Rolls-Royce Ghost Unveiled

The unveiling of the Rolls-Royce 200EX at Geneva. This car has now become the new Rolls-Royce Ghost

It is official. A new Rolls-Royce will start rolling out of Goodwood in the third quarter of 2009. Previously dubbed the “Baby Rolls-Royce”, the “RR4” and “200EX”, this new Rolls-Royce will be called “Ghost”.

Like the Phantom, Ghost is a name that pays homage to and salutes a celebrated car from Rolls-Royce’s past. The 1907 Silver Ghost was a landmark in Rolls-Royce history. This is the car that elevated Rolls-Royce from many of the other pioneering and fledgling motor car manufacturers. Autocar famously tagged it as “the best car in the world”. This six cylinder, 7 litre machine set new standards in automotive design, and the name Rolls-Royce has since then stood for something that is top of the class.

Rolls-Royce Ghost on show in Geneva

The Ghost will double the amount of cylinders of the Silver Ghost, and with just a slightly smaller engine capacity of 6.6 Litres. These are no ordinary litres though, these are of the turbocharged variety and produce 563 bhp. I think it is quite telling that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars have published the Rolls-Royce Ghost performance figures. It demonstrates a paradigm shift in Rolls-Royce marketing.

The celebrated Ogilvy advertisement half a century ago stated: “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.” demonstrated that Rolls-Royce did not need to shout to be heard. The typical Rolls-Royce owner was not concerned about horsepower, 0 to 60 timings or other measurements, that (perhaps) lesser cars are judged by.

This is Rolls-Royce after all. The Ghost dispels this myth, in quite a bold move for the Goodwood company. However, this is a feisty car. No, it is no stroppy or anarchic boy racer, neither brash or uncouth. It is a daring and courageous car. Designed to compliment rather than replace the existing Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Rolls-Royce Ghost from above front

I believe that the Ghost has been designed as a luxury grand tourer. A car that is as comfortable as it is quick. Can we expect The Stig to be shaving tenths of seconds around the Top Gear track? Or Clarkson to be doing donuts in the Top Gear car park? Well, I suppose they would if Rolls-Royce lent them one when it is produced. Yet for all it’s performance indicators: a 0-60mph time of 4.7 seconds, an 8-speed automatic ZF gearbox and a governed top speed of 155 mph, the Ghost will always be a Rolls-Royce. Possibly leaning more towards their arch rival Bentley with this car than any other in the companies history. The Ghost will stand beside the four door Bentley Continental Flying Spur for comparison.

The Flying Spur is not restricted to 155 mph though and given the right circumstances can top out at a speed of nearly 200 miles per hour. But this is a largely academic figure, a figure rarely to be seen in real life. Later in the year Rolls-Royce will publish the full technical specification. It will be interesting to see how much this baby weighs on the scales. At 5399mm in length the Ghost is shorter than the Phantom 5834 mm or the Phantom EWB (Extended Wheel Base) 6084mm. It is still a large car though. Judging by it’s interior finish and the specifications that have been published to date, this is no stripped-down racer like the Bentley Continental Supersports. It looks like being a rather elegant grand tourer. A car built more for the driver rather than the chauffeured passengers, but never the less a very comfortable and luxurious ride for both driver and passenger.

Rolls-Royce Ghost badge

Rolls-Royce Ghost badge, notice is now embossed in black, rather than the red of the experimental 200EX

The Ghost began life as an experimental model, the 200EX. Now as it starts to enter production, the red badges of the experimental car are replaced by black and the speculation is nearly over. In a matter of months we will see the Ghost start rolling on our roads, and I can’t wait to have a drive.