2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost & Review & Car and Driver

28 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost & Review & Car and Driver

2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Cosseting and luxurious like a Rolls should be, the new Ghost also adds a dash of sportiness.

If the grandiose Rolls-Royce Phantom #x2014;birthed by BMW in 2003#x2014;reestablished the marque#x2019;s exceptionalism, the 2011 Ghost brings that notion down to a more human scale. The Ghost is the daily driver; the Phantom, whether in sedan, extended-wheelbase sedan, coupe, or drophead (convertible) form, should be held in reserve for special occasions, such as crashing White House dinners.

Most Definitely Still a Roller

The Ghost truncates one of the great names from Rolls-Royce#x2019;s past, the Silver Ghost, a moniker that attached itself to the full line of classically reliable and smooth 40/50s produced from 1906 to 1926. These were the cars that prompted The Autocar and Motor to call Rolls-Royce #x201C;The Best Car in the World.#x201D; The new Ghost will bring that legacy to bear on the luxury-sedan class, reordering the segment#x2019;s hierarchy dominated by the Bentley Continental Flying Spur.

Mercedes S-class, and BMW 7-series. This steel-monocoque car might weigh as much as the Bentley (nearly a staggering 5500 pounds) but also produces an intimidating 563 hp and charges from 0 to 60 mph in a claimed 4.8 seconds. Moreover, it will achieve total pricing supremacy when it gets here in early 2010, with a projected MSRP of about $245,000 to start.

Some might argue that this makes it more of a competitor to the forthcoming Bentley Mulsanne than to lesser Bentleys. We prefer to think of the Mulsanne as an insufficiently expensive competitor to the Phantom.

You Sure It#x2019;s Not a 7-series?

Because Rolls is now under BMW#x2019;s stewardship, and because using common parts is essential for a manufacturer#x2019;s economies of scale (but mostly because Rolls-Royce admitted that the Ghost shares 20 percent of itself with the BMW 7-series. specifically, the V-12#x2013;powered 760Li), it#x2019;s tempting to think that the new car is simply an upsized BMW, a 9-series with an available metallic hood. That characterization is a little unfair to this new sedan.

The 20-percent commonality hides in the climate-control system, the electrical architecture, parts of the floorpan, and some engine components. Both cars#x2019; twin-turbocharged V-12s come from the same engine family, but the Ghost#x2019;s is stroked to 6.6 liters (up from the 760#x2019;s 6.0) and gets some revised internals such as a new crank. And whereas the BMW has only air springs at the rear, the Ghost uses adaptive air suspension at all four corners.

The Rolls needed a more regal seating position, larger-diameter tires, and coach-style doors, which necessitated more changes. The new overall tire diameter meant new steering and suspension kinematics, and the raised seating position and center-opening doors meant reengineering the donor platform for crash safety.

Exotic Materials Up the Wazoo

Chief designer Ian Cameron has delivered a shape that is immediately recognizable as a Rolls-Royce, even though the car does not have the traditional Parthenon-type grille. Its sleeker expression of the chrome-vaned radiator housing is in keeping with the car#x2019;s trimmer proportions relative to the Phantom. Grounded by a terrifically powerful stance, the Ghost has fast-raking pillars and bodywork that tucks in around the wheels.

The restrained, almost featureless body sides mask a subtlety of proportion and line that makes the car look much smaller than it actually is. As ever, the long prow dominates, with a perfectly proportioned dash-to-axle ratio.

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