2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost First Drive: Chauffeurs Need Not Apply

The British are well-known for his or her understatement, a lot so that you’d imagine it if I instructed you it was codified in widespread legislation. Rolls-Royce, essentially the most British of British automakers, treats understatement in reference to its merchandise with the identical reverence it treats the Spirit of Ecstasy that adorns them: the utmost. Six years in the past, Rolls-Royce launched the Ghost Series II, insisting it was a “delicate” replace. Now it presents us with a third-generation 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost (no “collection” appellation) described by a design motion Rolls-Royce itself made up: “put up opulence.”

A New Sharpness for the 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost’s Design

A lot as no Rolls-Royce is ever delicate, it’s by no means unopulent, both. However the brand new 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost is healthier thought of “put up ostentatious.” Opulence is mostly related to frivolity and extra. Ostentatiousness; that’s what Rolls-Royce is making an attempt to get previous—and the place it succeeds (measured, after all, within the context of $300,000 private autos). How? This Ghost is no less opulent by the strictest definition of the phrase, it’s merely extra critical. It’s extra dignified in design, in lodging, and in driving, however no much less lavish and extreme.

To my eye, the old Ghost’s biggest sin was its softness in design, its lack of presence within the shadow of the audacious however resolute Phantom. The softer traces, the much less aggressive posture, to me all the time learn as unserious, whimsical, and that simply isn’t what you consider whenever you consider a Rolls-Royce. Goodwood’s designers and I need to agree, as a result of the brand new Ghost suffers no such dilettantism. Small adjustments like transferring the entrance axle ahead, sharpening the creases, and flattening the surfaces make this Ghost much more assertive, extra imposing. More like the Phantom.

. . . And a New Sharpness to the Ghost’s Dynamics

This self-confidence is imposed on the driving expertise, as nicely. The outdated Ghost was the handler of the Rolls-Royce lineup, an admittedly straightforward bar to clear on the time when the outdated Phantom was designed to dispatch a nook at nothing lower than a extremely dignified tempo. In amping up the driving enchantment, although, some of the trademark Rolls-Royce isolation was lost, unrefined pavement sending unbecoming shimmies by means of the extremely modified BMW 7 Sequence chassis. No extra. The brand new Phantom significantly expanded its driving repertoire whereas sustaining its “magic carpet” experience, thus elevating the fence for the brand new Ghost.

Each at the moment are constructed on the unique “Structure of Luxurious,” which Rolls-Royce insists adamantly is not associated in any approach to the 7 Sequence, thanks very a lot. Doing so has had reciprocal advantages, with the Phantom gaining a few of the Ghost’s dynamic capabilities, and the Ghost gaining the Phantom’s refinements. Merely put, the Ghost handles higher than it ever has earlier than whereas concurrently driving higher than it ever has.

Though the Ghost has certainly all the time dealt with fairly nicely for a 5,400-pound sedan, there’s a brand new confidence to it, and there’s not the caveat. It was sufficient that the Ghost was surprisingly flat round a nook and turned in remarkably crisply. Thanks to classy all-wheel drive and rear-wheel steering, the 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost feels much less like an obedient servant and extra like a prepared accomplice. It enjoys a spirited drive fairly than merely enabling one. There’s a mature playfulness to it, a willingness to loosen its collar a bit. Clients dwelling within the Hollywood Hills or deep in Malibu, or some other house to genuinely fabulous driving roads will instantly admire the distinction. In spite of everything, Ghost house owners are the kind to drive themselves fairly than be chauffeured like Phantom house owners.

Doing so, they’ll discover the Ghost strikes very like the brand new Phantom, simply smaller. Acceleration is by the use of an ethereal power drawing the automotive ahead, one thing no different powertrain of any variety, combustion or electrical, can reproduce. There’s no gauche squatting or nostril lifting, it simply goes. Until you’re actually being naughty, the cheeky “Energy Reserve” meter by no means dips under 70 %, simply to remind you ways over-spec’d the automotive is. Braking is like driving into sand, then merely settling down onto the earth; it’s extremely straightforward to overbrake and cease far shorter than meant. Every part outperforms.

On the similar time, there’s much less compromise in experience high quality. Reasonably than shimmies all through the physique construction, highway blemishes now really feel just like the gaps within the tracks as your high-speed prepare glides throughout the countryside. Velocity bumps are optionally available, and potholes are solely to be averted lest they pop a tire. What you are feeling contained in the cabin appears to be there solely to remind you you’re driving a automotive and never fully remoted from the skin world.

The Particulars Add Up

The dearth of full and whole isolation is definitely by design. In an uncharacteristic second of boastfulness, Rolls-Royce engineers say they tried constructing a automotive that was fully silent inside, and prospects discovered it unnerving. Subsequently, they allowed a certain quantity of white noise again in. You additionally hear a little bit of engine throat-clearing at instances, the tender rustle of air speeding out of the vents, and a distant thrum of rubber on asphalt. What you don’t hear, fortunately, is the unbecoming wind noise across the door mirrors that marred the expertise within the final Ghost.



This deliberate inclusion of noise speaks to the route of the inside redesign, which mirrors that of the outside. Each selection feels deliberate and unrepentant, whimsy traded for directness. The outdated Ghost’s inside walked a tightrope of old-world design cues and designers’ makes an attempt to cover essential and fascinating fashionable know-how. The 2021 Ghost wastes little time making an attempt to cover fashionable know-how and craftsmanship, typically embracing them head on and forcing them to work collectively. Chopping the Ghost title into the dashboard and surrounding it with 850 hand-drilled stars, and backlighting the entire menagerie is a lot opulent, but it surely comes off as high-tech and funky, not ostentatious and boorish. The identical applies to the night time sky headliner with its customizable constellation of stars, together with taking pictures stars.

It isn’t simply appearances, although. That purposeful method to alter has resulted in lots of purposeful upgrades. All 4 doorways are absolutely electrically operable now, opening or closing. The fold-out picnic tables and multimedia tablets embedded within the entrance seat backs at the moment are motorized and conceal the tablets when not in use. Equally, the BMW iDrive–based mostly rotary controller for the rear seats now hides behind a wooden cowl when not in use. In entrance, the place the infotainment system and controller are each anticipated and essential to the car’s operation, they’re embraced fairly than hidden away.

That is a necessary theme of the fashionable Rolls-Royce. Make no effort to cover what doesn’t have to be hidden. Pull no punches. Meet the required straight on, and choose which options truly have to be out of sight. Discover methods to boost the luxurious expertise with out inhibiting performance or hiding issues unconvincingly. Decide your battles and win them decisively.

Since its debut, I’ve thought of the Ghost the Rolls-Royce for individuals not wealthy or refined sufficient to purchase the true factor, the Phantom. To me, it’s all the time been the Rolls-Royce for individuals who admire the marque however don’t actually get it.

It’s fallacious to keep up both of these beliefs with regards to the brand new 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost. It’s, even to this snob, an actual Rolls-Royce by means of and thru, and higher in each approach for it.

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost Specs
PRICE $332,500/$428,625 (base/as examined)
LAYOUT 4-door, 4-passenger, frong-engine, AWD sedan
ENGINE twin-turbo 6.7L/563 hp/627 lb-ft DOHC 48-valve V-12
TRANSMISSION 8-speed computerized
CURB WEIGHT 5,628 lb
WHEELBASE 129.7 in
L x W x H 218.three x 84.6 x 61.9 in
0-60 MPH 4.6 sec (est)

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