I’m more than well aware that I’m lucky enough to have been given the keys to a three quarters of a million dollar Rolls Royce to enjoy for a weekend, so please don’t think I’m not. Sure I’ve become a little jaded about the cars I get to drive but not in this case. I’m not even sure where to start with this article or what to compare it to, but I’ll do my best to convey just how epic the Rolls Royce Ghost Series II really is.
While in London last year I had the pleasure of riding in the back of The Wellesley Hotel’s Ghost on a number of occasions. It was my first experience in a Rolls Royce. I remember sitting in the back feeling the most relaxed I’ve ever felt in a car, arriving to each destination like I had a renewed purpose, I felt unstoppable. I was in complete awe of the car and the way it made me feel – I can’t compare that feeling to any other car I’ve been in, and I didn’t even drive it!
When you introduce the driving element, you really begin to understand why Rolls Royce is the absolute pinnacle of car making. Unlike the Phantom, the Ghost was introduced to be driven by its owners. A car you could be driven in, but also a car that delivered an exhilarating driving experience. After spending three days with the new generation Ghost II, I can happily admit not a single car I’ve driven in the last three years has come close to eclipsing the experience of being behind the wheel of the Ghost Series II.
That’s a pretty hefty claim following a four day stint with the Aston Martin Vanquish in October last year, but I’m standing by it. Rolls Royce have created something magical, an unparalleled brand experience, something I’ve never experienced before in a car. It’s almost as if the world stops while you float along the road, engulfed in beautiful silence.
But who would spend $750K on a car? It’s a question I was asked countless times over the weekend, while people milled around the Ghost II trying to work out what three quarters of a million dollars actually gets you. Chief Executive Officer Torsten Müller-Ötvös claims it’s the ‘Captains of Industry, entrepreneurs and successful business men and women who are the wealth and job creators in our economies.’ Not only has he described the exact market I assumed would be purchasing the car, he’s described the type of person I felt like driving the car.
On initial glance the Ghost II looks very similar to the first model, however, there have been a number of refinements in design and interior. The famous waft line has be re-designed on Ghost Series II to lean further forwards, while the grille has been lifted a touch to emphasis the wake channel on the bonnet. Re-sculpted adaptive LED headlights work with electronically controlled reflectors that move in the direction of travel in response to steering, which provides greater depth of vision while cornering. The slightly wider chassis accommodates a revised rear seat design in a ‘Lounge seat’ configuration, where the seats are gently angled towards each other to stimulate conversation (an awesome feature).
After a weekend I couldn’t decide which of the Ghost Series II seats was the best to be in. The rear is truly fit for a king. The central rotary control located on the arm rest gives you the power to control the music and television, while buttons on either side control the seat temperature, pitch and optional massage function. Finding your perfect seat combination, cracking a bottle of Champagne from the rear cooler and sinking your feet into the delicate lambswool floor mats, all while listening to the car’s incredible sound system is a fanciful experience to say the least.
Despite the comfort and opulence of the rear, I think my preference leaned towards the driver’s seat. The opportunity to be in control of such an incredible machine far outweighed my desire to get comfortable in the back. The Ghost Series II is a sensational car to drive. Initially I was intimidated by its size, weight and price, but by the afternoon, I was at complete ease with it. The cabin setting and the car itself heavily influence the way you drive it, gliding around town with all the time in the world. You let people merge, you accelerate gradually, you’re never looking for gaps in traffic or changing lanes to avoid it, you are nothing short of a gentleman on the road.
With such a calming nature it’s easy to forget that there’s a 563-hp, 6.6-litre twin-turbo V-12 waiting to be called upon. If required, the GhostSeries II will get you from a standstill to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds. I can’t confirm that particular stat, but I can confirm leaving an erratic M3 for dead on the Cahill Expressway. The 8-speed ZF gearbox redefines the word seamless and gets wired into the navigation system in Series II so that it can predict when to shift, a technology that was first seen in the Wraith. Inevitable body roll is countered by new suspension and an optional Dynamic Driving Package which delivered impressive results on the Bilgola Bends with four of us in the car.
I had one qualm with the car, not huge, but niggling nevertheless. I don’t think BMW (who own Rolls Royce) have got their Bluetooth functionality perfected. Every time I exited the vehicle and returned, I’d have an issue with my phone reconnecting, forcing me to repair it on a number of occasions. When you’re shelling out this sort of money for a car this just has to be perfect. The bespoke sound system was so good but got let down in the connectivity department.
The Ghost Series II is a car enjoyed on so many levels. It’s a joy to drive, a joy to experience and a joy to watch others experience. I drove three mates to Palm Beach one evening for dinner, two of whom have little to no interest in cars, and for the entire trip all we spoke about was how good the car was. If you opened a thesaurus and looked up ‘incredible’ I can guarantee that every listed alternative was used to describe the car that night. Explaining exactly what Rolls Royce has created is hard, it really must be experienced, and those lucky enough to do so, will never forget it.