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The Top Gear car review: Rolls-Royce Ghost
For:Even closer to the Phantom after 2015 facelift
Against:Every now and then, you'll regret not getting a Phantom
II 4dr Auto
From the opulence inside to its on-road poise, the Ghost is something beyond. A fine, fine thing.
It’s the Series II Ghost, Rolls’s mid-life update for its ‘baby’ saloon. We drive it in London
The problem with the Ghost was that it was just too small. Ahem. Enter the EWB
What we say:
Subtly facelifted Ghost is a fine, fine thing. Now closer than ever to the venerable Phantom
What is it?
The Ghost is a Rolls to take when the parking is tighter and the chauffeur’s got the day off. Smaller, in the same way a tanker is to a supertanker, the Ghost keeps Rolls-Royce’s imperious manner but with slightly more bluff edges and not quite as aggrandising a front grille. coming from a company that still refers to its products as ‘motor cars’ the Ghost retains old-world charm and luxury despite being largely based on a BMw 7-Series’s gubbins.
Now in 2015 Series II guise, the Ghost is closer than ever before to its big brother - the venerable Phantom. Every single panel on the front of the car has been changed. There’s new LED headlights, some new interior tech’, and even a satellite-aided gearbox.
You’re more likely to drive the Ghost than its Phantom bigger sister, though it’s still a sizeable machine to pilot around town. It feels authentic enough behind the thin-rimmed wheel, but there’s a bit more chatter through the steering wheel than the Phantom. Likewise, the engine’s heard more often, but the sound of a 6.5-litre twin-turbo V12 isn’t a bad one. The days of Rolls-Royce stating power outputs as ‘ample’ are long gone, but 563bhp more than fits that description. combined with 575lb ft of torque and a slick, but sometimes busy eight-speed automatic, the ghost will reach 62mph in 4.9secs. That should let you escape swiftly from even the most determined traffic- light beggars. The ride is largely excellent, the ghost’s trick air springs claimed to be able to detect which side a passenger sits in the rear and adjust accordingly, but our underinvested roads see the Ghost sometimes struggle to retain its dignified composure.
On the inside
The Ghost’s more driver-centric feel is immediately apparent when you get in the front. The dashboard is more conventional – if retaining the necessary level of polished materials and chrome inlays for a £200,000+ car – but it’s lower and there are more switches and dials than in its Phantom relative. getting in the front does rob you of the experience of the rear- hinged ‘coach’ back doors, which make getting in the rear so special. There’s plenty of room, and the boot’s sizeable too, but if you’ve a Napoleon complex there’s an extended wheelbase version which gains 17cm over the standard car. For the SII, Rolls has fitted some new, more comfortable front seats, and a suitably powerful stereo. You’ll also find BMW’s latest infotainment rig, with a new 10.25in central screen and a touchpad on the crystal rotary controller.
Even entry-level Rolls-Royces don’t come cheap, with the standard wheelbase Ghost starting quite a way north of £200k. That’s before you dip into the extensive options list. Fuel economy is officially quoted at 20.8mpg, but good luck with that. Running costs will be punitive however it’s driven. High demand means residual values will be good, but really, if you’re in this sphere you’re not thinking about how much it’ll be worth when you replace it. We’d still save up for a Phantom, though.