The Rolls-Royce Ghost plays a major role in the Rolls-Royce success story that unfolded since BMW acquired the rights to the famous brand in 1998. Yesterday, five years after the introduction of the Rolls-Royce Ghost at the Frankfurt Motor Show, we had the opportunity to experience the 2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series 2 in London and are excited to tell you all about it!
The philosophy behind the development and changes in Ghost Series 2 are nicely described by Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös: “Today, in answer to our clients’ demands for the best in effortless dynamism, modern luxury and industry-leading technology, clothed in a discreetly updated design that protects the iconic character of a Rolls-Royce, we proudly introduce Ghost Series II – an oasis of calm in a frenetic business world.”
Join GTspirit on an exclusive journey with the new Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II below following some of the key characteristics that define the Ghost Series 2.
The Engine & Performance
The 2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series 2 comes with the same 6.6-litre V12 engine as its predecessor. It produces 570 hp and 780 Nm of torque available from as low as 1500 rpm.
The regular Ghost Series 2 weighs 2,490 kilograms, the Extended Wheel Base, which is 17 cm longer, weighs 80 kilograms more and puts 2,570 kg on the scales. Despite the sheer weight of the Ghost Series 2, the SWB sprints from 0-100 km/h in 5.0 seconds. The EWB takes a split second longer and clocks 5.1 seconds in the 0-100 km/h sprint. The top speed for both the short and the long Ghost is limited to 250 km/h.
The Rolls-Royce Ghost Series 2 comes with the well known ZF 8 speed gearbox. Rolls-Royce does not have any paddles or manual mode for the driver to choose a gear of its choice. Instead, the Rolls-Royce Ghost Series 2, like the Wraith, features a satellite aided transmission that chooses the right gear based on the road ahead. It will also hold on to gears longer to allow swift acceleration out of corners for example.
Another typical Rolls-Royce feature that takes a centre stage in the Ghost Series 2 is the power metre that replaces the typical rev counter. Instead of the engine revs, Rolls-Royce shows the amount of remaining power from 100% down to 0%.
If there is one thing that Rolls-Royce is famous for it is the waftability; the extremely smooth ride. With Ghost Series 2 the engineers at Rolls-Royce received a new challenge for development; the ride should become more engaging and dynamic without losing this famous waftability.
The engineers came up with re-designed front and rear struts, adjusted dampers and a new steering gear. With the optional Dynamic Driving Package, that also features a thicker steering wheel, this results in a much sportier and involved steering and handling feel compared to Ghost Series I. Additionally, new hydraulic rear axle bearings enhance ride quality and rear stability reducing vibrations and cabin intrusions.
The Rolls-Royce Ghost Series 2 features a subtle redesign of the original Ghost. Like the second Series Phantom, current Rolls-Royce customers indicated interest in a subtle redesign over a more radical redesign of the car. So the goal for the Rolls-Royce design team was to design a new modern front that builds on the existing strengths of the Ghost Series I.
The main eye catcher in the completely new Rolls-Royce Ghost front are the LED headlights with beautiful day time running lights. The front of the car is slightly raised and various visual tricks are applied to make the front look wider than the Series I. This includes the design of the indicators and larger front air intakes. The redesigned front brings the Rolls-Royce Ghost a bit closer to the Phantom when it comes to visual presence on the street.
The Spirit of Ecstasy at the top of the grille is tilted slightly forward and behind it a tapered wake channel runs from the wings of the Spirit of Ecstasy all the way through the bonnet towards the windshield like the vapor trail of a jet. It is a stunning bit of design that has visual impact both from outside the car as from the inside drawing your eye to the Spirit of Ecstasy.
Further design elements that define the Ghost Series II are a new waft line along the side of the car that leans further forward and expresses a stronger dynamic when viewed from the side. The shoulder line that runs the full length of the car and the rear remains unchanged. Rolls-Royce also offers a new set of 21 inch five spoke wheels for Ghost Series 2.
On first impressions, the changes in the interior are as subtle as the changes to the exterior. If you look further you will find out the changes under the skin are vital to keeping the Rolls-Royce Ghost Series 2 desirable for many years to come. The key changes here include completely new seats and an updated infotainment system with the Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller.
The new seats went through countless small redesigns to find the most comfortable setup possible. As we experienced during our test drive, the seats are not just soft and comfortable, but also offer more side support than their predecessors. Both the front and rear seats are adjustable in multiple ways. In the front the thigh support can also be adjusted electronically. In the rear, a special lounge seat configuration slightly angles the seats towards each other for a jet-like atmosphere. The new seats can also optionally be equipped with seat cooling, our favorite sort of climate control in any car.
Interesting fact: Due to the entertainment screens located in the back of the seats, we experienced more leg space while watching television in the Ghost Series 2 than in the Phantom that requires the picnic table to be folded down in order to watch television. A massage function is not available for Ghost Series 2 but Rolls-Royce is considering it for future models.
Every element of the Ghost interior is finished with the highest quality materials. More subtle changes from Ghost 1 to Ghost 2 include a redesigned centre clock, that is developed and designed by Rolls-Royce in house, and the use of natural grain leather on the dashboard, doors and other elements. This leather takes four hours longer to process and has a significantly softer feel than the leather used previously. In total no less than 9 bull hides and over 45 square meters of leather is used for each Rolls-Royce Ghost Series 2.
Infotainment & Assistance
One of the strengths, or blessings, for Rolls-Royce when it comes to the infotainment and assistance systems is that they can rely on the incredible R&D and systems available within the BMW Group. Rolls-Royce uses these tested and proven BMW systems and adapts them to make them Rolls-Royce worthy.
One example on the Rolls-Royce Series 2 is the Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller that allows both the driver and rear passengers to control the front infotainment and the rear entertainment screens. The controller is based on BMW’s iDrive system and finished with a miniature Spirit of Ecstasy hidden below the crystal glass touch pad of the controller.
The new Ghost Series 2 also offers a full suite of connectivity from multimedia streaming to live traffic information and an on-board WiFi network to bring third party devices online. Another interesting thing we noticed while driving with the Rolls-Royce Ghost Series 2 is the exceptional mobile reception inside the car compared to other luxury limousines with lower levels of noise isolation. In our Audi S8, it was so dismal that to make a phone call we often had to get out of the car to have sufficient reception. The Rolls-Royce engineers acknowledged this issue and built a complete mobile infrastructure that extends signals from outside the car into the cabin without drop in reach or quality.
This is just one of the many examples of the exceptional attention to detail that makes a Rolls-Royce what it is. Another example is the Rolls-Royce umbrella available in the door, not only are these umbrellas made from Teflon, a material that is ultra water repellent, but even when you put a wet umbrella back in the door you don’t have to worry about it as the tube is heated to assure it is dry again when you arrive at your next rainy destination.
In terms of assistance systems the Series 2 also lifts the Ghost to new levels. Our favorites include adaptive cruise control, heads-up display, nightvision with pedestrian and animal recognition and adaptive LED headlights that blend out of oncoming traffic when the high-beam is active.
To any Rolls-Royce Ghost experience there are two elements: driving and being driven. We had the opportunity to experience both during our road test in and around the city with the highest number of Rolls-Royces in the world; London.
The Shard, Western Europe’s tallest skyscraper, marked the fitting location for the start of our journey. As we leave the lobby of the Shangri-La hotel our driver opens the door for us and we slip into the back seat of a stunning red Ghost Series II. As soon as the door closes the Ghost 2 is an immediate oasis in the bustling British capital. Surrounded by the finest materials and our personal favorite; thick Lambswool carpets that make us want to take our shoes off as soon as we get in.
We flick through the entertainment offering with the rotary controller and switch on BBC News for a morning update. From the rear we can also view (and change) the navigation and many other entertainment, connectivity and other options.
In contrast to what you might expect from a car with a 6.6-litre V12 engine, it is as quiet as it can be both on the inside as the outside. If we wouldn’t know any better we would believe it left the hotel in electric mode – that is just how quiet the Ghost Series 2 is.
Talking about electric mode, following Rolls-Royce experimental electric Phantom the Rolls-Royce engineers had to answer many questions about a possible electric Rolls-Royce Ghost. But a full electric Rolls-Royce is ruled out for the near future based on customer feedback to the 102EX. The same goes for an option we would much desire to increase the Rolls-Royce use in winter: All-Wheel Drive. Again for this generation Ghost and Phantom that is not an option. However both All-Wheel Drive and some sort of Hybrid drive train are being considered for future models.
In the back of the Rolls-Royce Ghost, the Series 2 is certainly as good as Series 1. The new seats and the improved infotainment system are up the levels of comfort and modernity of the Ghost. And the sportier aspirations don’t seem to have any affect on the well-being of the passenger. Being driven through the city it feels more like a cruise on a magic carpet than anything else.
Another thing you will notice driving and being driven around in a Rolls-Royce Ghost or Phantom is the way the marque is perceived by the general public. Rolls-Royce is associated more with royalty than any other brand in the world and many people will try to catch a glimpse of those sitting in the back of a Rolls-Royce. This is one of the things that put the Rolls-Royce cars and the Ghost and Phantom in particular, truly in a league of their own.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the objectives of the Rolls-Royce Ghost Series 2 development was to make it more dynamic and improve the connection between the driver and the road. To test this we take over the wheel and traded the busy streets of London for the highway and the country lanes of Kent.
The modern amenities like the 360 degree camera and adaptive cruise control make driving and maneuvering the large Rolls-Royce Ghost even easier than before. On top of that, the shorter steering ratio makes driving the Ghost more fun as well. Its instant power distribution gives it very good punch off the line and even better overtaking performance on the highway. It does all this seemingly without any effort or stress.
The modifications to the suspension strongly reduced the tendency for the Ghost to lean back under acceleration or diving forward under braking. Turning into a corner happens more directly with less steering input required. At the same time you can carry a higher pace through the bends with less body roll. With the optional dynamic driving package this is further enhanced through a more driver oriented setup that enhances the steering and suspension further to increase the Ghost’s cornering capabilities. The Dynamic Driving Package is ideal for Ghost owners who prefer to drive themselves and are not shy of a sporty driving style.
More than 80% of recent Ghost deliveries had Bespoke elements to them. The Rolls-Royce Bespoke department is responsible for all of the personalization options offered by Rolls-Royce. This ranges from custom colors and pin stripes to embroidery and special wood used in the interior. More extravagant Bespoke projects include the creation of full gold or diamond encrusted versions of the Spirit of Ecstasy.
The success of Bespoke shows what most buyers are looking for in a Rolls-Royce: individual perfection. And it is the combination of prestige, craftsmanship and ability to fulfill (nearly) every clients wishes that makes the Ghost Series 2 such a desirable car to own and to drive.
The Rolls-Royce Ghost Series I was one of our favorite travel companions of the last four years and with Series 2, Rolls-Royce has managed to modernise it and prepare it to appeal to a broader range of customers for many years to come. The changes to the ride and the looks are very subtle at first but have a high impact when you look a bit further. Despite the changes the Ghost 2 hasn’t lost any of the strengths or appeal of the Ghost Series 1.
The Rolls-Royce Ghost Series 2 is available as both a short- and a long-wheel base version and dealers worldwide are accepting your orders now. First customer deliveries are expected in the Fourth Quarter of 2014.