Although the Ghost is Rolls-Royce's smallest and least expensive sedan, the average bystander wouldn't think it. With a starting price of $245,000 and a twin-turbo V-12 under the hood, it competes with the likes of a Bentley Continental Flying Spur, or perhaps a well-accessorized Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG.
New For 2011
There are no significant changes for 2011.
Though stately by anyone's standards, the Ghost's lines are sleeker than the brand's larger, more upright Phantom sedan. The size comparisons, of course, are all relative: At 212.6 inches long, the Ghost stretches more than 10 inches past most minivans.
A retracting Spirit of Ecstasy statuette sits on the hood, while the rear-hinged doors can power shut at the touch of a backseat button. The front doors have storage nooks with Teflon-coated umbrellas, and the grille, windshield frame and hood can come finished in lacquered silver paint. Nineteen- and 20-inch wheels are available, with self-righting centerpieces that display Rolls-Royce's double-R logo right-side up no matter the position of the wheel.
Up front, the dashboard is an imposing array of wood and chrome. There's an iDrive-like controller that shows the influence of Rolls-Royce owner BMW, but other similarities are few. Technological features include a navigation system with graphics similar to BMW's latest version of iDrive, a head-up display and a 16-speaker stereo with full USB/iPod integration.
The Ghost's recessed backseat sits well behind the door openings, meaning many passengers would require a hand to make a graceful exit. Two- and three-seat rear configurations can be ordered. Both rows of seats feature leather from cows raised in fields free of barbed wire to minimize imperfections in the leather. Each car's wood inlays come from the same tree to ensure consistent coloration as the wood ages.
Under the Hood
The Ghost's twin-turbocharged 6.6-liter V-12 makes 563 horsepower and 575 pounds-feet of torque. Working through an eight-speed automatic transmission, the engine can propel the car to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, Rolls-Royce says. Other sedans may be quicker, but at 5,445 pounds, the Ghost is only 500 pounds short of many full-size SUVs.
Antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system are all standard. So are front-, side-impact and side curtain airbags.