Earlier this month, the new Ghost made its regional debut on the roads of Dubai, in true Rolls-Royce style. Patrons and members of the media were given the opportunity to get behind the wheel of “the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce to date” for a drive around Dubai.
The unveiling event – which took place over five days and within the social distancing rules and regulations – was an immersive experience. Each day began with guests being welcomed at a stunning private Villa located in Emirates Hills, with extensive views of the Montgomerie golf course. Guests were introduced to an interactive Rolls-Royce accessory station, along with an array of refreshing beverages. When all the guests had gathered, a digital session was held with the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, to present the story behind the new Ghost.
Following the virtual-session session, came the real-world drive experience. Each guest was presented with the new Ghost for the drive. Setting off from Emirates Hills, the convoy elegantly toured the roads of Dubai. After a refreshment break, they drove to the Dubai Frame, for a VIP tour of the ‘biggest picture frame on the planet.’ The final leg of this exceptional drive took guests back to the Rolls-Royce Villa where the guests indulged in an epicurean evening before being chauffeured back to their homes in the new Rolls-Royce Ghost.
It was befitting that the guests were given the opportunity to experience both aspects of the new Ghost – that of an exceptional luxury limousine and a sophisticated driver’s car. The new car, therefore, had to be nothing short of extraordinary, even by Rolls-Royce standards, given the significant achievement of its predecessor.
At the 2009 Auto Shanghai, the rejuvenated Rolls-Royce marque announced the addition of a new model to its portfolio. The Ghost, named in honour of the legendary Silver Ghost of the early 1900s, offered something entirely different to its flagship Phantom. It appealed to a new group of clients; those who demanded perfection in design, engineering and craftsmanship, but sought a more modest and minimalist expression of the Rolls-Royce aesthetic.
The first Ghost to come out of Goodwood was an unmitigated success, despite being launched shortly after one of the biggest global economic downturn in decades. Over the course of its ten-year production run, it became the most successful product in the company’s 116-year history. This success, in turn, enabled the brand to scale up production, invest in its capabilities and establish Rolls-Royce as the genuinely global brand it is today.
Given the Ghost’s dynamic personality, clients were self-driving their Ghost from the very early stages of its introduction, especially in the United States and some areas of Europe. Meanwhile, in Asia, clients were engaging heavily in the connected technology onboard, be it for business or pleasure.
The Ghost thus possessed a wide breadth of character; from the driver-friendly qualities of the two-door models that preceded it (Phantom Drophead Coupé convertible and Phantom Coupé) to the limousine qualities of the Phantom. These qualities are what made the Ghost appealing to such a broad spectrum of clients, and such a success.
“The first Goodwood Ghost was a response to a whole new generation of clients, both in age and attitude. These men and women asked us for a slightly smaller, less ostentatious means to own a Rolls-Royce. The success of the product we created for them fulfilled our most ambitious expectations… To create a new product that would resonate with our Ghost clients for the next ten years meant we had to listen carefully to their demands.” says Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
“The only components that we carried over from the first Goodwood Ghost were the Spirit of Ecstasy and umbrellas. Everything else was designed, crafted and engineered from the ground up. The result is the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce yet. It distils the pillars of our brand into a beautiful, minimalist, yet a highly complex product that is perfectly in harmony with our Ghost clients’ needs and perfectly in tune with the times.”
The parade of technological advancements on the new Ghost is headed by the marque’s proprietary aluminium spaceframe architecture. First used on the Phantom and then on the Cullinan, this spaceframe is unique to Rolls-Royce. It enables the brand’s designers and engineers to develop an authentically super-luxury product by eliminating the constraints of other platforms.
To this foundational architecture, is incorporated other technological advancements such as all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering, while being powered by an enhanced and super-smooth 6.75-Litre Twin-Turbocharged V12 engine. The car’s suspension has been completely redesigned to what is called the Planar Suspension System. The result of ten collective years of testing and development, it creates a sense of “flight on land.” The sum of all these enhancements is the evolution of the marque’s hallmark Magic Carpet Ride into something that has never been experienced in a motor car before.
From the very outset, and based on client feedback, the designers made ‘Post Opulence’ the cornerstone of the model’s design philosophy. Characterised by reduction and substance, this aesthetic philosophy demands that exceptional materials must be selected and celebrated; while design must be limited, intelligent and unobtrusive.
This begins with the car’s first impression. It is framed by sharp bowlines that intersect with an angular light signature, creating an assertive yet beautiful front end. On the flanks, a single straight stroke is used to emphasise the car’s length. The lower ‘waft line’ borrows from boat design and uses reflection to lighten the surfacing and create an uncomplicated sense of motion. Both doors seem to share an equally proportioned window graphic. The signature squarish rear-lights of the marque has been modernised with a slight forward tilt.
The interior is likewise free of busy details and superficial embellishments to create a more relaxing refuge, but also to maximise the impact of bespoke colour personalisation. The very finest materials; leathers, woods and metals are left unembellished.
The signature aesthetic element of the new Ghost’s interior, and one that aptly demonstrates the Post Opulence philosophy, is the illuminated fascia: a world-first innovation that subtly echoes the Starlight Headliner to create an ethereal glowing Ghost nameplate. The Bespoke Collective at Rolls-Royce chose not to use simple screen technology to achieve the effect they desired. Instead, they embarked on creating a highly complex and true luxury innovation.
Located on the passenger side of the dashboard, and surrounded by more than 850 “stars,” the constellation and wordmark are completely invisible when the interior lights are not in operation. The illumination itself comes from 152 LEDs mounted above and beneath the fascia, each meticulously colour matched to the cabin’s clock and instrument dial lighting. To ensure the Ghost wordmark is lit evenly, a 2mm-thick light guide is used, featuring more than 90,000 laser-etched dots across the surface. This not only disperses the light evenly but creates a twinkling effect as the eye moves across the fascia, echoing the subtle sparkle of the Starlight Headliner.
The first generation Ghost to emerge from Goodwood has no doubt set a high benchmark for its successor to emulate. Based on first impressions, the new Ghost seems to be up to the challenge. A more detailed review of the new Ghost shall appear in the next print edition of Signe magazine.