2011 Rolls Royce GhostBy Shin TakaiP90051048

In a previous issue we wrote about the Rolls Royce Phantom and declared it the finest car in the world. Now we have the Rolls Royce Ghost that rivals the Bentley Mulsanne and Maybach 57 in size and falls between the two in price. While the Phantom has a commanding presence, the Ghost is subdued and subtle, while still containing the unmistakable Rolls Royce DNA.

The exterior design of the Ghost achieves an understated elegance with a nicely balanced proportion that’s easy on the eyes. Our test car was painted Dark Tungsten with a Satin Silver Bonnet Finish lightening the pleasant overall shape. The interior was a Seashell and Black Leather accented by Malabar wood veneer. Huge 20 inch wheels and tires are half the height of the car, balancing the visual aspect. Like the Phantom, the design is timeless.

We had the opportunity to drive from Beverly Hills up the coast to the Concours d’Elegance event in Pebble Beach. This was an experience that truly defines the very essence of what a Rolls Royce lifestyle is all about. The Ghost’s ride is stable and comfortable, perfect for long distance touring or just cruising around town.

After taking the 101 up to Paso Robles, we veered off to finish the drive on the scenic Highway One. The two-lane road curves with awe-inspiring ocean views luring tourists to drive slowly. With me at the helm, I could only take a few miles of following a three-vehicle tourist train until the desire to pass could no longer be contained. I saw a clearing ahead and planned on passing the slower cars one at a time. However, when I stepped on the gas, the 6.6-liter twin-turbo V-12 engine with 563bhp and 575ftlbs of torque came to life. Before I knew it, I had passed the tourist train in one sweep, but was heading towards a blind corner at full tilt. As I braked and steered into the turn, opposing traffic came around the corner and the expected built-in under steer pulled me outside. I stomped on the brakes and the weight shifted forward allowing the front end to grip the road. I safely turned with little drama and was clear all the way to Big Sur.

We took turns being chauffeur and master in the back seat and found that the rear compartment with Theatre Configuration was very comfortable indeed, so much so, that none of us wanted to play chauffeur. Upon entering the rear compartment through the easy access carriage doors, a sumptuous space awaits. The Theatre Configuration consists of folding picnic tables, a multimedia 9.2-inch screen, auxiliary climate control and optional individual seats. As with the Phantom, door closing switches are conveniently located in case your driver forgets to close it for you. The heated and ventilated seats are equipped with a massager and are infinitely adjustable to your personal liking – a real treat for long distance travel.

While on the road, the Active Cruise Control with Stop and Go allows you to preset a certain distance from the car in front of you, allowing the Ghost to apply the brakes when you close in and accelerate up to your set speed while you just keep your hands on the steering wheel. If you get too comfortable and start to doze off, the Lane Departure Warning System will let you know by sending small vibrations into the steering wheel. All of this and other information is a glance away on the Heads-Up display.

Parking is a breeze with a camera system displaying front sides, rear and top view images. While encountering fog on the Seventeen Mile Drive in Carmel, the adaptive headlights and the infrared night vision helped us avoid what would have been “close calls” with a deer and a bicyclist.

Overall Impression: 10
As with the Phantom, the Ghost is a Rolls Royce. It trumps everything else.

Looks: 10
Elegant and sensual, an appearance that allows this car to stand out in a crowd.

Luggage Space: 8
Designed to accept first-class European suitcases.

Bling Factor: 10
You will not go unnoticed. Again, you arrived in a Rolls Royce.

Driving Impression: 9
It’s smooth and steady, making it much more nimble than the Phantom and easier to park.

Entertainment System: 7
The combined multi-media audio-video, NAV and communication settings require a lot of practice to configure but once you set it, everything works well.