Rolls Royce has long been at the forefront of luxury automobiles. Indeed, the name is frequently used to describe something as the best in its class, such is the reputation of the company. Having been building top quality, luxury motorcars for over a century it is no surprise that the current Rolls Royce Ghost is regarded as one of the – if not the – finest cars available. However, many critics will point to the high prices and suggest cheaper options offering the same level of luxury and sophistication. It raises the question – is the Rolls Royce Ghost the best car in the world, or is it an over-rated, expensive relic relying on a famous name to survive?
Luxury in Silence – The Rolls Royce Promise
Clichés abound wherever the Rolls Royce name is mentioned, and perhaps most famous of all is that the only sound you can hear when at speed in one is the ticking of the clock. These days the clock is unlikely to tick, yet the car itself is still as quiet as ever. Fears of a change in attitude when the brand was sold to BMW in the latter part of the 20th century have gone unfounded: the Ghost is undoubtedly a Rolls Royce, and the image is exemplified by that famous, iconic radiator grille, topped with the legendary Spirit of Ecstasy. Smooth, perfect ride and superb performance are Rolls Royce attributes, and they are in fine supply with the Ghost.
It is easy to dismiss such big, heavy cars as relics of the past, but this is a car replete with the most up to date technology. It simply bristles with 21st century advances and offers everything the motorist could want. Of course, many Rolls Royce owners sit in the back, employing a chauffeur to drive the car, and it is a lucky chauffeur who is paid to drive one of these!
Imposing Looks – A Rolls Royce Tradition
Every Rolls Royce – from the earliest cars in the Edwardian period through to the latest models – has been designed to be seen. You want everyone to know you have a Rolls Royce, so designing the car to blend into the background would make little sense. The Rolls Royce Ghost – a name that first appeared with the legendary Silver Ghost as early as 1906 – is no exception, and stands out in any crowd. It is a big vehicle with simple, clean lines, with hints of famous models from the company’s past combined with the sensuous curves that are popular in current car design. It is difficult to apply the word ‘beautiful’ to the Ghost, but then it is designed to make an impact, not to win a beauty contest.
Nevertheless, it is a good looking car, and one that looks infinitely better in the flesh. The Rolls Royce Ghost invites you to climb in and enjoy the experience, and it certainly is worth the effort. Massaging seats, fitted umbrellas, beautiful trimming with luxurious materials and integrated tables and even glasses mark the interior out as a moving boardroom; this is a car that not only means, but offers, business. Underneath the skin there is still more to be discovered, and some of it may alarm the purist.
Stunning Technology For The 21st Century Ghost
Driving a Rolls Royce Ghost is a pleasure, as it should be, thanks to some superb technology employed within the car. Starting with the engine, a version of the much vaunted BMW V12, 6.6 litre twin-turbocharged unit, we can see that this is no throwback to the past. The engine is a colossal unit and delivers a more than sufficient 563bhp (the days when Rolls Royce, by tradition, did not reveal power outputs – too vulgar! – are long gone) that propels the car to an electronically limited 155mph (250kp/h). That it can also heave this big car to 60mph (97km/h) in less than five seconds is amazing. The silence promised is somewhat over-ridden when pushing the car hard, but at cruising speeds there is no noise from the engine within the cabin. The technology continues thus: the car features a head up display, lane departure warning systems, a panorama sunroof, night vision systems and more. This is a tour de force in automotive luxury, a stunning vehicle that really is among the best in the world.
The Ghost Versus The World
But, and it is a big but, is the Rolls Royce Ghost the best car in the world? If you are looking for a luxury vehicle and can afford to pay the £170,000 ($255,000) that a new one would set you back you have plenty of choice. Many will tell you the Mercedes Benz S-class offers the very best in luxury motoring. The top of the range S600 will cost you around £120,000 ($185,000), undercutting the Ghost by a massive amount. It is not, however, a Rolls Royce. Some might suggest you take a look at the more exclusive Maybach, but this will soon cease to be produced as it has proved a difficult product for its makers (actually Mercedes Benz) to sell. The top of the range BMW’s are seen as too lightweight for Rolls Royce’s potential owners, but there is another contender, on that has close historical links to the Rolls Royce Ghost.
The Bentley Mulsanne is that car, and it must be the closest competitor to the Rolls Royce range. More expensive than the Ghost by around £50,000 ($77,000), the Mulsanne even looks similar, and offers comparable performance, luxury and technology to its rival. It is difficult to separate the two, but at the price it is hard to look away from the Rolls Royce. It is quite possible that the Rolls Royce Ghost is the best car in the world, and it is a certainty that is ranks among the best cars ever made.