There are three tenets of true luxury: comfort, quality and convenience. The Rolls-Royce Ghost obviously has the first two licked. It’s more comfortable than bathing in double cream, is made from the finest materials known to man and is built like a loving hand-crafted bank vault.
But I want to talk about convenience. I don’t just mean ease of operation, though the Ghost is completely idiot-proof to drive. And loaded with easily intelligible gadgets that make driving, riding, living and working in the Ghost simple and enjoyable.
No, I’m talking about the convenience of being able to drive as fast as you want. For decades, most top-tier luxury cars were heavy and ponderous to drive. You might expect the Ghost to be that too, but it is in fact more than happy to play along if you take it by the scruff of the neck.
The steering is feather-light and virtually feel-free, but precise enough to give you confidence in the car’s trajectory. And it feels resolutely tied down, the air suspension and several encyclopedias of computer code keeping the huge forces such a big car generates in check.
It will ultimately wash wide into understeer or even kick the tail out if you’re being really silly. Which is perfectly possible, as the 6.6-litre, twin-turbo V12 engine flings the Ghost into the distance like a Russian shot putter. But apart from a muted yet pleasing snarl from the exhaust, there’s little sense of how rapidly speed is building, until you arrive at a corner 60mph too fast. Fortunately, the brakes are more than man enough for the job, and that chassis balance carries you round.
Wraith coupe aside, Rolls-Royce doesn’t try to cultivate a sporting image for itself in the way great rival Bentley does. But even so, I think there’s potential in the Ghost for a more powerful, more driver-focused model to battle the Bentley Mulsanne Speed.
Engine: 6.6-litre V12 twin-turbo petrol
Transmission: 8-speed automatic; rear-wheel-drive
Power/Torque: 571bhp; 575lb/ft
Economy/Emissions: 20.2mpg; 327g/km
0-62mph: 4.9 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
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By Only Motors