The new Rolls-Royce Ghost: a car for the “post-opulent” generation
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The new Rolls-Royce is the brand’s most technologically advanced ever, equipped with a twin-turbo, 6.75 litre, 12-cylinder engine and camera-controlled Planar suspension for a “magic carpet” ride, and, with extras added, will leave buyers with little (or no) change from £300,000.
Unlike the earlier, BMW-based car, the new Ghost has been designed from the ground up, with only the Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet mascot and the on-board umbrellas being carried over from its predecessor.
It gets Rolls-Royce-designed aluminium underpinnings, all-wheel-drive, all-wheel steering, a hand-built and “seamless” alloy body and a satellite-controlled transmission that reads the road ahead in order to select the perfect gear for the conditions.
On the road, it feels uncannily nimble, with the quaint power reserve meter – a Rolls-Royce signature – indicating that a mere 20 per cent of the mighty engine’s available surge is required in order to sustain speeds at the legal limit.
According to Rolls-Royce’s “luxury intelligence unit”, owners want a car more in keeping with today’s “post-opulence” movement. In terms of the interior, that translates into the “luxury” of silence. A twin-skinned roof and bulkhead, combined with more than 100kg of insulation stuffed inside the doors, roof, headlining, tyres and even between the double-glazed windows, ensures voices need never be raised above a normal, conversational level, regardless of how much speed increases.
Even the inside of the air-conditioning ducting has been polished to further quieten things down, after acoustic engineers discovered that using a conventional set-up created a disturbing level of turbulence – although, finding out that total silence could lead to a feeling of disorientation, those same engineers decided a slight whisper of sound should be allowed to remain.
The interior air required to sustain a life of luxury can, however, be cleansed to perfection within two minutes by the Ghost’s new microwave-environment purification system that automatically detects contaminants and eliminates them through a nano-fleece filter.
There are also new, power-assisted doors fitted with internal gyroscopes to ease getting in and out when one’s chauffeur is proving a bit slow off the mark, while a 507-litre boot will swallow whole even the largest of monogrammed suitcases.
It’s undoubtedly sleeker and more minimalist than its predecessor. But post-opulent? Now that might be taking it a little bit far.