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2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost Drive Review By Larry Nutson


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Refined Aesthetic

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel


The opportunity to experience driving a Rolls-Royce is indeed rare. Just about ten years ago I drove the new, back then, 2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost. That was the first Goodwood Ghost.

The Ghost came about in response to a whole new generation of clients, both in age and attitude. The Ghost is a smaller, more approachable four-door saloon that moves beyond the older image of the flagship Rolls-Royce Phantom.


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Now in early spring 2021 I am again finding myself about to sit behind the wheel and experience the completely new 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost. I would have a weekend to experience and enjoy luxury, refinement and the Rolls-Royce Magic Carpet Ride.

Ghost is the oldest name in the marque’s 116-year history. Ghost honors the Silver Ghost, a car first produced in 1906. In this new form Ghost now is a flawless example of the craftsmanship used in Rolls-Royce production and is meant to be owner-driven.

Ghost embodies 21st-century Rolls-Royce: more than 100 years of engineering and design excellence expressed in modern and uncompromised style.

The brief for the Ghost design team refers to tracking an emerging movement that will come to define Ghost’s aesthetic treatment. It informed of a shifting attitude among Ghost clients in the way success is expressed. Named ‘Post Opulence’ internally, it is characterised by reduction and substance. In service to this, exceptional materials must be selected and celebrated. Design must be limited, intelligent and unobtrusive. This philosophy is the antithesis of ‘premium mediocracy’, a term coined by the fashion cognoscenti.

The new 2021 Ghost is technologically advanced with its all-aluminum architecture and body, all-wheel drive, four-wheel steering and powerful 563-hp twin-turbo 6.75L V12 mated to a satellite aided ZF 8-speeed automatic gearbox.

The only components that were carried over from the first Goodwood Ghost were the Spirit of Ecstasy…the hood mascot, and the umbrellas.


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The distinguished front end of the Ghost features its characteristic radiator grille that is illuminated by 20 LEDS underneath its top that subtly illuminate the veins. The four doors, with rear coach doors being hinged at the rear, have an equally proportioned window shape. This is a gesture that the new Ghost is both owner-driven and chauffeur-driven.


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The interior cabin or suite is “furnished” with a view to emerging designs and minimalist principles. There are no gizmos, gadgets or ornate touches. The very finest leathers, woods and metals are left unembellished. Each of the 20 half hides used to create the interior suite of new Ghost are subject to the most exhaustive quality control checks to ensure that each of the 338 panels used is of the very best quality.


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Coach doors that close at the touch of a button and open with a power assist, rear seat picnic tables that lower and raise at the push of a button, lambswool foot mats, a heated passenger surround, ventilated front and rear seats, rear massage seats, umbrellas stored in the rear doors all make for delightful motoring.

Not to be overlooked is the up lit “Spirit of Ecstasy” grille ornament that is electrically retracted when the car is turned off and locked.


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Rolls-Royce is all about bespoke. There are 4,400 colors in their palate. What interior color scheme and headliner would you like? The first year’s production will all be commissioned by their buyers each with a unique combination of bespoke features and design choices.

The passenger side of the fascia is illuminated with 850 stars lit by 152 LEDs and the Ghost name. Both are visible when the interior lights are on. The Shooting Star Starlight Headliner has pinholes of lights the appear as the night sky.


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As mentioned, I would have the Ghost for a weekend. Around our Chicago home my wife and I did a few usual errands such as shop groceries, visit a pharmacy, stop in at my wife’s favorite flower shop and dine alfresco at a local restaurant. A Rolls-Royce turns “everyone’s” head. We felt a bit conspicuous.

To fully enjoy and appreciate the Ghost we took a day trip of about 170 miles round trip to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. We drove a highway route to our destination, followed by luncheon at a lakeside restaurant, a walk through the historic resort town and a return route using local, lower speed state roads. At our lunch stop, parking lot conversation with the curious abounded. This made for an all-around good day and a great experience in the Ghost.


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By the numbers the 5,629 lb. Ghost with its 563-hp will hit 60 mph from stop in 4.6 seconds. Top speed is 155mph. EPA ratings (if you care) are 12 city mpg and 19 highway mpg. The all-wheel steering makes for easy maneuvering of its 219-inch length.

The satellite aided transmission “anticipates” the road ahead and needed powertrain response. A world-first Upper Wishbone Damper unit above the front suspension assembly creates a stable and effortless ride. This works alongside the Flagbearer system, which uses cameras to read the road ahead and prepare the suspension system for any changes in road surface.

The 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost has an MSRP of $332,500. The Ghost I drove was commissioned with bespoke choices, optional features, finishes and equipment totaling $102,375. Add in the $2,600 gas-guzzler charge and $2,750 for destination & handling and the full retail price totaled $440,225.

Happy motoring!

© 2021 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy