The 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost now has the tech to accompany the luxury
The new generation includes a genuine fun factor
The interior is as unique as ever
The 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost is a brand-new, completely redesigned generation of the Ghost introduced in 2009. Although it may not look all that new to the naked eye, it hides a lot of new tech that makes this Rolls-Royce the most advanced of its kind.
Rolls-Royce cars used to depend on their opulence, comfort, luxury, and reputation to stand out. All of that remains in the 2021 Ghost, but the addition of all-wheel drive, rear-wheel steering and a tricked-out suspension system called Planar make this the best driving Rolls-Royce ever. It’s also a far cry from the wavy, disconnected feel inherent in past cars from the famed British automaker.
Sure, Rolls-Royce cars have always been incredibly comfortable, but they did so by essentially blocking any sensation coming from the road. That means you didn’t feel the bumps, but you also didn’t feel the car meaning that sportiness took a hit. In the 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost, you get both the comfort and the fun, meaning that this is a car you want to experience from the driver’s seat.
The 2021 Ghost is A Driver’s Rolls-Royce
The 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost deserves to be driven. The Planar Suspension system mentioned previously uses a three-pronged approach to ensuring comfort without sacrificing handling and agility. For starters, the “Flagbearer” portion uses a set of cameras that monitor the road ahead and account for changes in topography. In doing so, the car has time to adjust its suspension and transmission settings to the optimal level to deal with upcoming changes in the road.
When cars first started appearing on British roads, the Red Flag Act required the use of flag bearer that would walk ahead of a car to identify dangers in the road. The Flagbearer system in the Ghost is the 21st Century interpretation of this tradition.
The 8-speed gearbox is also scanning the road ahead, this time using satellite navigation to see what is coming and select the right gear for the situation. Lastly, the Planar suspension includes upper wishbone damping which can account for high-frequency vibration. There are essentially two types of vibrations coming from the road, low and high frequency. The higher frequencies are the most difficult to isolate, but Rolls-Royce engineers managed to filter them out using a second damper located underneath the upper wishbone.
In simple terms, no matter what type of road you are driving on, the Ghost remains stable, solid, and supremely comfortable. We put the system to the test on some of Montreal’s most dilapidated roads (and there are many of them here), and the Ghost was always on top of the situation, maintaining its composure and never letting the people inside know how bad the roads actually are.
Power comes from a 6.75-litre V12 that delivers 563 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. We haven’t flown a lot in the last year, but I still remember the feeling of taking off in business class in a 767 jet, and the feeling of accelerating in the Ghost is very similar. You are never pushed back into the seat, but you can feel the pure force pulling you forward and you can see the trees on the side of the road start to disappear into a blur. On the highway, there’s always power available under your right foot and if you are not careful, you will be going way too fast really quickly.
The addition of all-wheel drive means that you can now drive your Ghost all year long with confidence if you live in Canada or the northern states. Stability was never an issue for the Ghost given its weight, but Rolls-Royce says adding AWD will bring new clients to the Ghost and we believe them. As a matter of fact, Rolls-Royce Montreal president Gad Bitton credits the addition of all-wheel drive with attracting a younger buyer to the new Ghost.
No Other Interior Like It
The 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost has evolved considerably, but the interior remains quite similar to the previous Ghost. That’s a good thing, by the way. There’s nothing like a Rolls-Royce interior. It is unique in its old-school touches like the pull switches for the vent controls and dual rotators that control climate for your feet and face, but there are some new modern touches as well.
The major addition is the Ghost display on the passenger side of the dashboard. It glows and is surrounded by hundreds of stars, and contributes to reminding everyone inside that this is a very unique automobile. The Starlight Headliner is standard and still as awe-inspiring as ever. The headliner can has a shooting star function that kept my toddler mesmerized for 20 minutes.
A bigger screen would have been nice and quite honestly, the rear seats offer surprisingly cramped leg room in the standard wheelbase version of the Ghost we drove, but the rest of the interior is free of any criticism. The new Ghost does get more tech inside like a heated steering wheel which wasn’t available on the last Ghost. The infotainment system is straight from BMW and easy to use. Oh, and you can now control all four doors with a switch, which means no more door handles for you.
There are unique touches outside as well. The coach line painted on the side of the car is done by one man, Frank Court, who uses a special squirrel hair brush. You can choose any colour you want for that line, and just about any colour for the exterior as well. Rolls-Royce says the Ghost “whispers” luxury and that its future owners wanted to dial-down the opulence. Maybe there’s a world out there where the Ghost “whispers”, but in our world there is nothing subtle about the car.
People notice it everywhere, they slow down on the highway to snap a picture, they turn into the gas station where you just turned to get a closer look, they come up and ask you how much it costs, and they genuinely get excited about what they are looking at. The Ghost’ grille also lights up a night, confirming that Rolls-Royce brass and owners have a very different definition of what constitutes subtle luxury than you or I.
If you are considering a 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost, know that it is everything you expect and so much more. It’s beyond what a Bentley Flying Spur can offer and no, a Mercedes-Benz S-Class doesn’t offer “the same thing” for a quarter of the price. There’s nothing like driving a Rolls-Royce Ghost and for that reason alone, it’s worth the price of admission.