Inside the new Rolls-Royce Ghost | Catalog-cars

Inside the new Rolls-Royce Ghost

21 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Inside the new Rolls-Royce Ghost

JEZ SPINKS

Rolls-Royce Ghost

Don’t call it a baby Rolls-Royce or, worse, a deluxe BMW 7-Series.

Such references to the all-new Ghost limousine will incur the wrath of the luxury British marque, even if there is a grain of truth to both.

Drive was given a personal tour of the new $695,000 Rolls this week as it arrived in Sydney to be showcased in front of prospective buyers – ahead of its May 2010 local release.

The Ghost is only Rolls-Royce’s second model line, and is smaller than the $1m-plus Phantom range that first went on sale in 2003.

At 5.5 metres long, however, the Ghost is still significantly longer than the BMW 7-Series on which it is based.

It’s also more than half a metre longer than Australia’s two favourite large cars, the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore.

As well as sitting on a stretched 7-Series platform, the Ghost’s drivetrain comprises a V12 and eight-speed gearbox shared with the $386,000 760i flagship Seven.

However, there are two turbochargers, so power is an ample 420kW, while torque is double that of most six-cylinder family cars, at 780Nm.

Rolls-Royce says the engine has also been retuned for more low-end torque, to provide a quieter and more relaxing driving experience in the tradition of the company’s cars.

Despite the emphasis on comfort, the Ghost is still claimed to accelerate from 0-100km/h in less than five seconds, though, despite weighing 2.4 tonnes.

The Ghost’s international drive launch doesn’t take place until next March in California, so for now only a static assessment is possible.

You don’t have to be on the move, though, to appreciate the interior’s blend of elegance and opulence. Rolls-Royce calls the overall theme “effortless dynamism”.

The traditional rear-hinged rear ‘coach’ doors open nearly 90 degrees for dignified entry and egress to the back seat.

A button on the inside of the C-pillar closes the ‘soft close’ doors electronically. (Vanity mirrors are also placed here for passengers to check hair and make-up before making a regal exit.)

Rolls-Royce’s 6ft 5in British product manager for the Ghost, Dan Balmer, is a perfect tour guide to demonstrate the abundance of head and leg room.

He says the Ghost almost matches the bigger Phantom for cabin space thanks to its body being made out of steel rather than the aluminium used for the more expensive Rolls-Royce.

The upholstery is swathed in the same leather as the Phantom, though features a more robust surface because the Ghost is expected to be used more frequently. Under the feet are super-soft (optional) lambs-wool carpet mats.

There’s no shortage of other fine materials used throughout the cabin: a liberal amount of other, smoother natural-grain leathers are mixed into the door trims, console and dash; a mix of chrome and satin finishes are employed for door handles and air vents; there is also a choice of five veneers – including the dark Wenga wood (from Africa) of the Ghost we sat in (the fourth ever to be built).

The two rear seats can be optioned with multiple electronic adjustment and have also been designed to create a “social environment”, allowing passengers to naturally turn towards the other occupant for conversation.

The fold-down centre rear-seat features a rotary controller similar to BMW’s iDrive system. It acts as the nerve centre for rear-seat entertainment via the 9.5-inch colour screens incorporated into the back of the front seats.

Infra-red headphones and a PlayStation can be linked to the system. Retractable picnic tables sit beneath the screens, though Rolls-Royce says on final production versions of the car these will feature an extended section to cater better for laptops.

Rolls-Royce’s Balmer says owners are more likely to drive the Ghost themselves rather than be chauffeured.

This is echoed by the fact the traditional secreted umbrella pops out of the driver’s door rather than the rear passenger door.

Up front, they will find a smaller steering wheel with a thinner rim compared to the one in the Phantom. Traditional ‘violin’ keys on the helm control areas such as audio and (radar) cruise control.

The latter joins a list of technological features (most optional) borrowed from the 7-Series, also including night vision, lane departure warning and heads-up display.

There’s another rotary controller on the centre console, linked to a wide, central 25cm digital display – or “master information panel” in Rolls-Royce speak.

It also includes digital TV and Bluetooth integration. The main instruments are more traditional-looking dials, and include a ‘power reserve’ gauge.

Balmer says the idea is for the dial to tell drivers how much power they have at their disposal rather than how much they’re using.

To emphasise the Ghost’s effortless performance, Balmer says the dial will register there’s about 95 per cent of power left available to drivers even at 80km/h.

The Ghost’s top speed, by the way, is an electronically limited 250km/h.

There’s a side-view camera (again from 7-Series) to help the driver when easing the Ghost out into traffic, while three other cameras combine to create a bird’s-eye view of the car to aid parallel parking.

Four-zone climate control will keep the Ghost’s occupants comfortable, and also includes upper and lower zones for different temperatures for legs and torsos.

Rolls-Royce says the Ghost is designed to be a less formal experience than the $1m Phantom, which some people considered too overt in its styling.

This is also reflected in the exterior design. The Ghost’s grille could only belong to a Rolls, but it’s more integrated to the sloping front end compared with the bluff and imposing Phantom.

The side profile is dominated by a prominent shoulder line – Rolls calls it a ‘yacht line’ – and 19-inch wheels that are half the height of the car.

‘Our’ Ghost was finished in an optional two-tone paintwork for owners who want their car to stand out more. Either way, you shouldn’t confuse the new Rolls-Royce Ghost with a BMW 7-Series.

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