Absolutely on time, as expected within the world of aristocracy, here comes the Rolls-Royce “princess”. It was fist announced, early this year by the “200EX” traditional number-and-suffix lettering at the Geneva Motor Show. Now it is ready to make its official appearance with the name of “Ghost”. The name has a long tradition and deep meaning at Rolls-Royce; however, the 2009 Ghost is really something you want to see. When you have this chance, her most striking character impress you from the very beginning: how simple, beautiful and elegant it is, despite its unusual length. Indeed, Ian Cameron, Chief Designer of Rolls-Royce, stresses that “Simplicity is the hardest design principle to follow.” in presenting the latest delivery of his team of very talented designers.
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.
While incorporating classic Rolls-Royce design cues – the elevated prow, long bonnet, short front overhang, sharply raked A-pillar and elegant tail – Ghost exudes an informal aura. Contemporary touches include self-righting wheel centres and the Xenon headlamps that frame the latest evolution of the Rolls-Royce grille. Here the sides of the intake have been curved inwards and the vanes set back into the opening. “We wanted this to be less reminiscent of the traditional Parthenon style and more like a jet intake,” says Ian Cameron.
A contrasting Silver Satin finish (introduced on 200EX) is an option for the bonnet, grille and windscreen surround. The finish is achieved by setting silver metallic paint under a layer of lacquer, giving a flawless matte finish. The bonnet and windscreen surround are then honed from aluminum.
The central principle of delivering simplicity out of complexity runs throughout Ghost. Everything is designed, engineered and crafted to enhance the drive and ride experience, not to complicate it.
Ghost rides on a bed of air. Double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension work with an intelligent, four-cornered, air-suspension system and electronic variable damping to deliver the refinement that has been associated with Rolls-Royce for more than 100 years.
The new air suspension system in Ghost is so sensitive that it can detect even the smallest of changes. For example, it will sense the movement of a single rear passenger from one side of the seat to the other and compensate accordingly. A complex computer system reads multiple inputs from sensors around the car; the dampers alone make individual load calculations every 2.5 milliseconds. This ensures not only perfect comfort but also precise steering and dynamics for the driver. The air suspension system also incorporates a lift and kneel function, raising or lowering Ghost by 25mm.
The interior design team has come up with a contemporary ambience while staying true to 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 lambs wool floor mats for a truly luxurious feel.
Charles Coldham, Interior Designer stresses that “Ghost is as refined and cosseting as anything this company has ever produced.”
While Ghost is 400mm shorter overall than the Phantom saloon its interior space is comparable.
Driver and passengers, enter into Ghost through substantial doors. Housed within the front doors are integrated Teflon-coated umbrellas. The rear doors are traditional, rear-hinged coach doors, opening to a generous 83 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.
Within Ghost’s ample doors and high shoulder line, occupants feel serene, cosseted and safe.
In the rear, the intimate ambience of the lounge seat is emphasized by its position behind the C-pillar, heightening the sense of privacy. The informal seating creates a convivial environment, its slight curve allowing you to turn more easily towards the person next to you. Its elevated position gives a clear view past the electronically retracting Spirit of Ecstasy to the road ahead.
Individual lounge seating is offered as an alternative to the standard lounge configuration. 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, incorporating the finest leather and veneers matched to the rest of Ghost’s interior. Fitted to the rear of each front seat, these tables are a traditional Rolls-Royce design cue and finished with a veneered surface with leather-covered backs.
A modern Rolls-Royce.
Ghost is the most powerful car that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has ever produced. However, Rolls-Royce power is delivered in a very different manner to other cars. It arrives in an elegant, cosseting way that some have described as being designed to lower the pulse, not raise it.
The principle of simplicity extends to the act of driving Ghost. The host of complex engineering software and technologies beneath the surface serve to make driving easier and more enjoyable, not to intrude or confuse.
Ghost is powered by a brand new, 6.6 litre twin-turbo V12 engine, unique to the model. Featuring direct injection, it produces 563bhp – enough to propel Ghost from 0-60 mph in just 4.7 seconds* and on to an electronically governed top speed of 155mph. With 780 Nm of torque available at just 1,500rpm, delivery of power is immediate and extremely smooth.
“A Rolls-Royce should be graceful in every way: the way it handles, feels and brakes.”
says Helmut Riedl, Engineering Director.