Car Reviews

Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II Review

A higher grill, pulled-apart headlights, a more streamlined hood treatment, and a slight forward tilt to the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy hood figurine give the latest Ghost a subtly more assertive stance. Inside, however, is where the more significant changes lie, as BMW sensibilities continue to influence Rolls-Royce?s technical direction.

By Peter Bleakney Wheels.ca

Oct 20, 2014 5 min. read

Article was updated 8 years ago

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Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II Review

PRICE:?$286,750 base (U.S.); virtually limitless options available
ENGINE:?6.6 L V12; twin-turbo, direct injection
POWER/TORQUE:?563 bhp/565 lb.-ft.
FUEL CONSUMPTION L/100 km:?18.1 city, 11.8 hwy. (based on U.S. figures; premium fuel)
COMPETITION:?Bentley Flying Spur, Bentley Mulsanne
WHAT?S BEST:?Enormous automotive cachet with power and luxury to match.
WHAT?S WORST:?Environmental concerns are in no way a worthwhile discussion.
WHAT?S INTERESTING:?Ghost has quadrupled the size and output of Rolls-Royce since its introduction in 2009.

Imagination the only limitation

There are few ways to proclaim one?s success to the world quite like owning a Rolls-Royce.

With the introduction of the Ghost Series II, that?s perhaps never been more true.

The car that the automaker bills as the ultimate mobile office for highly successful entrepreneurs is newly updated, with the utmost of careful consideration, as would be expected of the marque?s extremely demanding clientele.

The Ghost Series II builds on the premise of the original 2009 release ? which already had the distinction of being the best-selling car in the Rolls-Royce portfolio since BMW Group rejuvenated the brand six years before that ? by updating the vehicle?s technology while giving it a more poised, planted look.

Naturally, the cachet of the brand remains. Each vehicle is still handmade, a process undertaken these days at the company?s facility at Goodwood in the U.K. The vast majority are custom built to order ? and at a base price just shy of $300,000 (U.S.), clients understandably expect no less than their own ideals of perfection, whatever those may entail.

As a start, a higher grill, pulled-apart headlights, a more streamlined hood treatment and a slight forward tilt to the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy hood figurine give the latest Ghost a subtly more assertive stance.

Inside, however, is where the more significant changes lie, as BMW sensibilities continue to influence Rolls-Royce?s technical direction.

The rear seating area, accessed through Rolls-Royce?s characteristic coach doors, is trimmed in buttery leather, high-gloss panelling and carpeting so plush that a hand plunged into it nearly disappears. The seats are fully adjustable with options available for ventilation and massage to offer every level of comfort.

Passengers can also avail themselves of full control of the vehicle?s infotainment system ? including audio and visual media, GPS and mobile office applications ? through the seatback screens and the Spirit of Ecstasy rotary control in the centre console, which now also functions as a touchpad to avoid the need for unsightly fingerprints on eye-level touch screens. Inputs can be delivered via pinch-and-pull navigation as well as finger-drawn text in any language, including more complicated scripts such as Arabic and Mandarin.

From the driver?s seat, the enormous 6.6 L V12 twin-turbocharged, direct-injected engine and its 563 brake horsepower and 575 ft.-lb. of torque are seemingly effortless to harness. The Ghost now benefits from technology introduced in the Wraith last year that uses the car?s GPS to anticipate upcoming curves and undulations in the road. The eight-speed transmission is able to then shift accordingly with no disruption to the driver.

Despite the imposing power plant, though, the Ghost most certainly does not drive like a supercar, nor is it meant to. The steering feel is very relaxed and the ride is pillow soft ? clearly, the priority is a complete lack of vehicular disturbance for occupants whatsoever.

The Ghost headlights are now composed entirely of LEDs and rotate as the car turns to deliver optimal visibility at all times, and a new head-up display that shows the vehicle?s current speed, cruising speed, road speed limits and upcoming GPS directions can be tilted or shifted vertically.

And to ensure that no potential avenue for enjoyment is overlooked, an available bespoke audio system positions 18 individually tuned speakers at key locations inside to provide a fully immersive, three-dimensional listening experience.

There are some technological innovations that have not made their way into this iteration, most notably fuel-saving features such as cylinder deactivation and engine stop-start capability. However, Rolls-Royce quite accurately notes that their customers typically deal with such concerns on a broader scale. A Ghost owner is more apt to worry about how much carbon is being emitted by his or her suite of factories or private jet than by this one car out of the dozen or so in the garage.

What Rolls-Royce owners do concern themselves with, however, is exclusivity, a hallmark the brand strives to maintain. Roughly 4,000 Rolls-Royce cars will be made this year, which by the company?s reckoning is close to ideal.

?We believe the intrinsic value in a Rolls-Royce is its rarity,? says Richard Carter, global director of communications. ?We do not believe our customers want to see a Rolls-Royce on every street corner. We believe they want the car to be rare, and we will deliver that.?

The other key attribute that today?s Rolls-Royce owners seek is individuality. The handcrafters at Goodwood have been known to custom- create cars with hot pink exteriors, intricate woodworked dashboard murals, and inlaid diamonds. Clearly, the imagination is the only limitation ? in conjunction, of course, with the pocketbook.

?We promise the highest possible quality to our clients,? Carter says. ?We promise them that they will be getting something that is absolutely perfect.

?Customers look at this and say, ?Wow, I?m not actually buying a car. I?m buying a piece of automotive art. I?m buying something really special.? ?

Travel and other expenses incurred by freelance writer Stephanie Wallcraft were paid by the manufacturer. Email: wheels@thestar.ca

Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II Statuette

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