The Rolls-Royce Motor Cars offerings of today have less in common with those pre-2003 Rolls-Royce models than modern Bentleys, as the Crewe factory in which Bentleys are currently manufactured also built Rollers until the 2002 purchase by Volkswagen AG (with the Rolls-Royce name licensed to BMW by the aeroplane engine arm).
Nonetheless, it’s models like the 2016 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II, which we are testing here, that have shown the BMW subsidiary to be the real spiritual successor to the dream founded by Charles Rolls and Henry Royce in 1906.
From the outside the Rolls-Royce Ghost update is hard to tell apart from its predecessor. There is a modified grille with better LED lighting, and there have been minor bumper revisions and other minor cosmetic changes, but it’s still largely the Ghost of old. The interior has gained a more advanced version of iDrive (although it is outdone by the new-generation BMW 7 Series that is running iDrive 5.0) and a bit more chrome, but ultimately Rolls-Royce has chosen to keep the inherent value of the Ghost unchanged for its mid-life update.
Rolls-Royce is willing to allow any buyer to customise their vehicle as they please (and it has been noted that outside of fleet vehicles, hardly any two Rolls-Royce cars ordered by private owners are ever truly the same), the company does try to guide buyers for colour and material combinations that its designers feel are best suited to the car’s required theme.
There have been some extreme cases, such as one North American owner that insisted his Rolls-Royce be skinned with ostrich leather, which required the company to crash test a vehicle to ensure the usability of airbags with a new leather type.
Behind the wheel the level of soundproofing can make you forget that there’s a monstrous engine under that big and bold bonnet. The 6.6-litre, V12 turbo petrol has an enormous 420kW of power and 780Nm of torque. It can move the Ghost’s 2435kg kerb weight from 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds. It feels genuinely quick for a car this big. It’s a constant source of a wry smile whenever the right foot is squarely planted to the floor.
Published: Monday, March 14, 2016