Car review: Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II a head-turner

The new Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II offers performance and comfort on top of a commanding street presence. -- ST PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN
The new Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II offers performance and comfort on top of a commanding street presence. -- ST PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN
The new Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II offers performance and comfort on top of a commanding street presence. -- ST PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN
The new Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II offers performance and comfort on top of a commanding street presence. -- ST PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN
The new Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II offers performance and comfort on top of a commanding street presence. -- ST PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN
The new Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II offers performance and comfort on top of a commanding street presence. -- ST PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN

Rolls-Royce's revitalised Ghost offers enthusiasts effortless power and a quiet ride

Know what makes you wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy? A Rolls-Royce Ghost in your driveway, that's what. Better still, a Ghost Series II.

Oh yes, a glossy black Ghost Series II at your disposal will definitely make you feel like the artist previously known as Puff Daddy. Or for that matter, any blinged-out multi-millionaire celebrity.

The Series II is a refreshed version of a grand carriage that was launched in 2009, with subtle changes designed to make it more alluring than before.

According to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, the Series II has new hydraulic rear axle bearings that improve ride comfort and insulate the cabin further from vibration.

The car is also fitted with Satellite Aided Transmission, which uses GPS and mapping data to ensure the Roller is always in the right gear to suit the curve of the road.

A car fitted with Dynamic Driving Package will have tweaks made to the steering and suspension systems to improve cornering abilities.

Even though the test-car was not fitted with this package, it is brilliantly flawless on the go. Despite its size and heft (5.4m and 2.36 tonnes), it proves to be, more often than not, magically effortless, thanks no doubt to an obscenely big bi-turbo V12 nestled beneath its slightly restyled bonnet and grille.

This 6.6-litre power plant churns out 563bhp and 780Nm of torque from 1,500rpm - unchanged from the original. As before, this allows the Ghost to reach the century mark in 4.9 seconds, which is almost as unbelievable as the spectre the car is named after.

But conversion comes rather quickly once you get behind the wheel. The Ghost makes haste with so little exertion that all your right foot does is caress its lightly sprung accelerator pedal.

A power reserve meter - which Rolls-Royce installs in place of a tachometer - usually shows the engine having more than 80 per cent of oomph to spare. Even when you are passing that little red roadster on the left.

Despite its cushy ride, the Ghost leans very little when it is taken around a bend fast. Its suspension has a way of resisting dive and squat too.

To be honest, Satellite Aided Transmission sounds gimmicky and there is no evidence that the Roller benefits from it. The car has so much reserves and its chassis is so cognitive that it will sail along serpentine stretches even if it were in the wrong gear (which, given the car's excellent ZF transmission, is a rather remote possibility to begin with).

In fact, the car has such an uncommon blend of performance and comfort that it makes you wonder why there are still out-and-out sports cars today. After all, here is a high-performance chariot with no compromise in comfort or space, and with as much road presence and head-turning cachet.

But of course, the Ghost does not make the howling noises that sports car enthusiasts yearn. In fact, it makes no noise at all. The cabin is so graveyard quiet that the wind becomes audible towards 100kmh.

If driving such a behemoth seems daunting, fear not. The Ghost is friendlier than it looks and you will have no issue negotiating tight ramps, parallel parking spaces or U-turns.

Inside, front seats now have electrically adjustable thigh support and rear seats are re-angled slightly to allow passengers to chat without having to turn their heads too much.

There are a few other cosmetic changes inside and out that are supposed to make the Ghost even more attractive.

Is it an improvement over the original? It is hard to say, as a test-drive of the original was too brief and too long ago (although my archived review noted that the car was far sportier and more involving than the granddaddy Phantom).

But having clocked so many other performance cars since, I can safely say the Ghost is out of this world when it comes to delivering the two things that the rich and famous crave - power and recognition.

christan@sph.com.sg