Scared of robots? JLR hopes a series of lights will help you cross the road in the future
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£231,980 when new
Pity the minted entrepreneur. Previously the luxury car choice was glaringly easy - just choose the spec of Rolls Phantom. But now they’ve got a genuine conundrum on their hands; Rolls-Royce has just launched an Extended Wheelbase Ghost. So do you get this car, the normal Phantom, or even the EWB Phant? It’s enough to make you choke on your caviar. Superficially, they all seem to be doing the same job, but Rolls does have a point. It says that Ghost buyers are a lot younger than Phantom customers - by about 10 years - but we shouldn’t assume they don’t value rear legroom. Apparently there’s demand for a Ghost with double the amount of rear knee room, in a package that’s not quite as ostentatious as the Phantom. So what are the differences between standard Ghost and long Ghost? Well, the EWB gains 170mm in the wheelbase, but because the rear doors are only 35mm longer than the fronts, it doesn’t look out of proportion. What this extra length translates into is a cavernous cabin, which gives the Ghost more usability than, say, a super-luxury mobile office. Which is exactly what it is: the rear space comes with a wi-fi hotspot (£1,224), as well as electrically-adjustable seats (£3,867), full DVD kit (£4,030) and two picnic tables (£1,846). And the usual shagpile carpet thick enough to lose small children in. OK, so it’s not as big inside or outside as the Phantom (EWB Ghost is 5569mm long, the EWB Phantom is 6084mm), but, honestly, you’ll never, ever complain. And, apart from anything else, it’s actually slightly more manageable on the UK’s streets. Slightly. This Ghost weighs in at 2360kg, which is a 60kg gain over the basic car. The twin-turbo V12 engine hasn’t changed, so with 563bhp and 575lb ft it now sprints from 0-62mph in five seconds. Or 0.1 seconds slower than standard. Big deal. This is still a quick car; as you approach the Ghost EWB, you could never imagine that something this size could manage that much speed. The outright pace is endlessly surprising. But the Ghost’s engine is so smooth and the power delivery so seamless that it gains speed with minimal drama. Water flows with more vibration than this.
The same metaphor applies to the ride quality. You don’t so much drive the Ghost as waft pleasantly along, isolated from the world by the air suspension. The system is so sensitive that it can tell if someone in the back moves from one side of the car to the other, and will adjust itself accordingly. It’s deeply impressive. Which means the Ghost EWB is possibly the perfect Rolls product. Yes, it’s £25,000 more than the standard Ghost, but the bigger rear makes you feel more upmarket without being more flash. A subtle Rolls? Just about.
£229,360 – £288,345
Huge, hugely comfortable, hugely luxurious and hugely expensive
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New Flying Spur is at last the car it should always have been - finally a viable, super-luxury alternative to the S-Class
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Nothing in life is perfect but the Phantom gets close. An imperious, impeccably engineered automotive experience.