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What’s all this, then?

Behind the special edition paint and trim bits, this is our first experience of the 2014 Rolls-Royce Ghost, which’ll start at £200,500. Unless, of course, it’s in commemorative Alpine Trial Centenary colours - for which you’ll have to fork out an estimated £225,000.

What’s new about this Ghost?

A cursory drive suggests little’s changed - it’s still grand, it’s still ballistic - but we’re assured that there’s more tech hiding behind the Ghost’s grand veneer. It debuts parent company BMW’s Satellite Aided Transmission system (SAT) on a Rolls-Royce, which works out the sort of roads you’re likely to encounter ahead with the sat-nav, cross-references that info with what it knows about your driving style, then choses the right gear foryou. R-R politely declined to comment with regard to any sort of performance of efficiency claims, and out on the road there is absolutely no indication of the system doing its thing. Which is either very good, or a confidence trick par excellence.

Interesting. Is it still the driver’s Rolls?

Very much so. The Ghost’s twin-turbo 6.6-litre V12 still churns out 563bhp and 575lb ft of torque, which means it’ll get from 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds. If that sounds like meek performance from such an over-endowed engine, remember that this old hector weighs 2365kg,

You’ve forgotten to tell us about the driving…

Ah yes. It’s still a monster, moving down the road with the immeasurable confidence exclusive to Rolls-Royce. Sure - and despite sensitive, and freshly-tuned air-ride suspension - it pitches and wallows a bit, but only if you push it really hard through Alpine corners, which you’d never actually do if you owned the thing. This is something big saloon manufacturers chasing Nordschleife times would do well to recognise.

What about all that Alpine business, then?

This model celebrates the firm’s success in the 1913 Alpine trial, which you can read all about here. It shares its colour scheme with the original car, and has a few trick trim additions. For your ten per cent premium over the cooking Ghost, you get black wheels, a black grill, blue paint, and naked alloy bonnet, aping the 100-year-old original. Inside, the walnut dash has a special inlay that shows a route map of the original event, and the height elevation. There’s also a clock that shows the timings of the original rally stages and the, er, time.

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