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Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase review

Driven October 2011

Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase review

Budget is a relative term. Take the boom in the real estate market for example. It has grown at an astronomical rate in the last five years. Obviously in some cities you can buy a mansion for a crore, and then there are cities like Mumbai where for a crore, you might just mange a modest 2bhk apartment in the suburbs. And adding those few extra square feet can push you back by another couple of lakhs.

I ponder over this as I sit in the Rolls Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase (EWB), a 17cm longer version of the Ghost. And it costs Rs 30 lakh more than the regular Ghost. So 17cm of extra space in the Ghost will cost you Rs 30 lacs. That’s Rs 1.76 lakh per centimeter. Notice the semblance with the Mumbai real estate market?

The Ghost was never short on rear passenger legroom to begin with, but the extra space in the EWB is surely welcome. And credit must go to the designers for disguising the extra 60 kgs mass so well.

After drooling over this ‘English castle on wheels’ I slipped into the back seat. There is a small button next to the rear three-quarter glass to electronically shut the door. With the windows rolled up, the external noise just dies. It feels like someone has just turned the volume of the chaos outside to minimum. This can be quite an eerie feeling. I know that the engine—a twin- turbo, 6.6 liter V12 monster—is running. I can see construction workers in the next building hammering away in glee. But all I can hear on the inside is a muffled sound; like a kitten burping into a pillow filled with feathers far, far away.

Before I had time to get over the silence, the car started moving. And that’s another uncanny feeling. The Ghost EWB really does float on air. This is also when I realize why Rolls always comes up with names like Phantom and Ghost for their cars.

Computers constantly monitor the air suspension on the EWB to give you that magic carpet ride. No matter where you sit in this car, gadgets work continuously behind the scenes. If for example, you decide to move from one side of the rear seat to the other, the suspension takes your weight into account and readjusts damping for maximum comfort.

While I did enjoy the back seat, I was itching to drive the car now. Usually expensive cars come with buttons scattered across the dashboard like an aircraft cockpit, but not the RR Ghost EWB. This car may have some of the best techno wizardry, but it keeps things wonderfully low key. There is wood veneer and hand-stitched cream leather with a dash of chrome tastefully spread across the dashboard. It makes you feel special without overpowering you with an array of buttons.

There’s a retractable 7-inch display screen and a rotor dial; the latter controls all functions in the car. It can also be used to pop the famous ‘Sprit of Ecstasy’ hood ornament. Navigating through menus is easy and the interface is somewhat similar to the one found on the BMW 7 series.

The well-crafted instrument cluster has the basic speedometer, fuel gauge and a power reserve gauge in place of a tachometer. What this power reserve gauge shows is the percentage of engine power available to the driver. Most of the time the needle stays near the 100 percent mark. The best we could manage in the city was a 70 percent power reserve.

The last thing that struck me about the car was how easy it was to maneuver in traffic despite being more than 18-feet long. Life is made easy with sensors all around the extremities. In addition, strategically placed cameras give you an eagle-eye view of the car.

Coming back to the point I was making earlier about real estate being a precious commodity. You may pay 30 lacs over the smaller Ghost for the EWB, but at a starting price of Rs 3.05 crore, this car is a whole crore cheaper than the Phantom. For a Rolls Royce luxury meets Marwari miser sensibility, that’s a bargain.

 



Abhinav Mishra

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