I think every girl deserves a Cinderella moment once in their lives, especially if they find one that fits like a magic slipper. For me, I was lucky enough to experience this when Rolls-Royce invited me to be one of the first to test drive the New Ghost – a car that felt as though it had been custom-made just for me.
Quite often, when one thinks of the word “luxury,” one invariably conjures up dream-like notions of the best that money can buy, the finest materials, and the very best craftsmanship. With the launch of the New Ghost by Rolls-Royce, the marque is definitely tapping into a dream-like state of mind, because this car is nothing short of a masterclass in how to design the ultimate in automotive luxury.
Driving the New Ghost through the bucolic beauty of the Sussex Downs countryside, I was astonished to feel how light and smooth this car is to drive. Rolls-Royce has definitely captured the sheer simplicity of what being behind the wheel of a car should be all about – just enjoying the drive, enhanced by the pure elegance of the motor itself. If you’re looking for understated but true luxury, the Rolls-Royce New Ghost has it in spades.
For those who know their Rolls, it’s probably worth noting that everything about this car is different from the outgoing model, save the Spirit of Ecstasy sitting proudly on the bonnet, and the umbrella holders in the doors. Apart from those two things, everything else has been completely re-designed from the ground up.
Rolls-Royce says that the New Ghost is its most technically advanced model ever, but what really sets this car apart is its design. It’s easy to understand why it took six years to come to fruition, when you learn the meticulous process that was undertaken in order to achieve the smooth perfection of its lines. Rolls-Royce Designer Henry Cloke explained the process to me. “A car is made by joining the sides of the car to the roof,” he said. “The reason you have no disruption with the New Ghost and that you can read the fluidity from the bottom of the car, all the way over the roof and continuing to the back and beyond the rear lamp, is because when this car is made, it’s four people working simultaneously to weld the roof to the sides – and they’ve actually hand-finished it, which is why you can no longer see any seam at all. There’s that level of craft and that level of work that has to go into it, that means we can’t actually see that seam at all.”
If Rolls-Royce seems to be looking to go the extra mile for their customers with this car, it’s because their customers are the ones who inspired it. “When we were first trying to establish what the character of the car should be, we were looking to answer all the comments and questions we’ve had from our clients,” Cloke tells me. “On this car in particular, it is to have an almost restrained and less opulent way of owning a Rolls-Royce. Our clients wanted something with real substance to it, but not any kind of overt statement.”
Speaking about the New Ghost when compared to the original 2009 Goodwood Ghost, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said that, “Our clients expressed a desire for something even more refined, even less ostentatious – a car with a minimalist design ethic, simple and distilled – but still, in every respect, a true Rolls-Royce. And so our design team set to work. They removed all unnecessary design embellishments and they erased superfluous detail on both the interior and exterior of New Ghost. Then our engineers completely reconfigured our Rolls-Royce architecture.”
It’s a whole new design aesthetic, but it’s one that works – this car is stunning! “It looks clean and elegant,” Cloke agrees. “The cleanliness of the design was really important to us – so that it doesn’t ever look fussy or complicated. It should look effortless.”
This car does not just look effortless – it is effortless to drive too, surprisingly so when you consider that it is five metres long, and two and a half tonnes of solid machinery! The New Ghost is fuelled by a 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 engine, not that you especially notice when you’re sat inside it. The interior components are tuned to a specific resonant frequency, all creating a sense of serenity. In every single way, the New Ghost is just sublime.
Naturally enough, it is perhaps Müller-Ötvös who best sums up the New Ghost: “In today’s world, where many people are seeking increased simplicity, refinement and restraint, this Rolls-Royce fits perfectly with the zeitgeist of our times. It’s quite simply Ghost – and nothing more.”