By on September 1, 2020

Rolls-Royce

Scratch that. It’s not an all-new car. You see, the second-generation Rolls-Royce Ghost carries over the original model’s Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament and rear-seat umbrellas.

The non-umbrella hardware is changed, however, and likely that’s more of interest to those of you reading. You Rolls-loving TTAC readers, you.

What’s new with the brand’s most affordable model? Read on.

First off, even entry-level Rolls buyers are not ordinary people, and the automaker makes this clear in its rundown of the new model. A decade’s worth of feedback went into the development of this minimalist rolling status symbol. Replacing the initial sedan that arrived back in 2009, the second-gen Ghost borrows the modular aluminum spaceframe found beneath the Phantom and Cullinan. It’s a lighter, stiffer platform, which should assert itself well when owners toss the thing about with reckless abandon.

Rolls-Royce

While wheelbase remains the same, the sedan now stretches 3.5 inches longer, stem to stern, and grows 1.2 inches in width. Another place where size remains the same is beneath the hood, where you’ll find a twin-turbo 6.75-liter V12 engine making 563 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic.

The world’s going green, but the Ghost isn’t about to shake off the big-displacement luxury of years past. Rolls-Royce says the placement of the engine affords the vehicle a perfect 50:50 weight distribution.

But modernity isn’t absent from the new Ghost. All-wheel drive and four-wheel steering arrives to enliven the driving experience and instill the model with an all-weather capability it previously lacked.

Rolls-Royce

Electricity also plays a larger role here, but not in terms of propulsion. Occupants will now be able to open and close the Ghost’s suicide coach doors without exerting themselves. Once closed, those doors will help cocoon occupants in a vault of silence, aided by 220 pounds of sound-deadening insulation and double-glazed windows all around.

A somewhat hazy planar suspension system works with pneumatic dampers at all four corners to remove as much vibration from the motoring experience as possible.

As for appearance, there’ll be no hesitation among passers-by as to what brand this car belongs to. Despite Rolls’ emphasis on creating a “post-opulence” car, one dedicated to purity and quiet refinement, the vehicle’s presence cannot be denied. The grille is flush and the lower air opening somewhat aggressive, but a conservative touch can clearly be seen. Inside, you’ll find careful attention paid to leather and wood, without the blatant tech-heavy ostentatiousness seen in high-end German sedans. There’ll be no accessing a sub-menu in the touchscreen interface to, say, adjust the flow of air spilling from the vents.

Rolls-Royce

Backseat passengers will, however, be able to access plenty of screen time. Perhaps they can watch Howards End.

Price? That’s TBD, though the entry sticker shouldn’t be too far removed from the $314,400 base price of today’s Ghost.

[Images: Rolls-Royce]

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53 Comments on “Ghost Sighting: Rolls-Royce’s ‘Entry-level’ Sedan Is All-new...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I like Jeremy Clarkson’s take on those who buy an ‘entry level’ Rolls-Royce. He says that it is very ‘sad’. As it demonstrates that their life did not end up the way that they planned. These are people who ‘aimed for the very top’. Who purchase a vehicle to demonstrate their status. But since they purchased the ‘entry level’ model it demonstrates that the did not quite make it. And every time that they are in their ‘entry level’ Rolls, when someone pulls up beside them in the ‘top line’ model, they have to ‘look away in shame’, as they are reminded that they did not make it ‘to the top’. A different but probably correct opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      Except that there has to /be/ a top line Rolls so that the people who have made it can differentiate themselves from the ones who can only afford the entry level one. And therefore, there has to /be/ an entry level Rolls, and, therefore, there have to be people who buy it. So all the buyers have their Rolls to play in the hierarchy.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I think it’s a bad move on Rolls Royce’s part to have what’s considered a “base” model. The whole idea of Rolls is bespoke which means to tailor each one to individual taste, but to designate one as “entry level” is just saying what Jeremy Clarkson said

      For years Cadillac had an entry level model called the “Calais”. My dad would snicker and say, “If you can’t afford a DeVille buy a Buick”

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “I think it’s a bad move on Rolls Royce’s part to have what’s considered a “base” model. ”

        My understanding from the interview was that RR wanted to attract the “nouveau riche.”

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Meh, Jeremy Clarkson’s one of those folks who got famous by being a loudmouth jerk, so I don’t put all that much stock in he says. Heck, he probably wishes he could AFFORD to drop $300,000 on one of these.

      If you can spend that kind of money on a car, you’ve made it, period, and as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter if you could spend another hundred grand.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        Jeremy Clarkson has a net worth of something like $60 million with a current income in the neighborhood of $20 million a year. Meaning he could drop more than $300K on a Rolls-Royce with a week’s earnings. [And also indicating that he is not an amazing saver.]

        He has owned some fairly interesting vehicles. (I don’t think money stops him from purchasing cars.)

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Well, even Clarkson has the money for one, he’s off base.

          If I had Rolls Royce money, this is the one I’d buy, and I don’t care if it’s the “entry level” model. This car oozes class and restraint; the rest of the line seems to be shouting “hey, lookie how much money I have.”

          And don’t even get me started on the Cullinan.

          In short, I’d say the rest of the line is as loud as Clarkson is.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      @Arthur Dailey,

      At age 60, Jeremy Clarkson’s numbers just about exactly match the ‘UAW’ definition here (‘expected’ net worth = 120M; actual net worth = 60M) . See the “Car Shopping Habits” section especially for a different perspective (the ‘PAW’):

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Millionaire_Next_Door

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      Yeah, because the last time someone pulled up next to me in any Rolls Royce has been, well, never. And I live in the wealthiest part of NJ, so there’s no shortage of high dollar cars around here.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike N.

      Also you can’t do the Grey Poupon exchange because the belt line of the Phantom is higher.

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      I think Clarkson is forgetting that there is a considerable contingent of the rich who pinch every penny. So, maybe they think they need to buy a RR (for image?), but they aren’t going to spend any more then the absolute minimum they can get away with. Not everyone with money feels like they have money.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    I watched the interview on Bloomberg this morning. There also was the question of WHEN RR would replace that V12 with full electrification.

    The answer was that they’re on schedule but that they wanted to get it right.

    What could possibly be difficult about replacing that V12 with batteries and 1, 2 or 4 electric motors? More intriguing, why would they want to?

    The moneyed don’t worry about stuff like that. If they did, they would donate ALL their money to the green cause.

    Except they don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      With all due respect, I think you’re being disingenuous.

      The reason Rolls-Royce would go to an all-electric lineup is because a Rolls-Royce is supposed to be silent and effortless. Nothing enables that experience better than an electric powertrain.

      Moreover, while it might not save owners money, it might save BMW Group some. If however many Rolls-Royces they sell a year were all-electric and zero-emissions, instead of big V12 models, it could lower their corporate fleet average. And the technology could trickle down to BMW’s mainstream cars. I’m sure there’s a market for an all-electric 7 Series with a reasonable amount of range, and in fact, just such a model is probably on its way.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        It’s going to happen. It’s the wave of the future.

        I’ll never have that kind of money to spend on a vehicle, so I’ll never have to face that existential decision of Electric or ICE?

        An Electric pickup truck to run around town with is more my speed, but I wasn’t able to get that.

        So I have given up. If and when it finally comes about, I will already be driving another ICE pickup truck for the rest of my driving life, because I’m not going to wait forever for this vaporware to materialize.

        I’m nudging up to 75 years of age, and at some point I may have to give up driving myself, even though the mind may still be willing.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I actually think going electric will be an issue for the high-end and exotic classes. Right now a 6.75L V12 or short-stroke 9000RPM V8/V12 are relatively unique among vehicles. It is something that only the people spending top dollar get to experience.

        Batteries have their charms, but they also commoditize things. Acceleration will certainly be there, but it will also be there for other EVs and the sensation between vehicles may not be appreciably different. A “silent and effortless” V12 is a feat of engineering. A “silent and effortless” EV is just meeting expectations.

        I think these brands are going to have to find a way to differentiate themselves beyond what powers them. Right now the Germans seem to be leaning towards high-tech, multi-screen razzle-dazzle, while RR/Bentley might be able to get by on insane material quality and customization. However, I think McLaren/Ferrari/Lamborghini/Aston Martin might have a tough time in the future.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I wish I could afford an exotic engine like that V12, but I have to console myself with that magnificent all-aluminum, 32-valve DOHC, 5.7L V8 Tundra engine, the Rolex of engines for the masses.

          I’m surprised that Cadillac and Lincoln haven’t jumped on the V12 bandwagon for their top-of-the-line offerings.

          They’d sell every single one they make, at whatever price the market will bear.

          And there would be a waiting line for more.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          Meh. I think these brands are zombies already, save for nouveau-riche posers. Through a series of bizarre accidents, I live in an extraordinarily wealthy town; many people here can drive whatever they like. And what they like is a Tesla, even though Tesla stopped actively chasing the luxury market three years ago. And when the Lucid Air comes out, they’ll probably want that. You can add all the cylinders you want to an internal combustion engine; it still can’t get as smooth and silent as an electric motor. You can try to style as much class, taste, and restraint as you like into body panels, but nothing says noblesse oblige like not making the plebes choke on your fumes.

          P.S. The “be driven in” crowd is not the same as the “drive” crowd.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      ” More intriguing, why would they want to?”

      I kind of live in that world and definitely have friends that own Rolls and various exotics. I’m a fan of exotics myself. One thing, is that they are nice cars and their owners enjoy them, but the attention they can attract gets old. Some of my friends are also famous and attract attention. Often, they do drive themselves. One huge advantage of an electric is the thing I keep harping on and that’s the ability to fuel at home. No going into gas stations and attracting attention. Try a simple errand and it takes you forever trying to get past autograph seekers. While I don’t have problems with people asking for autographs, I have experienced people that are fascinated by the car and ask a lot of questions. Then they want selfies next to the car etc.

      So, aside from the fact that an electric drivetrain is a step above a 12 in terms of quiet and power, the fuel at home aspect would be huge in this market. Even if it’s something not as flashy as a Rolls.

      By the way, two of my billionaire friends do a lot in terms of green technology. One does it because she does care about the environment. The other does it because he actually saves a boatload of money. Other than that, he’s definitely not into saving the environment.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        No doubt. OTOH, there aren’t many among ttac’s B&B who are able to lay down that much cash money, since financing is not an option.

        The best we “poh boys” can do is buy a mainstream EV to hum around in. And buying a Tesla is often still out of their financial reach.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @hdc: I know of a few middle-class people that own V12 Ferraris. They managed to get cars that at least for a while were unpopular and relatively cheap. More importantly, they’re able to do 100% of there own maintenance. I have huge respect for those guys.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            mcs, I no longer bend well across the middle and at almost 75 I’m too old to slither on the concrete driveway to do my own tooling and wrenching.

            But I can always dream, thank you.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            It’s tempting. Especially with all of the Youtube millionaires posting up a freshly bought used car nearly everyday.

            idrive1.net/vehicle-details/used-2006-aston-
            martin-db9-volante-carrollton-tx-id-37848300

            Would it really take any more time and money to take care of this versus something built before 1980?

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            “Would it really take any more time and money to take care of this [used exotic] versus something built before 1980?”

            Yes for anything other than oil/filters/tires/basic maintenance. Probably by an order of magnitude, at least vs. something domestic and reasonably common.

            I still think you should go for it. It’s only money.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            This guy went for it and there’s nothing said in the video that really scares me or that I couldn’t cover:
            youtube.com/watch?v=maNB5zk2dCA&t

            Just a matter of will.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            Three takeaways from that video:

            -The $9K he spent on oil leaks would go pretty far when invested in a 60s-70s domestic. Especially one that cost $40K to start and is presumably in pretty good shape.

            -Viper ownership has never seemed so good.

            -Despite all that, the exotics are still really tempting.

      • 0 avatar
        Bill Wade

        A friend of ours is remarkably wealthy, owns two Gulfstreams and a multi millon dollar mansion in Florida. His daily driver, a somewhat ratty 15 year old or so Chevy 1/2T. He dresses in Costco jeans and Walmart shirts.

        His reason, nobody pays the slightest attention to him.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      It’s laughable that in a world where a $60k Model 3 does 0-60 in 3.5 second and an 11 second quater mile someone thinks people are only buying them because they are green.

      As for Rolls nothing provides mountains of instant effortless torque with no vibration or noise like an electric motor.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        I agree with most comments. Yes, people don’t lease/buy Teslas because they are ‘green’. They do so because they are tech ‘junkies’ or because they have experienced its performance/acceleration.

        So once electric vehicles become even more main stream, particularly if they place an electric engine at each wheel, then how can ICE vehicles compete regarding performance?

        Well ask the Swiss. Their watches don’t keep time any better than a cheap electric watch. And the Swiss watch requires regular and fairly expensive maintenance. It is sold as a ‘work of art’ and a prestige piece for those who don’t need to ‘follow the clock’. ICE luxury vehicles could be marketed in the same manner. Mechanical versus electric.

        However I also agree that if I directed GM or Ford, I would build and sell a V-12 vehicle. A true ‘prestige’ auto. And I believe that if they priced it high enough and made it exclusive enough not only would they have a waiting list of buyers, they would be able to mark them up to make a ‘sweet’ profit. After all hasn’t Ford experienced something like this with its GT?

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I think the mechanical watch comparison is good, save two things:
          0. Stricter government regulations are going to put pressure on even these upper echelon brands. So even if they want to stay ICE it may be difficult.
          1. Having a more “mechanical” or “historical” interface didn’t save manual transmissions for these brands.

        • 0 avatar
          Greg Hamilton

          Arthur,
          You make many good points. However, from what I understand from my friends in the watch industry, the Swiss have been devastated from the onslaught of the Apple watch. The Swiss watches have been selling but not in the volumes they were accustomed to. Whether this analogy applies to autos we shall see.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Can you imagine buying a Rolls Royce and still have people look down their nose at you, because you got the starter kit? HaHa!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    For those of you claiming the Ghost is pointless because it’s not the nicest version, and the only reason you’d ever buy a Rolls-Royce is to show off…not really.

    As I see it, the Ghost is for a buyer who might ostensibly drive their car, but wants something ultra-lux. At 212.6 inches for the outgoing SWB model, it’s not much longer than a LWB 7 Series.

    Whereas the Phantom is a proper deuce-and-a-quarter, at 227 inches for the SWB. It’s also considerably wider, with bigger blind spots, and it draws more attention due to its gargantuan proportions for a sedan. Parking it is downright cumbersome. It isn’t the kind of car you’d probably want to daily drive, yourself. You’d want a chauffeur.

    If anything, the Ghost is more “the practical Rolls-Royce” than “the cheap Rolls-Royce.”

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      This is a good point, and likely speaks to how few people have seen a Phantom up close and in the metal. It’s enormous in a way that’s hard to capture in photos.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Kyree, I acknowledge that point but then you debate Clarkson. He said the same thing about the Porsche Cayenne. That it is for those who can’t afford a 911.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I have no problem debating Clarkson. He’s a very accomplished man with quite a few contributions to automotive journalism to his name; he also often has simplistic, snobby and deliberately sensational opinions. Beside which, a Cayenne and a 911 have even *less* in common than a Ghost and a Phantom. There are all sorts of legitimate reasons why you might have money to get a 911, but choose to get a Cayenne.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Guess I’m an “old soul”, but if money was no object in my life I’d treat myself to a loaded out Land Cruiser for everyday, a 911 Cabriolet for play, and Tesla Model Y for my ‘feeling techy’ days.

    I’m guessing out the door I could have all three for less than this.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I think the Model Y looks extremely ill-proportioned, so I’d trade it for a Model 3, which doesn’t have quite the same clown-like shape. Other than that, I like your list.

      The outgoing Land Cruiser is going to age especially well, design-wise, and we all know they’re bulletproof mechanically. Because it is handsome, understated and a good investment, the Land Cruiser is also the secret of the truly wealthy one-percenters. It’s about as plush as an Escalade or Range Rover (or Toyota Corp’s own LX 570), without looking as ostentatious as any of them.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    If it doesn’t have the latest in umbrella technology, I am crossing this off my list.

  • avatar
    ScarecrowRepair

    “twin-turbo 6.75-liter V12 engine making 563 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque”

    What!?!? What happened to “sufficient”?

    I’ll never stoop to buying a mere Rolls-Royce now. They have degraded the brand, cheapened it beyond compare. Mr Rolls and Mr Royce must be spinning in their graves.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I know it’s not in the same price range but I’d still take a Cadillac CT6 Blackwing over this for less than 1/3 the price. Shortsighted Cadillac could have at least kept it around.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    highdesertcat–I hear you. I am not 75 but at 68 there is only so long I would wait for an affordable EV. I could possibly buy this car but I do not want to use up my retirement on a depreciating car or truck. I wouldn’t want a used one either because of their high maintenance. Beautiful car but I would rather drive my more affordable low mileage 2012 loaded Buick Lacrosse for the affordable price of 11k. Don’t really have anything to prove to anyone.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “Don’t really have anything to prove to anyone.”

      And that wisdom and insight comes with age and experience.

      Live long and prosper. But most of all, Live Well.

      The only people you need to keep happy are You and Yours.

      One of my retired military friends trades his vehicles every two years, whether they need to be traded or not.

      So he’s got a vehicle for him, and a vehicle for her, and they trade them alternately. This year I think he gets a new 2021 vehicle (a truck) in Oct/Nov this year. Next year it will be his wife’s turn to pick out something that she likes.

  • avatar

    Don’t be a cheapskate buy the real thing. Or if you want seriously low price buy Chinese knockoff instead.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I am a cheapskate and proud of it. “A fool and his money are soon departed.”

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Inside Looking Out–the fool is usually the one who inherits the money and then squanders it. “From shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in 3 generations.”

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