While no one would accuse the outgoing Rolls-Royce Ghost of being not “Rolls-Royce” enough, it did hang its abundant opulence on BMW’s F01 7 Series chassis, a fact that for some may have taken a bit of the sheen from this entry-level Roller. With the reimagined 2021 Ghost, that is no longer a caveat as this sedan utilizes Rolls-Royce’s own Architecture of Luxury, a platform that was introduced with the latest Phantom and now underpins the Cullinan SUV.
We got to crawl over the new Rolls-Royce Ghost at a small, socially distanced reveal at Grand Touring Automobiles in Toronto. This is an important vehicle for Rolls – the previous Ghost was the best-selling vehicle in the marque’s history and brought in a whole new group of clients – younger and entrepreneurial. Or as Gerry Spahn, head of Rolls-Royce PR for North America, puts it, “The Ghost took Rolls-Royce down to business casual from tuxedo.”
“All-new” is bandied about a lot in this industry, but the 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost certainly qualifies – the only carryover bits are the umbrellas hidden inside the doors and the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornaments.
This new model is slightly longer and wider than the outgoing sedan, and while the styling does not stray too far, the 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost looks cleaner, more modern, and more muscular. Patrons will find familiarity with the rear-hinged coach doors (now fully powered), and of course, Rolls’ Parthenon grille (widened and subtly “down-lit”) makes a statement like no other. Nonetheless, Rolls-Royce says the Ghost’s understated elegance is a reflection of the “post-opulence” mandate that rejects superficial expressions of wealth. Lead designer Henry Cloke says the Ghost “doesn’t shout, but whispers.”
Sure, anyone spending upwards of $400,000 on a Rolls-Royce is not shy about displaying their fiscal liquidity, but this post-opulence thing does suggest there might be a shift away from glitz and bling among Rolls’ younger audience.
Not only is the Architecture of Luxury space frame lighter and stiffer, but it also bestows upon the Ghost all-wheel drive and rear-wheel steering – two important features that buyers of pinnacle luxury cars seek.
Rolls-Royce states the 2021 Ghost is the most technologically advanced vehicle it has produced, with the feature tech being the Planar Suspension System that furthers Roll’s magic carpet driving experience. The Planar system has three elements, the first possessing the charming handle of Flagbearer that is a nod to the early days of British motoring – when the Red Flag Act required a person with a red flag to walk ahead of a motorized vehicle. In the modern R-R world, Flagbearer sensors read the road ahead and adjust the air suspension accordingly to deal with those pesky road imperfections. The second element of the system is the eight-speed transmission that uses sat-nav info to ensure the car is in the correct gear for the upcoming topography. The final pillar of the Planar system involves upper wishbone damping – essentially a damper for the dampers.
Ghost engineers burned the candle at both ends to ensure the sedan’s cabin is whisper-quiet, strategically placing 100 kg of soundproofing material. Interestingly, they initially carried the quest a bit too far, and the near-complete silence proved to be disconcerting for passengers. Lead engineer Jonathan Simms said they had to introduce some sound elements back in to create “one uniform tone within the cabin.”
The Ghost’s cabin is a spectacular blend of the old and new. The chrome “organ pull” vent controls probably weigh more than your purse dog, and nothing as crass as a tachometer will alert you to the efforts of the 6.75L twin-turbo V12 putting out 563 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. But we still get the wonderfully anachronistic Power Reserve meter, and of course the obsessive craftsmanship that makes a Rolls a Rolls. Standard fare for the new Ghost is the Starlight Headliner with a shooting star function.
Canadian base price for the standard wheelbase 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost is $343,140. The car pictured here is optioned to $461,074. Look for an autoTRADER.ca review of this very Ghost soon.