Rolls-Royce Ghost II

October 2014

picture of car from the front

Subtle changes amount to a revised grille and new headlights at the front

Ratings

Overall Rating 9Overall rating

Value for money Rating 8Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 4Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 9Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 8Controls and display

Comfort Rating 9Comfort

Security Rating 8Car security

Safety Rating 9Car safety


Likes

  • Surprising agile despite its size
  • Supple ride ensures cabin refinement is first rate
  • New audio system is very impressive
  • Superb cabin is better than ever

Gripes

  • A big car even by modern standards; it still needs a lot of space
  • Huge financial commitment required to purchase and run
  • Large door mirrors can obscure front three-quarter vision at junctions and roundabouts
  • Despite improvements exterior design is not as harmonious as the bigger Phantom

Now so much more than a one-car company, Rolls-Royce has built on the success of its Phantom saloon to create a range of super-luxury cars. Sitting beneath the Phantom lies the Ghost, first introduced in 2009. Now like its bigger brother it has been substantially revised to create the Ghost II.

The Ghost II follows the current approach adopted by many cars in the upper sectors of the market in that the visual differences are very subtle between the two generations. A high-tech lighting system is provided by new headlights incorporating brighter LEDs and 'active' full beam that can switch off parts of the light in order to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers.

Elsewhere on the outside there are re-profiled bumpers front and rear, the imposing grille has been fractionally raked backwards for a sleeker look and the swage line along the flanks has been given an uplift towards the front of the car for a sportier look. Some exterior details have also been chromed instead of body-coloured on the Ghost I, adding to the feeling of quality and expense.

On the inside the Ghost II has a host of detail improvements all designed to improve the passenger experience. There are new front seats with a revised structure for greater comfort, while the rear seats have a greater angle of recline. The instruments now have 'floating' chromed centres and the dashboard has a softer-feel finish. The wide range of personalisation options has been widened still further.

The Ghost II's 'Spirit of Ecstasy' controller operates an updated infotainment system that includes on-board wifi, hands-free functions and a bespoke audio system designed specifically for the car. There's also a brand-new 10.25-inch display screen and the controller itself now has a touchpad to allow easier controller, entry of characters and even the ability to pinch as on a smartphone.

Our verdict on the Rolls-Royce Ghost II

The Rolls-Royce Ghost II may only differ from the original car in a few details, but in this super-luxury market it is the details that make the difference. The basics are already superb; a sumptuous, hushed driving experience, a silky-smooth powertrain and the highest levels of quality throughout. Ghost II brings an improved driving experience, a subtly enhanced look and an even better cabin. Only the Phantom offers a more dignified experience.

Costs
Costs rating 4

Viewed in isolation the Ghost is an expensive car to purchase and run. Even amongst its peers the Ghost is at the top end of the scale, thanks in part to the bespoke nature of its construction and the choice of engine. Of course, if you have the means to purchase such a car, these will be trivial issues.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 9

The spacious cabin offers luxury accommodation for four adults and there's never a feeling of being cramped or having to compromise in any way. Head and legroom in the back is generous, while oddment space is also never in short supply. At the rear, the car's boot is, as you'd expect, capacious.

picture of car from the rear

The imperious design owes a little to the bigger Phantom

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 8

The Rolls-Royce way of doing things is a little different from the norm. Conventional instrumentation is kept to a minimum and there's none of the usual flashing warning lights and other distractions you'll find in a regular car. The new display screen is pin-sharp and the discreet black panel housing minor information is a classy touch.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 9

It's well known that Rolls-Royce cars offer one of the most luxurious and comfortable experiences out there and the Ghost is no different. With plenty of room in the cabin and exterior noise suppressed to levels its rivals struggle to match, the Ghost is an extremely comfortable experience.

Car security
Security Rating 8

Keyless entry and ignition is the norm here, which is on par with other cars in this sector. A comprehensive immobiliser and security package is also present, although given the car's desirable nature you might want to consider a tracking device for added peace of mind.

Car safety
Safety Rating 9

The Ghost might be extraordinary in some areas but it presents a safety package that will be familiar to owners of premium luxury cars everywhere. From a plethora of airbags to an array of electronic stability measures, every angle is covered.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 8

Changes have been made to the suspension of the Ghost designed to improve its handling rather than its ride, but this remains a luxury saloon above all else. The overall refinement is the overriding theme from behind the wheel, as the Ghost does everything in a hushed, smooth fashion. The power delivery is strong but silky smooth, gearshifts are excellent and the car responds well to driver inputs despite its weight.

picture of car interior

The sumptuous interior is enhanced further by additional leather trim

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 4

In principle the car's spacious cabin is its strength. That cabin is, however, trimmed in a range of expensive materials, meaning toddlers with sticky fingers and dirty shoes aren't really welcome. And it's only really a four-seater, which means a high quality people carrier might be a better option.

First car appeal
First car Rating 2

It goes without saying that the Ghost is hardly an ideal first choice. Its size and cost should put most people off. If, however, you have access to such a car you'll find it easy to drive - once you've become used to its size.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 9

As you would expect the Ghost provides a very high level of quality, with very little evidence of BMW influence. The same goes for the Ghost's image; although Rolls-Royce may now have greater competition for the tag 'best car in the world' it nonetheless offers buyers an experience they are unlikely to find anywhere else which gives it a reputation second to none.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

The car's wide opening front doors make access to the cabin straightforward, while the raised seating position means you can slide in with little effort. At the rear the car's doors have a reverse opening action, which does improve access. The rear doors also have a convenient powered closing function - partly because once inside you'll find it a stretch to reach and close the manually.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

The BMW-derived controller makes short work of navigating the multiple menu systems, aided by the large screen and responsive voice-control system. In addition the bespoke audio system designed specifically for the Ghost is highly impressive, coping with a broad range of formats easily.

picture of car in detail

The rear seats are new and are angled slightly toward each other

Colours and trim

The bespoke nature of the car means you can opt for any colour and trim combination you want, with cost being the only limiting factor. In reality, the Ghost looks its best when selected in traditional dark hues. On the inside there are an even wider choice of trim combinations, all of which use high quality materials for a superb finish.

Parking

There's no hiding the fact that the Ghost is a big car by modern standards. Thankfully all the major controls are light and accurate, which makes the job a little easier. Parking sensors and external cameras help your chances of success, although there's no substitute for practice.

Spare wheel

Space saver spare wheel fitted beneath the boot floor.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 6.6-litre V12 (563bhp). Transmission options: eight-speed automatic gearbox fitted as standard. Trim levels: one specification level with comprehensive range of standard and bespoke options.

 

Alternative cars

Bentley Flying Spur Key rival feels more dated and arguably less special

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Can't match the badge but is high-tech and supremely comfortable

BMW 7 Series Shares a small amount of DNA with the Ghost but a very different feel

Aston Martin Rapide S More biased towards the driver than passengers but appealing none the less



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October 2014