Flanked by Rolls-Royce Australian representative Bevin Clayton, Regional Director Colin Kelly, General Manager South & East Asia Pacific Brenda Pek and Product Manager Dan Balmer (above, left to right), the Ghost is every bit as good as you've read about.
Coated in a lustrous colour named Dark Indigo, the Ghost is every inch a Rolls-Royce. From the long, silver bonnet to the bright chrome grille and the self-uprighting wheel centres, the Ghost carries the same design cues as the Phantom it was placed next to. Although the detail differences between the two cars are significant, both are clearly related.
No more is this evident than inside the car. The same peerless qualities, such as impeccable leather, blemish-free wood highlights and silver accents carry through both cars. Rolls-Royce's brand attributes have been bestowed upon the Ghost, yet with a modern twist.
The rounded off edges have been replaced by a contemporary dash which incorporates more angles and less "squareness". Further evidence of the modern take is in the instruments which perfectly split analogue dials with a digital display below.
We could bore you with all the info, which you've probably read before. But it's the minute details which make this car. Oh, and the sound. Yes, were were priviliged to start the car, which bear in mind is still a pre-production model. The familiar starter motor turns over, which then gives way to an unexpected growl. It's very sports-car like, and sounds not unlike a very smooth V8 at idle. But it's the induction howl which really impresses and surprises.
There's an intent to this engine that separates it from the smoothly sedate Phantom V12. Despite the twin-turbos (which can muffle the sound of an engine), the 6.6-litre V12 still manages to sound seductive. All the while it maintains its poise, with a subdued exhaust and laminated glass combined with sound deadening materials to help sound remain unobtrusive in the cabin.
There are no less than five cameras around the car, giving you a top view, rear view and side views for ease of parking and manueverability. Thankfully, the steering wheel is smaller but thicker than the Phantom, giving it a more driver oriented focus. The Japanese specification car we looked at also had the rear Theatre option which supplies two 9.2-inch LCD screens in the back of the seats along with tray tables which extend to hold a notebook computer.
Two RCA inputs allow for an X-Box or Playstation to be connected, along with separate headphone controls and a DVD player. The rear legroom is staggering, as is the space in the entire car. Four golf bags - the industry standard - will fit in the boot.
Ghost employs a more textured leather for better durability, considering it’s meant to be used day-to-day. It’s the same leather as the Phantom (which is a lot smoother to look at) but spends an extra two hours being oven dried, which really brings out the grain. Despite the toughness, it’s still soft to the touch, and the less textured hide still features around the place.
The Ghost’s interior quality is still the benchmark for the rest of the industry to aspire to, with soft-touch plastics and contemporary wood veneers.
The matt-silver finish on the bonnet is worth noting too. An electric current is applied to the areas to be finished, which causes the metallic flakes to lay flat. A matt-lacquer is then laid over the top, giving the most durable, smoothest, flattest result possible.
The ZF eight-speed automatic is also the world’s first application of this gearbox in a production car, the choice to use it being influenced by fuel economy primarily.
Rolls-Royce tells us that the Ghost will arrive in the second quarter of next year, with the Bespoke program being applied to Ghost around six months later.
Pricing, as previously noted, is $695,000 on road plus options, however Australian cars will be delivered with options, such as head up display, radar based cruise control, and lane departure warning. These will probably take that to upwards of $730,000 on road.
For the lucky few who will get to own one, based on what we’ve seen so far, it will be worth every dollar.
CarAdvice will be bringing you a road test of the Ghost early next year.