2012 Rolls-Royce Ghost Speed Express Review

The principle of delivering simplicity out of complexity runs throughout 2012 Rolls-Royce Ghost and 2012 Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase. Everything is designed, engineered and crafted to be so invitingly approachable, so simple, it encourages you to regard either car as appropriate for any occasion. The advanced technology serves only to make driving easier and more enjoyable, not to intrude or confuse. While the phenomenal power of the twin turbo 6.6-litre V12 engine is both effortless and rewarding. Finally, the uncluttered interiors cosset the occupants and are a place to enjoy spending time. Simplicity may be hard to achieve, but it’s worth the effort.

Ghost and Ghost Extended Wheelbase are the essence of Rolls-Royce in its simplest, purest form. The classic Rolls-Royce proportions are all present and correct: the ideal 2:1 ratio of the height of the wheels to the height of the body; the long wheelbase and bonnet; the short overhang at the front and the long overhang at the rear. Indeed, our Chief Designer has his own unique way of describing Rolls-Royce Ghost. “Ghost is more like a well-tailored jacket than a formal suit. Its powerful presence and proportions leave you in no doubt that it’s cut from the same cloth as the rest of the marque.” In our opinion, it sums up perfectly what we set out to achieve.

The first time you push the start button and press the accelerator, you will be astonished by the lack of noise from the engine. Then by how whisper-quiet it remains, no matter how hard you push it. And even though Ghost Extended Wheelbase is 17 cm (6.7 inches) longer than Ghost, our engineers have gone to great lengths to ensure it offers the same exceptional driving dynamics. The airsprings, electronically controlled dampers and Active Roll Stabilisation take multiple readings from sensors around the car and continually adjust the suspension accordingly. This ensures they stay level at all times, even when travelling flat out along uneven road surfaces. Not only does this make for a more dynamic and less tiring ride for the driver, it also improves ride comfort for the passengers. More importantly, it helps create the magic carpet-like ride Rolls-Royce is famous for.

Rolls-Royce Ghost and Ghost Extended Wheelbase will effortlessly propel you from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.9 seconds and 5.0 seconds respectively.* While these figures are impressive in their own right, what separates them from other performance cars is how gracefully and smoothly their new twin turbo 6.6-litre V12 engine delivers a seemingly endless surge of power. This is hardly surprising considering a maximum torque of 780 Nm (575 lb ft) is available from as low as 1,500 rpm. Or that it’s capable of generating 563 bhp (420 kW / 570 PS). What is surprising though, is the impression the eight-speed automatic ZF gearbox gives of having an infinite first gear. And the feeling of utter exhilaration that only a beaming smile can truly express.

Rolls-Royce Ghost and Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase aren’t just designed to accelerate in the shortest possible time. They’re also engineered to stop in the shortest possible distance, and with the least amount of drama. You can brake with confidence through turns or on winding roads thanks to the Dynamic Stability Control. It can even detect when you intend to apply the brakes. If you lift your foot from the accelerator quickly, it will prime the brakes with extra pressure. Then when you press the brake pedal it will apply extra force, enabling you to bring the car to a sudden and safe standstill.

Entering and exiting the driver’s and passengers’ compartments are equally graceful. The low sill height means you step effortlessly on to, rather than climb into, the car. While the rear-hinged coach doors, which open to an unrivalled 83 degrees, add an extra sense of theatre for the rear passengers. Once inside either car, you are greeted by a contemporary interior with large expanses of soft full-grain leather, natural wood veneers and deep tufted Blenheim carpets. The cashmere-blend roof lining adds to the sense of openness and space. So too does the optional panorama sunroof. The overall impression is of being cocooned in your own private sanctuary from the outside world.

Our guiding principle of simplicity is immediately evident when you settle into the driver’s seat.
Even though they are the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce Ghost we have ever produced, you aren’t confronted by rows of switches or banks of buttons. Instead the veneered dashboard remains clear and uncluttered. Only those controls needed for everyday driving are present. Secondary controls are discreetly hidden until required, and situated where you can operate them without a second thought. Another classic Rolls-Royce characteristic is the authority driving position, which gives you a commanding view of the road. While the precise alignment of the steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals with the centre of your seat reduces fatigue on long trips. At the press of a button, the rear coach doors close effortlessly and silently behind you once you’re inside the rear compartment. The informal lounge seating configuration creates a serene and convivial environment. While its slight curve adds a feeling of intimacy as it allows you to turn towards the person sitting next to you. The high shoulder line and large rear pillars allow you to relax in private. Yet at the same time, enjoy a clear and commanding view of the scenery around you.

Once inside the rear passenger compartment, it is immediately apparent where every centimetre of the additional length has been added. The Rolls-Royce Ghost extra legroom invites you to stretch out, while the abundance of extra space gives you more room to work, entertain or just relax and appreciate the exquisite craftsmanship in every detail. It also allows even more possibilities for personalisation, so you can create a car that is as unique as you are.

Charles Rolls and Henry Royce met for the first time on 4 May 1904 over lunch in the Midland Hotel, Manchester. On that day they agreed to start producing and selling cars under the name Rolls-Royce. Within three years, they launched The Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost a car of legendary reliability. This was demonstrated when it was driven virtually non-stop between London and Glasgow 27 times a staggering 14,371 miles. It led a motoring journalist to describe Rolls-Royce as producing ‘the best car in the world’. A tradition we are proud to continue with its modern-day namesake. Indeed, we are still driven by Sir Henry Royce’s inspiring words. They encourage our designers to challenge automotive conventions and produce ideas others would deem impossible. They challenge our engineers to find innovative solutions to make them possible. And spur our craftspeople to painstakingly turn them into the finished product. It’s how we’ve always made our cars, and it’s how we always will, which is ultimately what makes a Rolls-Royce a Rolls-Royce.


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