Post by Roadrunner on Mar 21, 2017 22:42:31 GMT
Rolls Royce Ghost
Rolls-Royce announced the Ghost in 2009 as a more ‘real-world’ alternative to the rather indulgent Phantom, so it would be interesting to compare the two in a back-to-back test. The Ghost’s styling is less controversial than the Phantom’s but while it is still unmistakably a Rolls-Royce, my opinion is that it lacks the visual drama and classic RR styling cues which make the Phantom stand out. Perhaps this is deliberate, in order to make the Ghost appear less ostentatious than the Phantom.
The frontal styling incorporates a new RR grille which is blended into the bodywork. This gives the car a more modern appearance, but has upset RR traditionalists. ‘My’ car featured the contrast bonnet option which, in my opinion, suits the car very well. The all over grey car alongside looked dull in comparison.
The Ghost sits lower than the Phantom, but climbing onboard is still very easy. The cabin is recognisably from the same stable as the Phantom, but even more simple and unfussy.
The quality of the materials used appears to be of the same superlative standard and the blending of modern styling with traditional wood and leather has been carried off with great success, a rare event nowadays.
The now familiar chrome button fires a 6.6-litre V12 into life. Twin turbos enable this engine to produce 563 BHP and 575 lb ft of torque; so the smaller car has the more powerful engine. And it does feel smaller, too. While still clearly a large car, the Ghost feels much more ‘normal’ than the Phantom as I thread it between the parked cars along Paulerspury High Street, making my way to the A5. What little sound the engine does emit is very similar to the Phantom and in keeping with the car’s character. Remembering how effortlessly quick the Phantom was, I expected great things from the Ghost and was not disappointed. The official figures state a governed maximum speed of 155 MPH and 0-60 acceleration in just 4.7 seconds, one second less than the Phantom. It is indeed devastatingly quick. Still effortless, but providing more drama than the Phantom, in keeping the Ghost’s more sporting image. Where the Phantom delivers its massive thrust in a way that its passengers might not fully notice, the Ghost, while still performing quietly, effortlessly and with plenty of power in reserve, provides more sensation that we are defying the laws of physics in propelling a 2435 kg car down the road with supercar urgency. This is going to be fun...
The B-road blast confirms this as the sports car of the range. Straight away I feel more involved and (encouraged by the RR salesman sat alongside) even more willing to ‘drive it like I stole it’. From straight, to bend to next straight, to next bend and so on, I push harder and harder and the Ghost just shrugs off the twists, turns and bumps until I am grinning and giggling like a child with a new toy. The ride is firmer, but not uncomfortable, although Sir’s gin and tonic would be well and truly splashed all over rear compartment by now. Remember how I stated that the Phantom was a very easy car to drive? Well this is even easier. Within moments it felt like I was completely at home in the Ghost and fully confident to press on down any road. I am getting more feedback through the thicker rimmed steering wheel and it seems that it would take an act of sheer lunacy to loose control on the dry tarmac.
There was thing I did notice, but couldn’t quite put my finger upon, until the RR chap explained that the steel bodied Ghost was not as rigid as the aluminium Phantom. That was it. On corrugated roads, compared to the Phantom, I was able to detect some very slight movement in the Ghost’s structure. To say wobble or flex would be going much too far, but there was just something which made it feel not quite as granite solid as the Phantom. I am sure that compared to any other car of its size, being driven in a hooligan fashion down a bumpy road, it would compare very well.
Time to take my place in the back seat and be driven back in a much less spirited fashion, by a rather more elderly Club member. The rear compartment is entered via rear hinged ‘coach doors’, as on the Phantom, which are closed from inside by pressing a button on the door pillar.
Again, the seat is extremely comfortable and I have every possible luxury at my fingertips, with some controls on the rear centre armrest.
The ride is smooth and comfortable, but noticeably firmer than in the Phantom. Surprisingly so, in fact. If I were looking for a chauffeur driven car, then I would have no hesitation in choosing the Phantom over the Ghost. The ride in the rear of the Ghost would shame most cars, but it is not as good as the magic carpet ride in the Phantom.
So, back to club HQ and time to sum up. While sharing a lot of RR character, the Phantom and Ghost are two very different cars to drive. Driving the Phantom is a special occasion. Its sublime comfort while delivering rapid pace and impeccable road manners makes it the choice for long distance continental cruising. The Ghost is a more involving and a more ‘normal’ car to drive; the clear choice if you want set a personal best time from A to B while grinning uncontrollably all the way.