After almost a decade in production, Rolls-Royce has unveiled the second generation Ghost as the first dedicated all-new small model in years.
Incorporating the same silhouette as its predecessor, the new Ghost's styling is a clear evolution in that it comes with the same grille as the Phantom, new laser headlights with distinctive daytime running LEDs, a wraparound lower air intake that forms an upside down L, 20 LEDs located under the grille itself and sleeker taillights with the rear bearing some similarities with that of the now discontinued Bentley Mulsanne.
Made entirely out of aluminium, the Ghost is also brand-new underneath its suit in that it rides on a Rolls-Royce bespoke platform instead of utilising the underpinnings from the BMW 7 Series like before. Measuring 5 546 mm in overall length with a wheelbase of 3 295 mm, height of 1 571 mm and width of 2 148 mm, it is wider and longer than its predecessor and further equipped with an innovative suspension system.
A key aspect of the Ghost, the new Planer Suspension consists of a world first upper wishbone damper that works in conjunction with what Rolls-Royce calls a 'flagbearer' that uses a series of cameras and sensors to scan the road ahead in order to adjust the suspension accordingly. A design that has been developed and fine-tuned for over ten years, the Ghost, in yet another first, comes with rear-wheel-steering, a satellite aided ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel-drive, all controlled by the Planer system, as well as a development of the five-link rear axle and self-levelling air suspension struts.
Inside, the Ghost, true to its name, sports enhanced acoustics and insulation to keep the cabin free from engine and road noise. Aside from the chassis and single-piece aluminium body, more than 100 kg of noise drowning materials exists within the doors, roof, glazed windows and even the wheels, while items such as the seats have been reworked to obtain the desired frequency and even the air-conditioning ducting re-engineered after the original planned for usage was found to be too loud.
Fitted with electrically closing doors for the first time, the Ghost not only sports a new micro-environment purification system that is claimed to "detect ambient air quality [before] automatically switching fresh air intakes to Recirculation Mode if unacceptable levels of airborne contaminants are present", but also a model exclusive 18-speaker 1 300-watt Bespoke Sound surround sound system with an 18 channel amplifier and a magnesium ceramic compound speaker cone that are designed to work in conjunction with the new 152 LED Starlight Headliner to create a look and feel similar to a night sky with 850 stars.
As ever, a wide range of materials ranging from wood to leather are offered in various colours and textures, but for the first time, the 20 half hides used for the leather are subjected to what Rolls-Royce calls "exhaustive quality control checks to ensure that each of the 338 panels used, however visible, is of the very best quality".
In terms of in-car tech, the Ghost comes resplendent with Night Vision that detects pedestrians and animals, a four camera surround view system, a high resolution Heads-Up Display, Active Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Alertness Assistant, Lane Change Warning, Wi-Fi hotspots, Auto Park and BMW's latest 7.0 operating system.
Up front, the twin-turbocharged 6.75-litre V12 from the Phantom replaces the discontinued 6.6-litre bi-turbo V12 also used in the M760Li xDrive, but retuned to produce 420kW/820Nm with the latter available from as low as 1 600 rpm. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h with the 0-100 km/h sprint dispatched in 4.8 seconds despite the 2 553 kg kerb weight.
Going on sale towards the end of this year, expect the Ghost to waft into South Africa next year with a starting price of more than the current model's R6 499 000.
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