Rolls-Royce Ghost


Debut: 2009
Maker: Rolls-Royce
Predecessor: Silver Seraph



 Published on 4 Mar 2010 All rights reserved. 


Baby Roller targets at Bentley Mulsanne rather than Continental...

A couple of years ago, we were told that BMW was developing a "baby Roller" to rival Bentley Continental Flying Spur. It shall sit below the £280,000 Phantom, but above the £100,000 mainstream luxury cars like Mercedes S600. Considering Bentley's best selling saloon is priced at £120,000 to £140,000, it was easy to assume the baby Roller occupy the same territory. Market analysts described this territory as a sweet spot – on the one hand it may attract up to ten thousands customers a year, on the other hand it is still totally free from the competition of mainstream luxury car manufacturers like Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Jaguar and Lexus. In fact, in the past few years Bentley found big success with its Continental line and turned around its fortune.

So the £200,000 Rolls-Royce Ghost struck us to the concrete ground. It is only £80,000 cheaper than the flagship RR, and way more expensive than Bentley Continental Flying Spur. Its target rival seems more like Bentley Mulsanne, which will go on sale at £220,000 this summer. Rolls-Royce' salespersons will find a hard time to meet their sales target. To most of us, however, this is not a bad thing. Basically, £200,000 or £130,000 make no difference to us. Both are unimaginable figures and both are out of our reach. What matter to us is how the £70K difference reflect in the car's looks, build quality and ingredients.



Like a 90-percent scale Phantom...

From this point of view, I would say the baby Roller (well, maybe not so baby now) is definitely worth the extra money over Bentley Continental. While the Continental is fine, it doesn't feel too different from Mercedes S600. Style aside, it may just happen to be a Volkswagen or Audi flagship. In fact, some Continental Flying Spurs were once assembled by the Dresden plant in Germany when Crewe ran out of capacity. These cars looked and felt exactly the same as those built in England. Rolls-Royce Ghost is very different. It looks and feels nothing like a mainstream luxury car, but rather like a 90-percent scale Phantom. For sure, there is a little deviation in its character - it looks slightly rounder, lighter and more performance-minded, probably more suitable to customers who would occasionally drive their cars - in this way very much like Bentley. However, its bloodline is so obvious to be an extension of the flagship Phantom. It preserves the prestige and dignity as the best-built car in the world. Subjectively, its superiority over Continental is more than £70,000 can explain. From this perspective, we can even describe it as a bargain.


"Small" is probably the last word you would use to describe this car...

The Ghost started life in BMW's Dingolfing plant, where its steel monocoque chassis is built and painted. However, its final assembly and interior trimming are performed at Goodwood by British craftsmen in good old tradition. Unlike the aluminum spaceframe Phantom, Ghost employs conventional steel monocoque to cut cost. This hasn't reflected on scale though - the Ghost weighs 2360 kilograms, some 125 kg lighter than the standard-wheelbase Phantom, primarily because it is 430 mm shorter, 40 mm narrower and 80 mm lower. Nevertheless, "small" is probably the last word you would use to describe this car. Despite of the downsizing, it still measures some 5.4 meters in length, 1.95 meters in width and 1.55 meters in height. Even in short-wheelbase form, its wheelbase easily eclipses the long-wheelbase Mercedes S-class by 130 mm !


The driver sits much lower than Phantom, although view over the road is still way more "commanding" than others...

Rolls-Royce keeps the most prestigious features of Phantom intact in the smaller car, i.e. the rear-hinged "suicide" passenger doors and the nice umbrellas stored inside which. So you enter the rear cabin with unrivaled grace, sit "on" the high-mounted sofa and discover the cabin isn't much smaller than the concert hall of Phantom, thanks to the superior space efficiency of steel chassis. More differences lie on the front though. The driver sits much lower than that of the large RR, although the view over the road is still way more "commanding" than other luxury limousines. The environment up front is snugger than Phantom's, although that is relative again. The dashboard looks more modern and conventional, with large pieces of wood flowing smoothly from one side to another. The cabin design is simple and elegant. Needless to say, woods and leather are top notch items, with good craftsmanship to match. Nevertheless, a few glitches show signs of cost saving, such as the chromed switches (which are actually plastics) and the plastic door pulls. Besides, the Phantom's wooden dashboard looks more like a hand-built furniture. These areas still put the Phantom in superior position.

Best features of Phantom are kept: suicide doors and nice umbrellas

The Ghost has 20 percent components sourced from BMW 760Li. One of which is the direct-injection twin-turbo V12. However, to show the superiority of Rolls-Royce, BMW enlarged its displacement by 10 percent to 6592 cc - what a pity they couldn't quite achieve 6750 cc - hence boosting its output by 26 hp to 570 hp and its maximum torque by 22 lb-ft to 575 lb-ft, and the latter is available from as little as 1500 rpm ! Moreover, coming together with the twin-turbo V12 is the latest ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. Now you can see what the Ghost excels over Phantom... 24 percent more power, 5 percent less weight, smaller frontal area and a couple of extra gears to use translate to 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.7 seconds, more than one second ahead of its supposedly superior sister, and most likely faster than Bentley Mulsanne as well. Smaller and cheaper does not equal to slower. On the contrary, these qualities give the baby Roller a more suitable basis to pursue a performance character never attempted by Rolls-Royce.

Apart from powertrain, the Rolls-Royce also shares the 7-series' electronic systems, climate control and suspension parts - the things you cannot see. However, it is not to say it rode on the 7-series platform. Far from it actually. Its very different proportion, weight and ride characteristic require a unique platform to realize. Even the shared parts are altered to work better on the Roller. For example, while the 7-series has adaptive air springs at its rear axle only, the Roller has them on both axles, and they are tuned to deliver roughly the same frequency response as that of Phantom.


The Ghost has 20 percent components sourced from BMW 760Li. Twin-turbo V12 is one of them.

On the road, the Rolls-Royce feels so different from a 760Li. Its ride is truly cosseting, gliding over the poorest surfaces with little drama and noise. The cabin is so well insulated from the world outside. The V12 is incredibly smooth and quiet. The superb level of refinement reminds us what made Rolls-Royce so famous in the early years. Now we know why it reuses the
name "Ghost". Ultimately, Phantom can still teach its little sister a thing or two in ride quality, especially over big potholes, but Ghost is about the only car that comes close to it.

However, what surprises us is the sporting flavor found on the new Rolls-Royce. Once you prod the gas pedal, you will be amazed by the strong stream of g-force and the uncorrupted acceleration achieved by its V12 and eight-speed automatic. From the magnitude of g-force, we can say the 0-60 mph claims of 4.7 seconds is every bit believable. If not the lack of noise, you might even confuse the car with a sports saloon.

If not the lack of noise, you might confuse it with a sports saloon...

In corners, the Roller is not as agile or as flat as a 7-series, of course. But it still amazes us with new found level of body control, thanks to the adoption of BMW's active anti-roll bars. As pitch and roll is greatly reduced, it feels much much smaller than Phantom. Some American motoring journalists even described it as "sporty", which is probably exaggerated. The Ghost does provide a good steering though – surprisingly accurate and feelsome. Its huge brakes also provide exceptional stopping power and good pedal feel. As a result, it will give the forthcoming Bentley Mulsanne a hard life.

However, to ask it to handle like the smaller 7-series, S-class, A8 or XJ is unreasonable. No cars at this weight and with so high center of gravity can do that. I guess Rolls-Royce does not bother about that at all. If not, it should have already provided a "Sport" button for sharpening its suspensions, steering, gearshift or throttle. In fact, "comfort" is the only mode on offer. It is the basis of all Rolls-Royces in the past 100 years, and has no reason to take second priority this time around. We are glad that RR has not forgotten about its core values while pursuing to steal sales from Bentley.
Verdict: 
 Published on 11 Sep 2013
All rights reserved. 
Rolls-Royce Wraith


There are two kinds of people who would buy a Rolls-Royce Wraith. One is those wanting to show off their enormous wealth. In this case, a Rolls-Royce Ghost or Phantom is usually considered not enough because they are simply too functional. The Wraith is neither a limousine nor a proper performance car. It implies the driver already owns a big Roller or Bentley 4-door for everyday use and simultaneously a Ferrari, Aston or Lamborghini for weekend fun, but still have the money and desire for something different. Another kind of buyers is those appreciating the finest build quality and craftsmanship but unhappy with the conservative styling of Ghost, Phantom or Mulsanne. The Wraith is by no means a beautiful car, but its strange front and back ends might appeal to some with acquired taste.

Built on a shortened Ghost platform, the Wraith is best to be seen as the Ghost Coupe. Its wheelbase is 183 mm shorter, but still measures a massive 3112 mm, which is longer than a Mercedes S-class! Needless to say, its rear seats are full-size, offering head and legroom matching many full-size saloons. Entry to the cabin is made graceful by the unusual rear-hinged doors. Note that those doors are mounted at the body sides which have no B-pillars to support. The steel monocoque structure must be very stiff, otherwise any tiny deflection would cause the doors to damage the body shell or glass. The narrow gaps between the doors and the surrounding body also show how Rolls-Royce is confident about its immense rigidity.



The lavish interior is purely Ghost. The same dashboard is made of the same quality wood, leather and aluminum (although some minor BMW switchgears are still eyesores to buyers at this level). Big comfy chairs and thick wool carpets provide a similar seating experience. Ditto the big steering wheel and the commanding driving position. It feel every bit a proper Rolls-Royce.

Rolls-Royce said this is its most powerful model, as its 6.6-liter twin-turbo direct-injected V12 is tuned to deliver another 62 horsepower and 15 pound-foot of torque, pushing the total to 632 hp and 590 lbft. This is also the most powerful engine BMW has ever built, eclipsing the mighty McLaren F1 engine by 5 horses. However, it has to haul some 2360 kg of mass, which is actually no lighter than the Ghost (why?), thus performance is brisk rather than lightning. 0-60 mph can be done in 4.4 seconds, but in the well-insulated cabin the sensation of speed is more modest. You can easily travel at double the speed you thought. The V12 has no discernible turbo lag, and its power is delivered smoothly and quietly through the ZF 8-speed auto. Rolls-Royce said the gearbox is linked to the satellite navigation system to predict the road ahead and offer quicker/smoother shifts, but in reality it is hard to tell.



As said, the Wraith is not a true performance car – in fact, no cars weighing so much and standing so tall from the ground can be. Its adaptive air suspension is set stiffer than that of the Ghost, but not enough to damage the comfortable ride. Overall, this is still a comfort-biased setting. Up the pace in corners and you will find plenty of pitch and roll and understeer. The steering is too light and slow to inspire confidence. The same goes for the sheer size of the car and the fact that you cannot see exactly where its corners locate, which hurts confidence when driving on narrow roads. Like the Ghost, you can't dial up the suspension and steering setting, because "Sport mode" is never in the dictionary of Rolls-Royce.

Make no mistake, the Rolls-Royce Wraith is not a GT, despite of its enhanced performance. It is actually a 2-door luxury car, just like the even more expensive Phantom Coupe. Apart from the latter, it doesn't have any real rivals. In a segment so niche, it is meaningless to say which one is better. It all depends on the taste and preference of buyers.
Verdict:
 Published on 17 Mar 2016
All rights reserved. 
Rolls-Royce Dawn


Rolls-Royce already has a convertible in its line-up, i.e. Phantom Drophead Coupe. However, that car is simply too pricey and exclusive to fill the shoes of Corniche, the iconic Roll-Royce convertible everybody still remember. Throughout its long life of 25 years, Corniche was popular and hugely profitable to Rolls-Royce. It had virtually no competitors in the market place, yet the car was not too costly to build as it was derived from the relatively “mass production” Silver Shadow. To repeat the success of Corniche, obviously, Rolls-Royce needs a more accessible convertible based on its mainstream saloon, Ghost. And this resulted in Dawn.

The development of Dawn is made easy by the fact that the Ghost was already derived into a 2-door coupe, Wraith, a couple of years ago. Most of the chassis structure of the new convertible is shared with the coupe, including its shorter wheelbase and the unique rear-hinged doors. You might remember that the Wraith had no B-pillars, so its body sides and underfloor structure was already strengthened to provide solid mounting for the doors. This undoubtedly benefits the open-top version as well, thus it requires few additional reinforcement. This means, even though the power soft top is massive, thick and completed with glass window, the Dawn weighs only 200 kg more than Wraith. At 2560 kg, it is not overweight by the standards of Rolls-Royce.



In many ways the Dawn is more likable than Wraith. First of all, it looks far more graceful, especially with the roof down, than the Wraith with its odd fastback design. Then it enables the romance of open-air motoring without much sacrifice. In fact, it is even more refined than the coupe. Once its 6-layer fabric roof is closed and double-glazing windows are up, its cabin is actually quieter. There is precious little wind and road noise could penetrate into the cabin, making it the quietest convertible we have ever seen. The body structure feels just as solid as the coupe’s, with no scuttle shakes even on broken surfaces. Surprisingly, the 4-seat cabin loses no space, offering the same amount of legroom and even a bit more headroom to the two sitting at the back. This is the only convertible capable of sitting 4 large adults without compromises. Not even Phantom Drophead Coupe could claim the same achievement.

The rest of the car is very similar to Ghost and Wraith. It has the same dashboard and interior trimming, which is warm, lavish and mostly bespoke (except those BMW switches, again). The 6.6-liter turbocharged V12 has the same tune as the Ghost. Although not quite as powerful as Wraith, it still offers as many as 570 horsepower and 575 pound-foot of torque from very low revs for your disposal. No one would drive it as in a sports car, but it won’t disappoint those in a hurry with the capability to do 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds or topping 155 mph before electronic limiter kicks in. I doubt if anyone needs an open-top car to go faster. If there are really someone, they must be already owning a Ferrari 488 Spider.



The Dawn is a completely different experience from Ferrari, of course. All controls are light and easy. The steering offers little to no feel but it guides the car accurately. The air suspension is soft and pillowy (though the setting is unchanged from Wraith), but for a car so huge its body control is admirable. The V12 is creamy smooth and whispering quiet, noticeable only for its absence. Ditto the satellite-linked 8-speed automatic transmission. This is not a car to go fast or to thrill. On the contrary, it is for you to drive slowly with a peace of mind, enjoying a relaxing holiday through beautiful scenery, all the while showing off your enormous wealth. Nothing else serves this purpose better than a Rolls-Royce.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features

Tires

Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Ghost
2009
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
5399 / 1948 / 1550 mm
3295 mm
V12, 60-degree
6592 cc
DOHC 48 valves, DVVT
Twin-turbo
DI
570 hp / 5250 rpm
575 lbft / 1500 rpm
8-speed automatic
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
Adaptive air spring + damping, active anti-roll bar
F: 255/40YR20
R: 285/40YR20
2360 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.7 (c) / 4.9* / 4.3**
10.6* / 10.1**
Wraith
2013
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
5269 / 1947 / 1507 mm
3112 mm
V12, 60-degree
6592 cc
DOHC 48 valves, DVVT
Twin-turbo
DI
632 hp / 5600 rpm
590 lbft / 1500-5000 rpm
8-speed automatic
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
Adaptive air spring + damping, active anti-roll bar
F: 255/40YR20
R: 285/40YR20
2360 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.4 (c) / 4.6*
10.0*
Dawn
2016
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
5285 / 1947 / 1502 mm
3112 mm
V12, 60-degree
6592 cc
DOHC 48 valves, DVVT
Twin-turbo
DI
570 hp / 5250 rpm
575 lbft / 1500 rpm
8-speed automatic
F: double-wishbone
R: multi-link
Adaptive air spring + damping, active anti-roll bar
F: 255/40YR20
R: 285/40YR20
2560 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.7 (c) / 4.3***
9.9***




Performance tested by: *Autocar, **MT, ***C&D





AutoZine Rating

Ghost

Wraith

Dawn


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