“Would you prefer to drive the car or to be chauffeured?”
“I’d like to be chauffeured”, I wrote back to the PR, because a Rolls-Royce, I believe, is best experienced from the passenger’s seat. Also, I haven’t driven a car in a while, and the marque’s new Ghost Extended is just about the size of the Phantom. In other words, it’s a beast.
The new Ghost measures a little under 5.8 metres in length, with a 170mm longer wheelbase than its predecessor. All this extra space predominantly goes to the rear, “providing more rear legroom than any four-seat sedan”, says Rolls-Royce in a press release. “New Ghost is the result of in-depth dialogue with Rolls-Royce’s diverse and global customer base,” adds Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Many of them asked the marque to create a motor car that provides the indulgence of enhanced rear space with no compromise to driving dynamics.”
Inside – as you’ll expect of the cars that come out of Goodwood in England – is lavish to the point of ludicrous. The leather upholstery is supple and buttery-soft. The wood trims are gorgeous. The carpet feels like soft, fluffy clouds on bare feet. Metal accents are polished and impeccable. But true luxury is what you don’t see; it is felt. Said to be the most technologically advanced motor car Rolls-Royce has ever made, the new Ghost’s real opulence lies in its smattering of hi-tech features that cocoon inhabitants in utter comfort and tranquility.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you slide into the palatial cabin is the reclining Serenity Seat, which is equipped with a range of massage options. Hidden in between the rear thrones is a champagne fridge with two cooling modes, chilling to six degrees (non-vintage) and 11 degrees (vintage). In keeping with this germaphobic times, the Ghost Extended features a new Micro-Environment Purification System (MEPS) to detect ambient air quality and remove nearly all ultra-fine contaminants within the cabin in less than two minutes. Each door (rear-hinged coach style) also has its own power assistance for effortless handling in and out of the car.
What Rolls-Royce calls a “Magic Carpet Ride” is no understatement; the Ghost Extended practically levitates over the road. Built with the Planar Suspension System, it boasts a world-first Upper Wishbone Damper unit for shock absorption and stability, as well as cameras that help the suspension to adapt to any changes in road surfaces in real time. In motion, the interior suite is library-quiet, thanks to the marque’s expert acoustic engineering that suppresses and adjusts noise from outside of the vehicle, from the air conditioning and even from the drivetrain hardware – resulting in a harmonious “whisper”, a soft, single-note lullaby. And if you’re sharp or look long enough, you’ll also catch a random shooting star that crosses the light-studded roof of the car.
This near-silent ambience sets the stage for the excellent sound system to shine. A resonance chamber is incorporated into the body’s sill section, essentially transforming the car into a subwoofer. State-of-the-art audio optimisation and high-precision magnesium-ceramic compound speaker cones deliver crisp, surround sound for an immersive cinematic experience. High-definition touchscreens can be accessed from each of the front seat backs for shows and controls of the car’s stereo systems.
Prodigious power comes in the form of the 6.75-litre, 563bhp twin-turbocharged V12 with an all-wheel steer, all-wheel drivetrain. Combined with the marque’s hallmark “Magic Carpet Ride” and by virtue of its sheer weight (close to 2.5 tonnes), this is a car that should be equally enjoyable to drive as it is to be driven in.
(All images: Rolls-Royce)