"Fun to drive and hugely comfortable, the Rolls Royce Ghost is just as rewarding to drive, as it is to be a passenger"
The Rolls Royce Ghost is a massive four door luxury saloon that is powered by a hugely powerful BMW-developed 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 petrol engine producing 563bhp. Similar in profile to it's big brother, the Phantom, the Ghost costs £80,000 less and is slightly smaller in comparison. Weighing 2.4 tonnes the Ghost is still a very large car however, measuring 5.4 metres in length. The interior features all the top-quality materials you'd expect to find in a Rolls Royce - still one of the most exclusive car makers in the world, including a computer control system heavily based on owner's BMW, iDrive design. Behind the wheel, driving the Ghost is effortless. Huge reserves of power result in staggering acceleration whilst handling is hugely impressive for such a large car. Highly advanced air-suspension easily deals with every sort of road imperfection whilst passenger refinement levels are extremely high. Competition comes in the form of the BMW 7 Series, the Bentley Mulsanne and the Maybach saloon.
The best seat in the Ghost is up-front, situated behind the thinly-rimmed steering wheel and in full control of the mighty 563bhp V12 engine. Out on the road very few bumps are felt in the cabin and the steering is beautifully weighted. Floor the throttle deep into the carpet and the 2.4 tonne Ghost lunges forward cracking 0-60mph in just 4.7 seconds. It also hides its huge weight in the corners too, the air suspension allowing some body roll but ensuring the movement is always well-controlled. Driven with care and accuracy, it makes for a very rapid and effortless cross-coutry tool.
Rear passengers are treated to one of the best cabins in the automtive industry. Exquisite leather and deep lambs wool carpets ensure occupants are comfortable whilst the unique switches, clocks, panelling and heater controls all give-off a bespoke feel. The overall effect is a perfect blend of both classic and modern styling.
Such is the weight and build quality of the Ghost, it is likely to fare very well in the event of an accident - as unsurprisingly Euro NCAP are yet to crash test one. The use of many BMW 7 Series parts- including the engine, bodes well for reliability even if it slightly taints the hand-crafted feel.
Reverse parking the Ghost can be a stressful operation but helpful sensors and the proximity warming system remove most of the guess work. The huge mirrors that seem pointless when driving suddenly also become very useful. The EWB (Extended Wheelbase) model has 330mm of legroom in the rear- effectively doubling the amount of the standard car and allowing even the very tallest passengers to stretch-out fully. There is a large 490-litre boot suitable for carrying two large suitcases.
Value for money
Despite the immense engine, opulent interior and sense of occasion the Ghost remains hugely expensive. The BMW 7 Series 760Li has a similar engine and is less than half the price, whilst also being faster and more fuel efficient. None of this matters to Rolls Royce buyers however, particularly in Asia where size and badge appeal are paramount. Optional extras include night vision, lane departure warning, head-up display and adaptive 'intelligent' cruise control. There is also almost endless scope for interior and exterior personlisation.
The BMW-derived 6.6-litre V12 engine is very thirsty returning little more than 20mpg. Emissions are easily in the highest tax bracket, relating to an annual tax bill of £460. Nevertheless, the majority of millionaire owners will hardly notice the huge costs of running a Ghost.