Road tested: 2015 Rolls Royce Ghost
SEATTLE, October 26, 2015 — Call it excess, call it over the top or simply call it sublime. Any of those adjectives could easily describe the 2015 Ghost from Rolls Royce, a company that has defined itself as an automaker for the affluent. This car oozes decadence from its “Spirit of Ecstasy” hood ornament to the way it pampers its occupants. There is no denying that the Ghost is a serious automobile.
This car has a rather non-surprising way of drawing attention to itself. Our test model was painted in what Rolls Royce calls Salamanca Blue (bright blue). Combine that with striking body lines that are uniquely Rolls Royce and you have the makings for a car that makes a statement wherever it goes.
During the time with this almost ephemeral ride, we had fun witnessing the both hilarious and awkward rubber necking of those who wanted a better look. Whether we were whizzing by them or whether the car was simply parked somewhere, everyone wanted to check out the Ghost up close.
The very potent 6.6-liter V12 has enough power to propel the 5,500+ pounds of this car from 0-60 in a mere 4.7-seconds. Its 563 horsepower combined with 575 lb-ft. of torque help it to never feel underpowered and can push the car to a top-speed of 154 miles per hour.
Of course the 8-speed transmission feels right at home here and is aided by satellite navigation. This car will “see” the roads ahead in order to get data on the kinds of hills involved etc. and auto-program the transmission to optimal settings before you even get to that part of the road. Shifting is so seamless that it’s hard to tell when it does shift – the powertrain remains relatively quiet and composed, even under hard acceleration. The only way you can tell when it’s floored is by the feeling of your stomach being shoved into the seatback and a nice, tamed growl out of its tailpipes.
Inside, the Ghost pampers all occupants with seat massagers, dual-zone heat/cool zones – meaning each person can adjust the temperature for both their upper and lower parts of their body. Rear passengers are treated with an insane amount of leg-room, a great infotainment center that’s complete with screens for each individual.
Use of high-end materials abound here with liberal use of top-notch leather, wood and chrome highlights. Seat comfort is among the best we’ve ever used and combined with the car’s incredible suspension means you’ll feel like you’re riding around on air. It does this without losing its soul completely and still provides a relatively good experience for drivers who love to drive.
While its infotainment system is great for voice commands and its easy-to-use touch-pad interface, it does lack in overall audio quality and fidelity. In fact, it was the only disappointment to the car – there are so many vehicles which sell for far less money that have audio quality that absolutely blow this system out of the water. It’s not horrible per se but it’s a far cry from what we’ve heard in many other brands of vehicles.
Outside, Rolls Royce continues with the relatively high belt-line and front-end grill that makes a bold statement yet looks very refined. Its hood has what Rolls refers to as a “wake channel” and is claimed to resemble a jet’s vapor trail. Overall body lines are bold, clean, reserved and eloquent. The “Spirit of Ecstasy” emblem is lowered every time the alarm is set or you can program it to stay up all the time. In this mode, if the car senses someone trying to break it off, it will automatically lower it for safe-keeping.
Rolls did a great job of making this car not only make an outward statement in its design cues but also provide a rather rewarding driving experience. Even though it’s a very heavy car, it felt solid through corners with minimal body roll and still managed to feel a bit light on its feet. Power is on-demand but comes at the expense of fuel economy which the EPA rates at only 13 around town and 21 on the freeway. Then again, we’re sure that most consumers who can put down the kind of scratch required for a car like this aren’t worried about its gas mileage.
At a sticker of over $382,000 dollars (as configured), there’s no doubt this car will cater to the 1 percent crowd. The customer for a car like this is one who wants to spare no expense in making a statement. Of course there’s the side of things where this car brings about the ultimate in a hand-built refinement and provides its occupants a ride like few cars can match.
The 2015 Ghost has a lot going for it and looks great on the open road for a trek out into wine country our around the city for a night of fine dining and the opera. No matter what – for those who can swing it – this is a car worth checking out.