Whisper it softly. For the super-rich who want to shout less about their wealth – without entirely giving up too much of the good life – Rolls-Royce has launched a near silent second generation of its best-selling Ghost limousine.
And to ensure occupants travel in serene comfort, every component of the ethereal new Ghost has been specially acoustically ‘tuned’ so that it runs on the road with a mere ‘whisper’.
Aimed at well-heeled customers who like to drive themselves for pleasure as well as being chauffeur-driven for business, in a more compact Rolls-Royce, the guiding light of the new Ghost’s creation has been to produce a visually less ostentatious and more ‘minimalist’ luxury car with more understated styling and less boastful bling.
Ghost from the future: The first-generation Rolls-Royce Ghost, launched in 2009, went on to become the brand’s best-selling model.
Now there’s a new one, and it promises a better – and quieter – ride, more technology and understated luxury
Revealing the new Ghost to the world, Royce-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said: ‘In today’s world where many people are seeking increased simplicity, refinement and restraint – a post opulent world – new Ghost fits perfectly with the zeitgeist of our times.
‘New Ghost is the very essence of Rolls-Royce.
It whispers, it doesn’t shout. It is less, but better.’
Rolls-Royce has dubbed this approach of rejecting ‘superficial expressions of wealth’ in favour of less formal luxury as its ‘post opulent’ design philosophy – a term already used in in architecture, fashion, jewellery and boat design.
The firm with its headquarters on the Goodwood estate on the fringe of Chichester in Sussex, says its new second-generation Ghost is also ‘the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce car ever made’ in the 116 year history of the legendary British car company – now owned by German car-maker BMW – whose name is byword around the world for the pinnacle of luxury and excellence.
Priced from £249,600, it replaces the first generation Goodwood Ghost, launched in 2009 and which went on to become the biggest selling Rolls-Royce ever.
The sequel is the result of an extensive consultation with existing customers around the world to see where improvements could be made.
Every component on the new car has been changed, with the carry-over from the first Goodwood Ghost being the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ flying at its prow and pull-out umbrellas stowed in the doors.
Ray Massey, has already seen the new 2020 Ghost in the flesh – and can let you in on a few of its secrets
At 5.5 metres long, it has been extended by 9cm over the previous-generation car.
It’s also 3cm wider, meaning you’ll need a parking space to accommodate a machine that’s 2 metres broad
Powered by a mighty 6.75-litre twin-turbo-charged V12 petrol engine, developing 563bhp, linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and riding on vast 21-inch wheels, it accelerates swiftly but smoothly from rest to 62mph in a more than adequate 4.8 seconds up to a top speed restricted to 155mph.
But don’t expect it to do much for the planet, with average CO2 emissions of between 347 to 358g/km under the new ‘real world’ testing regime.
And you’ll get less than 20mpg fuel economy – not that the cost of petrol is an issue for the usual Rolls-Royce customer.
Designer Henry Cloke said they have ‘decluttered’ the limousine in line with current customer demands: ‘They rejected busy details and flash gimmicks, instead seeking extremely high quality, thoughtfully designed pieces that stand up to the most intense scrutiny.
This philosophy defined new Ghost’s minimalist design treatment.’
He added: ‘It’s a car you can dress up, or dress down.’
Longer by 89mm and wider by 30mm than the first generation Ghost it replaces, it is built on the same new flexible bespoke Rolls-Royce platform as the current flagship Phantom and Cullinan SUV.
A low centre of gravity aids cornering and the vast engine sits behind the front axle to improve weight distribution.
Powered by a mighty 6.75-litre twin-turbo-charged V12 petrol engine developing 563bhp linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, and riding on vast 21-inch wheels, it accelerates swiftly but smoothly from rest to 62mph in a more than adequate 4.8 seconds up to a top speed restricted to 155mph
Left: Designer at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Henry Cloke, who masterminded the ‘decluttered’ interior of the Ghost.
Right: Our man Ray Massey, who has had a poke around the 2020 limo ahead of its arrival in boutique showrooms later this year
To keep it agile and nimble on the road, the Ghost features all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering.
And the redesigned suspension system further enhances the car’s ‘hallmark magic carpet ride’ to provide ‘unprecedented’ levels of ride comfort and control.’
This is aided by the hi-tech ‘flagbearer’ system, which uses cameras and sat-nav to scan the road ahead and prepare the suspension for anything from bumps to humpback bridges and changes in road surface and conditions.
The all-aluminium spaceframe chassis and superstructure helps keep the weight down and aids streamlining.
Rolls-Royce notes that to ensure a perfectly continuous seam four craftsmen hand weld the body together simultaneously: ‘The car’s outer body is rendered as one clean, expansive piece, flowing seamlessly from the A-pillar, over the roof and backwards to the rear of the car, recalling the seemingly one-piece coachbuilt Silver Dawn and Silver Cloud models.
‘This complete absence of shut lines allows clients to run their eye from the front to the rear of the car uninterrupted by ungainly body seams.’
This includes doing away with the guttering you’d normally find on the edge of the roof above the window frames to ensure rain water doesn’t fall onto the occupant or into the vehicle when the doors are opened.
To get around this issue, Rolls-Royce asked a dedicated team of scientists to measure the size of rain droplets – 4mm to be exact – and then engineered a lip in the door frames to that size so water trickles down towards the rear of the vehicle to prevent any ingress.
There are also Rolls-Royce umbrellas housed in the pop-out panels in the doors themselves, just in case customers do get caught in a downpour.
To make it easier for the driver and passengers to get out, as well as in, the Ghost’s doors can now for the first time be ‘effortlessly’ opened electrically with power-assistance (as well as closed, as was previously the case) – as featured in other models across its opulent range.
Rolls-Royce notes that to ensure a perfectly continuous seam four craftsmen hand weld the body together simultaneously.
The complete absence of shut lines allows clients to run their eye from the front to the rear of the car ‘uninterrupted by ungainly body seams’, says the luxury vehicle maker
Silent assassin: The Ghost has plenty of tricks up its sleeve to ensure it’s near silent when on the move.
As our man Ray will explain…
To keep help reduce noise and vibration and enhance the sense of driving serenity, the chassis, interior components and other elements have been tuned to specific resonant frequencies so that the Ghost drives with a ‘whisper’ that does not disturb the occupants ‘cocooned’ inside.
Constructing the car’s aluminium spaceframe from complex forms, rather than flat, resonant surfaces, is the first step in this process.
More than 100kg of acoustic damping materials has been applied in the doors, roof, between the double-glazed windows, inside the tyres and within double-skinned bulkheads and floors to further reduce road noise intruding into the cabin.
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