By on August 12, 2020

The next time you don your best wool and tweed garb and grab the Holland & Holland for a day of upland game hunting on the moors, you might want to leave the largest of Rolls-Royces in your heated garage. That’s because the next-generation Ghost, the most affordable of Rolls’ cars, will send power to all four wheels.

Retailing for a mere $314,400 (2020 model), the now decade-old Ghost is a suicide-doored alternative to the gauche, look-at-me Phantom, Wraith, and Dawn, to say nothing of the Cullinan SUV. Due for a full revamp this fall, the Ghost stands to gain some of the features modern drivers can’t do without.

Specifically, all-wheel drive. Not content to just add it and move on, Rolls-Royce claims the next-gen Ghost will feature four-wheel steering, a new aluminum platform, and a painstakingly crafted suspension aimed at boosting the car’s “magic carpet ride” handling.

All aboard.

The automaker detailed the changes this week, claiming that, when notified that the company was working on a new Ghost, existing customers weighed in. They wanted more, apparently. Don’t they know it’s an entry-level car?

“To fulfill this challenging brief, Rolls-Royce’s engineering experts rejected the use of a pre-existing platform,” the automaker said. “Instead, they configured the marque’s proprietary spaceframe architecture to incorporate elements of the brand’s existing model portfolio such as all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering, while adapting the structure to accommodate significant advances in Rolls-Royce’s hallmark magic carpet ride and dynamic abilities.”

Groovy stuff, but wait till you hear the nitty-gritty behind the car’s newfound road manners:

“A key development was the Planar system, which is comprised of three elements. The first is an Upper Wishbone Damper unit, which is mounted above the front suspension assembly and creates an even more stable and effortless ride,” the company stated. “The result of three years of development, this is a world-first technology. The second is the Flagbearer system, which uses cameras to read the road ahead and prepare the suspension system for any changes in road surface. The third is Satellite Aided Transmission, which draws GPS data to pre-select the optimum gear for upcoming corners. The Planar system allows new Ghost to anticipate and react to even the most demanding road surface.”

Obsessions over comfort aside, Rolls-Royce claims the new Ghost is nothing more than an exercise in “uncomplicated versatility.” The automaker says it’s not trying to make a “grand statement.”

That may very well be true for Rolls-Royce, but it might not be for the average U.S. Rolls-Royce buyer.

[Image: Rolls-Royce]

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12 Comments on “Leave the Cullinan in the Garage – Rolls-Royce’s Ghost to Go AWD...”


  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Well, I’m sure part of it is the fact that—well before the advent of the Bentayga—Bentley’s volume-sellers were AWD. The 2004-2018 models used an Audi-like engine-forward AWD layout, while the newest ones share their platform with the Panamera, and so have a more-traditional engine layout, but still with AWD. With the more-heritage Mulsanne now discontinued (sob), *all* Bentleys are AWD, at this point in time.

    Also, I wonder what the benefit is to moving the Ghost, Dawn and Wraith off of the 5/6/7 Series platform, and onto the Architecture of Luxury with the new Phantom and Cullinan. Not that I’m complaining.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      “Bentley’s volume-sellers”

      For perspective, Bentley sold fewer than 7 vehicles per day in the U.S. in 2017 (all models combined).

      [In 2018, Rolls-Royce sold fewer than 1 vehicle per day in the U.S.]

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        True, although I just mean the lower-end Bentleys that weren’t the Azure, Brooklands or Arnage…and later the Mulsanne. The Continental GT, Continental GTC, and Continental Flying Spur/Flying Spur did way more business for Bentley. I suspect that’s why they couldn’t justify extending the Mulsanne’s life, and so engineered the latest (2020+) Flying Spur to take its place.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    This is not the AWD system in your $30K crossover. This is some impressive stuff here. I would love to take a Roller with AWD and 4-wheel steering for a ride through some twisties :)

  • avatar

    Damn it! They HAD to announce the new Ghost would have AWD and AWS. Now I can’t decide whether to put in an offer for the low mileage Chrysler Sebring sedan I saw on Craigslist or wait for the new Ghost. Decisions, decisions…

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @mjg: Yeah, now I’m torn between the Ghost and the Buick Encore GX. They’re both AWD luxury vehicles so there shouldn’t be much difference between the two, right? Well, there is the fact that the Ghost has 4 times the number of cylinders. But other than that… /sarc

      Although, I’m kind-of liking the Wraith Black Badge Edition with that 68 Cuda back end. Optional carbon fiber spirit of ectasy and that black and blue interior is amazing. I have a black and blue theme going with my vehicles. Although one is clear over it’s carbon fiber body, but still black. What was funny is that the black label offers piano black surfaces. Oh yeah, like I want the dash of my $350k to resemble a Nissan Versa. Just squint a little and you can pretend you’re in a nissan rental special.

  • avatar

    I pass. It will increase weight and decrease fuel efficiency.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    All Royces should be AWD now a days. It is not exactly a muscle car you know!

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “It is not exactly a muscle car you know!”: 624 horsepower and a zero to 60 time of 4.1 to 4.3 seconds and it’s not a muscle car? The Black Label versions definitely are and have the appearance to go along with the performance. They even copied the back end of the 68 cuda on the Wraith.

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