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With its latest Ghost sedan, Rolls-Royce has developed a brand new model positioned below the Phantom and in the process seen its sales nearly double over the past year. What the car’s design team was seeking to create was a modern Rolls-Royce that achieved a new dynamism but remained true to its luxurious heritage.
The Rolls-Royce Ghost is one of the newest models in the hyperlux category, positioned to boost sales by being a sort of entry point. The plan has worked, nearly doubling Rolls-Royce sales in the year after its introduction. For 2012, the Ghost carries forward unchanged.
Unlike the rest of the Rolls-Royce range, the Ghost doesn't mandate a chauffeur; instead, it's intended as the Rolls that's meant to be driven. And it's actually fun to drive, thanks in large part to its massive twin-turbo 6.6-liter V-12 engine, which generates a stout 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque--actually more powerful than the larger Phantom.
Zero to 60 mph acceleration takes just 4.8 seconds despite the Ghost's still considerable size and weight, putting it on par with many sports sedans. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, not that you'll likely care to reach it. Gas mileage isn't great, as you might expect, scoring 13 mpg in town and 20 mpg on the highway. A ZF eight-speed automatic shifts the gears.
Some of the Ghost's sporting prowess owes to its BMW derivation, borrowing its underpinnings from the core technology of the 7-Series. Full air ride on multi-link aluminum suspension plus active anti-roll and chassis stabilization mean the Ghost actually handles well for a large car, too. It also rides very well, should you happen upon an employable driver.
Riding or driving the Ghost, the interior is sumptuous. Rich leather, fine woods, real metal chrome, and plenty of high-tech refinement coddle the occupants whether the mission is brokering a multi-billion-dollar deal or simply raiding the nearest Prada store.
As with all Rolls-Royce cars, the Ghost can be configured in effectively limitless variations, with nearly any special request readily met by the factory--for a price.
The Ghost's safety matches its luxury, with a full complement of air bags, electronic driver aids, and a handful of cameras that provide a surround-view scheme. Night vision, lane-departure warning, active high-beam head lights, and much more are also part of the bargain, if, of course, you can call the roughly $250,000 price tag a bargain.