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Rolls-Royce Ghost 2015 review

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EXPERT RATING
9.0

Likes

  • Classy cabin fitout
  • Smooth and quiet

Dislikes

  • Need to be careful when parking
  • Costs over half a million dollars

Lord Grantham would feel right at home with a Ghost. It's not that Downtown Abbey is haunted, just that the new season of the hit television series is firing up in the living room as I'm idling outside in a new Rolls-Royce.

Perhaps his lordship would have been happier in the rear of a chauffeur-driven Phantom in the first series but times are changing in the latest episodes and the Ghost is the car for people who like to drive themselves.

The Ghost is also into a new series, too, with some minor tweaking around the nose, suspension and cabin detailing. Not that the Series II gets away from the basics.

It's plush with a capital P

It's a big, heavy (2.5 tonnes), sumptuously luxurious car for people who can afford the better things in life. I had originally dismissed it as a BMW 7 Series in a party frock but the touch-and-feel experience is distinctly different.

Everything you touch in a Ghost is real, from chrome-plated steel to leather and deep-pile wool carpets. Audi has done a great job on creating classy cabins that seduce buyers but this is something else again.

It still has an iDrive system but the display screen and operation is unlike BMW's original and the rotary controller is designed in a different way with a different feel. It's the same story with the chassis, which is far more than just a 7 Series. It's plush with a capital P, supremely quiet and totally unfussed on any surface. It's as quiet inside as a BMW i3, and that's an electric car without any intrusion from a combustion engine.

The Ghost is the smaller, or perhaps less stately, model in the Rolls-Royce line and it's priced from a relatively affordable $545,000 (for those with Grantham-esque budgets anyway).

For me, Ghost time is a two-day dip into the upper end of motoring that provides even more than I expect. It's a great way to repay favours with family members, who go selfie-crazy in the rear seat, and the perfect way to get a parking spot at a five-star hotel.

But it's still a car, and that means I have to check the basics. The front seats are armchair plush, the rear is sumptuous and fine with the five-year old's booster in place and the boot is more than adequate.

I love the clamshell doors, which give easy access and close with the heft - and electric assist - you expect on a car which is more than just a three-year lease deal.

The car I'm driving is finished with attention-getting two-tone paint, but I wonder whether I'd choose the same combination to own. Probably not, although I spot a similar Ghost at the Crown Casino on grand prix weekend that is far more garish, so it's obviously down to the owner.

It's sublime and enjoyable at all speeds

My time is limited but I try it on all sorts of roads and a range of speeds, even sprinting away from the lights a couple of times. Just because I can.

There is lots of electronics from the BMW parts bin, most on the safety side; the side-view front camera helps you ease the long nose out of the driveway without getting a bump.

As it's sublime and enjoyable at all speeds, I can handle the flak I cop about it being a car for old men with too much cash. It's not particularly nimble - you need to be careful when parking because of its size - but it's not rickety or cumbersome.

In fact, it compares very well with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe I've recently driven. It feels heftier and, surprisingly, even more plush and luxurious. And I didn't expect that.

Rolls-Royce Ghost 2015: EWB

Safety Rating
Engine Type V12, 6.6L
Fuel Type Premium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency 13.6L/100km (combined)
Seating 5
Price From $285,890 - $328,570

Verdict

It's not as Downton Abbey as the $855,000 Phantom but the Ghost is for younger people who are more likely to have made their own money than inherited it along with a stately home.

It's a fantastic car despite the outrageous price tag. It's a car you could easily love. It's not for everyone, or anyone I know, but I can easily understand the attraction.

Range and Specs

Vehicle Specs Price*
Base 6.6L, Premium Unleaded Petrol, 8 SPEED AUTOMATIC $274,780 - $315,810
EWB 6.6L, Premium Unleaded Petrol, 8 SPEED AUTOMATIC $285,890 - $328,570
See all 2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost in the Range
*Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price
Paul Gover
Paul Gover is a former CarsGuide contributor. During decades of experience as a motoring journalist, he has acted as chief reporter of News Corp Australia. Paul is an all-round automotive expert and specialises in motorsport.
About Author
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