Phantom, the Ghost pulls from the same well of updated classic styling and looks very smart for it.
Inside, the Ghost has rich leather, fine wood veneers, and real metal trim, along with plenty of high-tech luxury items to coddle and impress. Rolls-Royce has again reached into BMW's stash of advanced-tech and active-safety features, giving the Ghost items like night vision, lane-departure warning, active high-beam headlamps, and a surround-view camera system. The interior looks stately, much less whiz-bang than current BMW cabins, and allows the driver to hide the central display screen out of the way for a truly uncluttered appearance.
Like with all other Rolls-Royce models, customers have a nearly unlimited range of options when it comes to specifying their Ghost. Each car is essentially bespoke, with only time and money as the limiting factors of customization. If you were spending this kind of money on a car, you'd probably want it just so, too.
Although most of the Ghost's mechanicals are BMW-derived—the Ghost is related to the BMW 7-Series sedan, although it is longer than even the long-wheelbase 7er—it lives up to the Rolls-Royce expectation of torquey, smooth, and strong, with its 6.6-liter twin-turbo V-12 engine making 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque. A ZF 8-speed automatic transmission grabs the right gear, almost seamlessly, sending power to the rear wheels. A full air suspension with variable damping control and active anti-roll features—and an aluminum, multi-link layout—gives the Ghost decent handling for such a heavy (nearly 5,500 pounds), large car yet the refined, isolated ride that you'd expect in a Rolls. Performance is quite impressive, with 0–60 mph acceleration in just 4.8 seconds and a top speed limited to 155 mph. Its EPA fuel-economy ratings are 13 mpg city, 20 highway—certainly nothing to brag about but in line with others of its size and power.
For 2012, Rolls-Royce released a Ghost EWB model, stretched 6.7 inches versus the already long standard Ghost, with most of that extra length going to back-seat passengers. In 2013, the Ghost's starting price rose to just over $260,000.
At the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, a coupe counterpart to the Ghost arrived, resurrecting the Wraith nameplate. The suicide-door, fastback coupe is Rolls-Royce's most powerful car ever, at 616 horsepower. The 2013 Shanghai Auto Show saw the arrival of a new special-edition Ghost, patterned after the Silver Ghost of the 1913 Alpine Trials. It is the first Bespoke-created car to be based on a Rolls-Royce heritage car.
Rolls-Royce also now sells a coupe based on the Ghost platform, the fastback Wraith. It may also add a convertible version of the Wraith at some point soon to fill out the lineup.
At the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, a revised and updated version of the Ghost, called the Ghost Series II, was revealed. Upgrades and updates include the Satellite Aided Transmission from the Wraith—it anticipates the road and chooses what it thinks is the right gear for the terrain—a mildly redesigned front end, and updated forward lighting. The 6.0-liter V-12's 563-horsepower and 575-pound-feet ratings remain unchanged, leaving the Wraith as the most powerful Roller. Fuel economy is up slightly, to 13/21 mpg for both the Ghost and Ghost EWB.
A Dynamic Driving Package is available for this, the more driver-focused of Rolls's sedan offerings, and includes different chassis tuning. All Series II Ghosts have retuned suspension, as well as an updated infotainment package with a touch-sensitive controller borrowed from the latest BMW iDrive system. The Ghost Series II emerged as a 2015 model-year offering for Rolls-Royce in the U.S.