Technophile

For post-opulent millionaires looking for discreet luxury

S.Muralidhar | Updated on September 04, 2020 Published on September 04, 2020

The new model incorporates an all-wheel drivetrain, all-wheel steering and completely redesigned new Planar Suspension System   -  Pics: S Muralidhar

Rolls-Royce’s new Ghost will deliver an intelligent, unobtrusive package; even better magic carpet ride

A few years ago, during one of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars rare test drive events, I found myself asking company officials what would be the trends or metrics it tracks as part of market research for future products.

I was curious to find out how does the pinnacle of luxury on four wheels scope out future millionaire and billionaire customers.

The answer was very interesting — in addition to tracking emerging markets where new wealth creation is active, Rolls-Royce also looks at macro numbers like the possible size of the bequest for the next generation.

That focus on the ‘nexgen’ was one of the reasons for the birth of the Ghost ten years ago and other models like the Drophead Coupe and the two-door Wraith. More compact (relatively speaking for RR), focused on performance and yet retaining the core values of the brand, these cars quickly delivered results. The Ghost has become the largest selling model in Rolls-Royce’s history.

It is now time for the next generation Ghost, and RR has taken the opportunity to significantly boost the second generation model’s appeal.

Rolls-Royce calls its market watchers “Luxury Intelligence Specialists”, and their inputs have shown that buyers of the Ghost expect a more modest and minimalist expression of the brand, often preferring to drive the car themselves instead of being chauffeured and seek the advantages of a smaller vehicle compared to the Phantom - RR flagship. In keeping with this emerging aesthetic amongst the potential buyers of the Ghost, RR designers have given the new generation model a simpler, more unobtrusive design, that still exudes modernity.

Staying true, yet all-new

Staying true to RR’s essential attributes, the profile of the Ghost still reminds you of its coach-building traditions, the Pantheon grille and the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ define its face and the window line is still designed keeping in mind the privacy of rear seat occupants.

Rolls-Royce says that the only parts carried over from the outgoing model into the new Ghost are the spirit of ecstasy and the umbrellas; everything else has been newly developed. The Ghost has been built on RR’s famous ‘aluminium spaceframe architecture’ which has been used for the Phantom and the Cullinan SUV too. The new 2021 model now gets an increase in overall length by 89mm, compared to the first Goodwood Ghost, to 5546mm, and its overall width has grown by 30mm to 1978mm.

Significant changes were also made to the double-skinned bulkhead and floor structure to be able to incorporate an all-wheel drivetrain, all-wheel steering and completely redesigned new Planar Suspension System, which further enhances the marque’s hallmark Magic Carpet Ride. RR says that this was achieved without compromising the motor car’s low centre of gravity, which aids cornering dynamics.

For improved cabin ambience and better aerodynamics, the doors are also fashioned out of laser-welded aluminium. The rear doors in the new Ghost can now also be opened and closed electrically. On-board longitudinal and transverse sensors, as well as G-force sensors fitted to each door, allow the same speed of operation regardless of hill or driveway angles! One of the most significant improvements in the new Ghost is said to be the Planar suspension system. Said to have been fine-tuned over ten years of testing and development, the suspension uses sophisticated scanning and software technology. It incorporates a world-first Upper Wishbone Damper unit above the front suspension assembly, creating an even more stable and effortless ride. This works alongside the Flagbearer system, which uses cameras to read the road ahead and prepare the suspension system for any changes in road surface, as well as the marque’s Satellite Aided Transmission (uses GPS data to preselect the right gear for the next turn), a feature that is already offered in the Phantom. These technologies are managed as one through a bespoke Planar software system.

Rolls-Royce says client feedback asking for near-instant torque and near-silent running led the marque to further develop the RR 6.75-litre, twin-turbocharged V12 petrol engine. A bespoke Ghost engine map was created to ensure ample performance, delivering 563bhp and 850Nm of torque to the all-wheel steering, all-wheel drivetrain. Maximum torque is available from 1,600rpm – only 600rpm above idling.

Loaded with new tech

This second generation Ghost is also loaded with a lot of new tech. Further equipment includes: LED and laser headlights with more than 600m of illuminated range, vision assist, including day and night-time wildlife and pedestrian warning, alertness assistant, a four-camera system with panoramic view, all-round visibility and helicopter view, active cruise control, collision warning, cross-traffic warning, lane departure and lane change warning, a 7x3 high-resolution head-up display, Wi-Fi hotspot, self-park, and the very latest navigation and entertainment systems.

The new Ghost’s cabin also gets the focus on minimalist luxury and remarkable attention to detail that the marque has been famous for. Covering most of the cabin’s surfaces, 20 half hides extensively tested for quality have been used and mostly in long straight lines unbroken by busy stitchwork. Also famous for its bespoke, handcrafted marquetry, the brand is offering new wood sets for the Ghost including open-pore and aluminium infused finishes. Another new feature is the illuminated fascia that lights up the passenger side of the dashboard and echoes the starlight roof headliner and its 850 stars. The new Ghost also gets a new acoustics package, even better sound insulation for improved cabin quietness and a new micro-environment purification system, for improved cabin air quality.

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Published on September 04, 2020
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