The 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost goes easy on ostentation and big on technology

Steve Chalmers

The Ghost has always been the driver’s car of the Rolls-Royce range. Ghost owners are far more likely to slide themselves behind the steering wheel, slip the gear selector into drive and give the big V12 under the hood a flex. The Ghost owner also tends to be younger and less flash than their elders: more Breitling than Richard Millle. Goodwood took this on board when creating the 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost, re-designing it from the ground up to be the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce yet, but without any ostentation.

A minimalist philosophy

Rolls-Royce calls the Ghost’s rejection of superficial wealth ‘Post Opulent’ and with it arrives a more subtle styling direction. A 5.5-metre long luxury saloon could never be subtle, however, the design studio has shaved, trimmed and smoothed the new Ghost’s body, creating a limited, intelligent and unobtrusive look.
Draped over a 100% aluminium superstructure is a lithe body that flows back seamlessly from the A-pillar, over the roof and backwards to the rear of the car. The silhouette is immediately recognisable as the original 2009 Ghost (the most successful product in the marque’s 116-year history) but with a smoother look and the use of less extravagant lines. The difference can be seen in the much subtler pantheon grille and the tail lamp treatment, which is less aggressive than the previous model.

The new Rolls-Royce Ghost is one of the most gifted luxury cars on the road – it has everything you need and can do anything you want.
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Subtle luxury

Although the new Ghost interior feels reassuringly familiar, it has again been rethought in a more minimalist way. Busy details and superficial embellishments have made way for an overall cleaner look. It’s easy on the eye and every touchpoint is of the highest quality. Craftsmen at the Goodwood factory use only the finest materials, with leathers, woods and metals left unembellished for a more natural organic feel. The leather is subject to the industry’s most exhaustive quality control checks, to ensure that each of the 338 panels used is of the very best quality. This is evident as soon as you open the electrically opening (and closing) doors and slide yourself onto the hides for the first time. One does not simply get in a Ghost, it’s a genuine experience when you feel the supple hides, touch the single-veneer leaf dark wood and of course, look out over the vast expanse of bonnet to the Spirit of Ecstasy.

From the diver’s seat

In an industry where the electric motor is becoming ever more prevalent, it comes as a pleasant surprise to feel the distant thrum of a twin-turbo V12 when you get the Ghost rolling. On start-up, it’s whisper-quiet, but press the pedal enthusiastically for the first time and you will hear the distinctive V12 growl. Producing 563 bhp and 850nm of torque, the Ghost can be hustled along at an undignified rate for such a large car. It’s all completely in keeping with the new Ghost’s sporting character though, and with an all-new ‘Planar Suspension System’ spirited driving is almost encouraged. Named after a geometric plane, which is completely flat and level, the system is the result of ten years of testing and development. Here, cameras read the road ahead and prepare the suspension system for any changes in the road surface, anticipating and reacting in conjunction with the Satellite Aided Transmission. Rolls-Royce’s Magic Carpet Ride is still there and the Ghost can waft along in near silence all day long, but sometimes getting to the destination is more important than the journey and that’s why the new Ghost is one of the most gifted luxury cars on the road – it has everything you need and can do anything you want.