Rolls Royce is one of the oldest car companies around. They first opened their doors in 1904, however, their first series production car didn’t come until 1906. It was at first called the 40/50 HP, because that is roughly the amount of power it produced.
The press however preferred to call it by its nick name, the “Ghost” or “Silver Ghost.” During its 20 year production run, Rolls Royce had produced 7874 examples of this model, making it one of the most successful cars in the company’s history.
Hoping to repeat the success of this classic, Rolls Royce launched an all new Ghost. The new Ghost is the entry-level model, placed under the Phantom line-up, but don’t think this entry level model is equivalent to a Hyundai Accent.
Oh no, in many ways, the Ghost is an equal match for the Phantom. While the Ghost may be 15-inches shorter than the Phantom, it is still 6-inches longer than a BMW 760iL. The Ghost is also quite wide, measuring close to 6.5-ft.
You certainly become aware of its size the very first time you take it out. I was handed the keys to one of the few Ghost currently in Canada , by the only Rolls Royce dealer in the country, Grand Touring Automobiles in downtown Toronto , On.
The roads close to the dealership are narrow, uneven and broken, and are typically infested with the worst drivers this city has to offer. So it was quite a tense first few minutes as I guided it out of town, giving it a wide birth and not attempting any quick maneuvers.
Once my nerves calmed a bit, I started noticing that this car rides these broken streets unlike anything I have ever driven before. These roads usually can rattle your fillings out, but in the Ghost, it was as if all the bumps and imperfections have been ironed out. Its ride quality is truly impressive.
Once out of town and onto the highway, I pointed it towards Barrie, On. to see how it handles a highway commute. This is also the place I first got to taste this cars most amazing feature, its engine. The Ghost gets a 6.6-liter, direct-injected, twin-turbo charged V12 that produces 563 hp and 575 lb/ft of torque. All this power goes to just the rear-wheels via a brand new eight-speed automatic gearbox.
All this grunt equates to a 0-100 km/h sprint in just 4.9 seconds, and onto a limited top speed of 250 km/h.
Numbers are one thing, but in reality its how it translates into real world performance is another. You’d think a Rolls Royce would be soft and serene, which the Ghost is too. But the moment you stab the throttle, it erupts forwards like it was launched by a steam catapult. It is truly, eye-openingly quick. It sounds good under full-throttle runs too, a trait never seen before on a Rolls Royce.
However, it still doesn’t pretend to be a sports car, because it’s not. That is why its transmission doesn’t feature any paddles for manually changing gears. It just asks you to give it more throttle input and it does the rest for you.
Splendid, but a Rolls Royce isn’t so much about speed as it is about comfort, and this one doesn’t fall short on that either. First of all, out on the highway, I engaged its adaptive cruise control which keeps it from bumping into the car that is ahead of you. If the car in front slows down, so would the Ghost. This system might be available in many other cars, but in the Ghost it works very seamlessly and works all the way down to a full stop. Very clever car this.
Then there are other goodies like night-vision camera, lane departure warning system, heads-up display, above view parking assist system and side-view cameras for when you’re trying to get a better view coming out of a junction. So be in no doubt, this is a very technological car.
All this before I even tell you about its luxury features like the heated and cooled seats with built in massagers, a wonderful entertainment system front and back and its panoramic sunroof. I should inform you that most of these features are an optional extra, hence the price on my test car went from a base of $275,000 to $342,000 with these and many more options, but hey! Its only money.
Before I knew, I was up in Barrie . Met some friends for lunch (they were all very impressed with the car) and then drove back down to Toronto .
The Ghost just eats away motorway miles with ease. The steering at high speeds feels great thus making lane changes in this 5400 lb car a cinch.
So it is a great car, but it’s not perfect. I wished the driver’s seat had more adjustments, but my biggest gripe is against its huge wing mirrors. Their position makes it very hard to spot pedestrians and other cars during left hand turns. So some extra care in needed while undertaking some maneuvers. Other than that, the car is flawless; afterall it even comes with its own umbrellas located in the front doors.
Some might say that other luxury cars offer the same type of gadgets and comfort for a whole lot less money, but that would be missing the point. A Rolls Royce is like a Cartier or Breitling watch. While many cheaper watches can do the same job, in the end, those who can afford get a certain satisfaction from owning a truly rare, hand-made piece. So while you might spot several Mercedes-Benz S-class or BMW 7-series in a day, a Rolls Royce is a rare and pleasant sight. So if you can afford to be different, you should put your name down for the Ghost quickly, since only 12 examples are coming to Canada each year.