Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has formally launched the all-new Ghost, perhaps the most ambitious project yet undertaken by the company attempting to move technology and luxury several steps up the ladder.
“The first Goodwood Ghost was a response to a whole new generation of clients, both in age and attitude. These men and women asked us for a slightly smaller, less ostentatious means to own a Rolls-Royce. The success of the product we created for them fulfilled our most ambitious expectations. Over its 10-year lifespan, which began in 2009, Ghost has become the most successful model in the marque’s 116-year history,” says Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
“To create a new product that would resonate with our Ghost clients for the next 10 years meant we had to listen carefully to their demands. Today we set new standards in customer centricity by creating a completely new motor car for a unique group of Rolls-Royce’s clients.
“These business leaders and entrepreneurs demand more of their Ghost than ever. They require a new type of super-luxury saloon that is dynamic, serenely comfortable and perfect in its minimalism. Ghost is this product.
“The only components we carried over from the first Goodwood Ghost were the Spirit of Ecstasy and umbrellas. Everything else was designed, crafted and engineered from the ground up. The result is the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce yet. It distils the pillars of our brand into a beautiful, minimalist, yet highly complex product that is perfectly in harmony with our Ghost clients’ needs and perfectly in tune with the times.”
First used on Phantom, then Cullinan, the marque’s aluminium spaceframe architecture spaceframe is unique to Rolls-Royce and enables the brand’s designers and engineers to develop an authentically super-luxury product, free from the constraints of platforms used to underpin high-volume vehicles. As Ghost clients required even more of their motor car, Rolls-Royce used its architecture to respond, incorporating technology such as all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering in Ghost, unlocking an entirely new, purposeful personality.
Client feedback asking for near-instant torque and near-silent running led the marque to further develop the Rolls-Royce 6,75-litre twin-turbo-charged V12 petrol engine. A bespoke Ghost engine map was created to ensure ample performance for this dynamic motor car, delivering 420 kW and 850 Nm of torque to the all-wheel steer, all-wheel drivetrain.
Commensurate with clients’ expectations, maximum torque is available from just 1 600 r/min – only 600 r/min above tick-over. To further refine its already remarkable acoustic properties, the air intake system incorporated larger porting to reduce engine presence in the interior suite.
The marque’s hallmark Magic Carpet Ride has evolved. For new Ghost, engineering specialists redesigned the motor car’s suspension completely to deliver what is called the Planar Suspension System. Named after a geometric plane, which is completely flat and level, the system is the result of 10 collective years of testing and development to create a sense of flight on land never before achieved by a motor car.
It incorporates an Upper Wishbone Damper unit above the front suspension assembly, creating an even more stable and effortless ride. This works alongside the Flagbearer system, which uses cameras to read the road ahead and prepare the suspension system for any changes in road surface, as well as the marque’s Satellite Aided Transmission.
These technologies are managed as one through a bespoke Planar software system. New Ghost can now anticipate and react to the most demanding road surfaces.
The Upper Wishbone Damper alone was the result of five collective years of road and bench testing. Reserved exclusively for Rolls-Royce, this technology further evolves the marque’s double-wishbone Magic Carpet Ride suspension system.
The ethos of the marque’s founder, Sir Henry Royce, was “Take the best that exists and make it better,” and in this spirit chassis specialists developed the Upper Wishbone Damper to further improve the continuously variable, electronically controlled shock absorbers and the self-levelling high-volume air strut assembles. It has never before been applied to a production motor car.
The five-link rear axle benefits from the same self-levelling high-volume air suspension technology, as well as rear-wheel steering. Both axles are managed via the marque’s Planar software. This also governs new Ghost’s other chassis technologies, including the all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering, stability control and self-drying braking systems, to ensure the motor car is reacting as one to changes in surfaces or grip levels while also maintaining a spirited, dynamic personality.
The Planar software also manages information that requires new Ghost to proactively adapt to in
Rolls-Royce clients have enjoyed self-closing doors since the first Goodwood Phantom. Operated by a button on the dashboard and on the C-pillar for motor cars with rear doors, this has been extended so clients can now also open the doors with power assistance.
Further equipment includes: LED and laser headlights with more than 600 m of illuminated range, vision assist, including day and night-time wildlife and pedestrian warning; alertness assistant; a four-camera system with panoramic view, all-round visibility and helicopter view; active cruise control; collision warning; cross-traffic warning; lane departure and lane change warning; an industry-leading 7×3 high- resolution head-up display; Wi-Fi hotspot; self-park; and the very latest navigation and entertainment systems.
New Ghost was given its own ethereal front-end character. This was achieved not by way of overt design, but with light. 20 LEDS underneath the top of the radiator grille subtly illuminate the veins.
For the first time, the Spirit of Ecstasy is not surrounded by panel lines but rather stands sits within her own ‘lake’ of bonnet.
The subtle near-square rear light graphic has become a tenet of contemporary Rolls-Royce design. It remains, but has been modernised with a slight forward tilt. Not surrounded by shut lines, it appears as if it is an island within the painted surface.
Wood sets for new Ghost are available in an open-pore finish, showcasing materials in their naked form. Indeed, two new finishes have been developed specifically for the motor car. The first is Obsidian Ayous, inspired by the rich versatility of colours found in lava rock. The second is Dark Amber; this introduces subtle glamour to the interior suite by integrating veins of fine aluminium particles into the dark wood.