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2011 Roll-Royce Ghost Review and Lovefest - VIDEO ENHANCED

2011 Roll-Royce Ghost  (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Roll-Royce Ghost

2011 Roll-Royce Ghost: 100 years of iconic tradition moves into the 21st Century

by Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

I was somewhat in a dilemma as to what to wear to an upcoming event. Was it appropriate to wear a tuxedo or would a dark suit be proper? The event was the opportunity to spend a couple days behind the wheel of a Rolls-Royce Ghost.

After speaking with Roll-Royce Executives who were visiting Chicago I learned I didn’t need the tux. As a matter of fact the dark suit wasn’t even necessary to measure up to driving the ultra-luxury Rolls-Royce Ghost with its $246,500 MSRP. It’s intended to be a daily-driver.

In Autumn 2006 at the Paris auto show Rolls-Royce Motor Cars announced that work had begun on a new model series, what was to be the Ghost. In the spring of 2008 Rolls-Royce released the first official sketches. The styling was instantly recognizable as a Rolls-Royce, although less traditional than previous models and somewhat more informal than the Phantom. A greater emphasis was to be placed on driving, according to Rolls-Royce.

As development vehicles appeared on the road, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars unveiled 200EX, the experimental forerunner to Ghost, at the Geneva motor show in March 2009. The more informal design was intended to broaden the appeal of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. In September 2009, the new Rolls-Royce Ghost was formally launched to the world.

2011 Roll-Royce Ghost  (select to view enlarged photo)

As described by Rolls-Royce, the Ghost’s flowing lines are dominated by its majestic ‘Yacht Line’ styling. Large, uninterrupted surfaces flow between finely sculpted horizontal lines that provide definition. Together, the upward-sweeping sill line and low-cut roof create a powerful profile, almost as though the cabin has been pushed toward the rear. Powerful shoulders and flanks draw in sharply as they flow from the rear wings to the tail lights, while touches such as the optional chromed exhausts hint at Ghost’s more dynamic nature.

Classic Rolls-Royce design cues are evident with the elevated nose or prow, long hood (bonnet), short front overhang, sharply raked A-pillar and elegant tail. Contemporary touches include self-righting wheel centers…the RR logo is always upright…and the Xenon headlamps that frame the latest evolution of the Rolls-Royce grille.

A contrasting Silver Satin finish is an option for the hood, grille and windshield surround. The finish is achieved by setting silver metallic paint under a layer of lacquer, giving a flawless matte finish.

2011 Roll-Royce Ghost  (select to view enlarged photo)

Prominently mounted atop the grille is the Spirit of Ecstasy that electronically retracts when the Ghost is parked and secured.

Inside Ghost, the interior has a contemporary ambiance while staying true to the iconic Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ traditions of fine materials and peerless comfort. There are elegant, frosted lamps and chrome door handles, traditional violin key switches and eyeball air vents, frosted white dials and refined instrumentation. Deep-pile carpets can be complemented by optional lambswool floor mats that provide a truly luxurious feel.

2011 Roll-Royce Ghost  (select to view enlarged photo)

The Ghost interior is very welcoming. Housed within the front doors are integrated Teflon-coated umbrellas. The rear doors are traditional, rear-hinged coach doors, opening to just shy of 90 degrees. Once the passenger is inside, these doors can be closed at the touch of a button. The interior space is filled with natural light, enhanced by the optional Panorama Sunroof, which extends from the front into the rear compartment.

Four-zone automatic air conditioning can be individually tailored to each passenger’s requirements, with separate controls for front and rear. Automatic air recirculation, condensation prevention and solar compensation are delivered through classic chromed eyeball vents controlled via organ-stop plungers.

Watch the Rolls-Royce Ghost promo video

There is a sense of not only elegance and comfort but also serenity and safeness coming from the high shoulder line and an intimate sense of privacy in the rear with the seating position behind the C-pillar.

Individual lounge seating is offered as an alternative. This allows the addition of a massage function and also perforated leather for a cooling stream of air from the seat surface. A cool box with interior illumination and integrated champagne glasses is also available.

Veneered picnic tables are another option, fitted to the rear of each front seat.

An audio system delivers 600 Watts of sound through a 10-channel amplifier and 16 speakers, including two floor-mounted subwoofers. USB and auxiliary inputs allow for the integration of external audio devices and a 12.5 GB hard drive enables storage of music files from USB or CD player sources.

An optional Theatre Configuration allows all settings that do not directly affect the driver to be controlled from the rear seat. The functions are displayed on two 9.2in LCD screens in the back of the front seats; these can be angled to suit the viewers by a central, armrest-mounted, rotary controller. The screens can be regulated independently of each other and the entertainment can also be listened to individually with headphones. A six-disc multi-media changer, mounted in the glove compartment, is a part of this option.

2011 Roll-Royce Ghost  (select to view enlarged photo)

Putting all the elegant wood, leather and chrome momentarily aside, the design and engineering of the steel monocoque body, the chassis components, the power train and bodywork are a renowned art form. The body has been engineered with a double front bulkhead to help insulate the interior from engine noise. It is constructed from steel sections and then wrapped in steel panels. The hood and windshield surround are aluminum.

Double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension work with an intelligent, four-cornered, air-suspension system and electronic variable damping. The air suspension system is so sensitive that it can detect even the movement of a single rear passenger from one side of the seat to the other and compensate accordingly. The air suspension system also incorporates a lift and kneel function that can raise or lower the car by 25 mm.

The latest and best in technology includes Anti-Roll Stabilization, Dynamic Brake Control and Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control and Cornering Brake Control.

Power is from a 6.6 liter twin-turbo V12 engine producing 563bhp – enough to propel Ghost from 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds and on to an electronically governed top speed of 155mph. With 575 lb-ft of torque, delivery of power is immediate and extremely smooth. The transmission is an eight-speed, shift-by-wire, automatic ZF gearbox.

This is the most powerful car that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has ever produced and the acceleration, quiet frankly, will raise the pulse of occupants. However, driving the Ghost is very serene and very comfortable. The instinct tells you to drive slowly and with ease. Keep your pulse low and enjoy the experience.

Watch TACH's exclusive RR Ghost Extended Wheelbase promo video

Although somewhat intimidating in a parking garage, rear, front side and top view cameras can combine to give a fish-eye view at blind junctions or provide ground images with obstacle recognition and reverse path prediction when parking.

Night Vision Camera with Pedestrian Recognition, Head-up display, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assistance and Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go are available.

The Ghost 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.

2011 Roll-Royce Ghost  (select to view enlarged photo)

One final note. A few days before my Ghost drive, the grand opening of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Gold Coast in Chicago was celebrated. “The Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro from Carlo’s Bakery of Hoboken, NJ was on hand with a unique custom cake to share with guests. Watch “The Cake Boss” TV series to see his special cake.

A last thought. Had my Rolls-Royce been the $385,000 Phantom I would have worn my tux and I believe it would have come also with a driver.

Larry Nutson

SEE ALSO: Rolls-Royce Buyers Guide
SEE ALSO Rolls-Royce 100 EX Concept Flutters Hearts (Oh Boy I'm In Love...Now I Just Have To Get Rich!) Published March 2 2004