Westchester County Airport in the leafy Connecticut/New York border area was the site of a first drive for Rolls-Royce’s newest car, which North American spokesman Gerry Spahn said could account for 20% to 50% of the brand’s sales, possibly even eclipsing the current sales leader, the Cullinan SUV. In 2019, BMW had the best year in 116 years, with sales up more than 25% and 5,152 units moved worldwide. North America is the most important market. The all-new Ghost, debuting last September, is sure to add to the momentum.
The first-generation of the Goodwood Ghost (the Silver Ghost is much older) debuted in 2009, and has proven popular. CEO Torsten Müller–Ötvös says the company built that car when clients “asked for a slightly smaller, less ostentatious means to own a Rolls-Royce.” The 2021 Ghost continues the theme. It’s a driver’s car, though there’s an extended wheelbase version (5.9 inches longer, all of it in the rear compartment) that’s mostly aimed at China and the Middle East. A divider window is optional, though not in North America.
The price of Ghost entry is US$332,500, and Spahn said that most early orders are for cars optioned into the low US$400,000s. Is this the affordable Rolls-Royce? It’s even possible, in some quarters, to lease this car for about US$4,000 a month. As tested, in Arctic White, with options including picnic tables, deep lambswool floor mats, bespoke audio, and a central cooling chamber, the Ghost was US$424,350.
The new Ghost offers 563 horsepower, as the old one did, but torque on this 6.75-liter, twin-turbocharged version of BMW’s V-12 has been upgraded from 575 pound-feet to 627. Gears are swapped via an eight-speed automatic. On the road, acceleration was rapid and passing power on tap, without being overly dramatic about it. A zero-to-60 run of 4.6 seconds should be possible.
Above all, the Ghost is (as the name implies) quiet. This is the post-opulence Rolls-Royce, with an emphasis on non-ostentatious craftsmanship and the occupants’ well being, rather than pasha levels of highly visible luxury. Spahn points out the acres of perfect hide on the doors, where every blemish would show up. Quieting things down is aided by the inherent properties of the aluminum space frame. Much of the glass, including the windshield is double-skinned, as are the bulkhead and floor sections, with special composite damping felts sandwiched between. The seat frames have their own damping units, and there are invisible ports in the rear parcel shelf—all to control components that were resonating at different frequencies. The interior of the air-conditioning ducts had “unacceptable” levels of wind noise, so a polishing stage creates less turbulence.
Owners who really want to stretch out in the back will choose the extended-wheelbase version, but the standard Ghost has rear legroom to spare, even with the front seats extended. A screen and picnic tables have their own power controls, and rear climate is also controllable. The back seat also reclines, and passengers can select heat, cooling, or massage. The boot is gigantic, and the doors are power operated. And the Starlight Headliner is still on board, but it will be customizable, and now there’s also an illuminated fascia with 152 LEDs and 90,000 laser-etched dots to disperse the light evenly. Fuel economy is 14 miles per gallon combined.
Article source: Penta