I haven’t driven a Rolls Royce before and seriously who has? So when the chance arose to actually get behind the wheel of one I immediately questioned the right of such a John Citizen to be given the opportunity. So with the odd heart flutter and an ultra-vigilant approach to driving off I went with the home mortgage equalling beast at my fingertips. This was the day I drove the Rolls Royce Ghost Series II.
The 10 Minute Test Drive.
I doubt any prospective buyer would ever walk into a Rolls Royce dealership and take the traditional test drive. I’m tipping people with this kind of coin have already done their research or are simply upgrading. However the first 10 minutes proved to me this was unlike any other car I’ve encountered.
First up the doors have the constitution of a nuclear blast door in some World War Two bunker, they seal you inside the cabin with a solid electrically assisted thud. Sitting in front of one of the most glorious layouts you’re likely to ever see brings new meaning to the phrase “sense of occasion”. The instrument cluster looks like something designed by a bloke who also dabbles in creating the finest Grandfather clocks. The centre console and surrounding dash features chrome, fine wood veneer and air vents with mechanical plungers that alter air flow. The attention to detail is unsurpassed, heck even the sun visor lights have a beautiful chrome surround.
The respect given to maintaining a traditional heritage look is very evident. But they’ve still managed to incorporate modern-day technological marvels without spoiling the general antique feel. A Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller is the hub of the BMW derived interface. The multimedia interface is showcased via a 10.25” high definition screen but Rolls Royce has managed to provide a cabin where many key functions are catered for by simply pushing an actual button.
After firing the enormous V12 via the push button ignition things get real as the famed 104 year old Spirit of Ecstasy figurine rises from the famed grill. Looking out over the optional Silver satin bonnet is like being seated at the end of a long granite altar and once moving you honestly feel God-like.
I’ve read about the so-called “waftability” of a Rolls Royce, now I totally get it. You drift along the road in an uncanny, silent and ultra composed way. It’s a truly effortless motoring experience, gear changes are hidden away as if they’re offensive, noise is muted to just a slight whir of tyre roar and bumps are dissolved before they even get a chance to disturb the occupants.
Despite all this supreme plushness, the Ghost can hustle in a way that defies its substantial near 2.5-tonne frame. In fact when planted I’d use the very un-Rolls term of “rocket” to describe the pace. After all we are talking sub five second 0-100km sprint times here. But the dash is done in such a hushed manner it’s almost like a caring parent is there covering your eyes from something horrendous. The Ghost stays proud even when driven in a very unstately manner however it would be a stretch to label it nimble. It takes a few turns of the large wheel to navigate roundabouts and parking it is tantamount to manoeuvring an aircraft carrier.
However after just 10 minutes I decided that $747,860 was a perfectly reasonable ask for all this bliss.
Ins And Outs
The facts and figures are almost laughable. Up front sits a discreet 6.6-litre V12 with 420kW @ 5250rpm and 780Nm @ 1500rpm. The exact time for the all-important 0-100 /hkm dash is 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 250 km/h is possible before the computer says that’s enough.
A satellite navigation aided 8-speed automatic is so slick it almost feels like a hidden feature. The claim is that the car can read the road ahead in terms of geography and select just the right gear. I’m sure it all works as seamlessly as the rest of the creation but it’s an almost impossible talent to either feel or identify.
The Salamanca Blue Ghost Series II we sampled had a range of options fitted with some highlights including a television tuner, head-up display, rear theatre configuration, rear compartment cool box, picnic tables, lambswool floormats, silver satin bonnet surround, 21” 5 T-spoke full polished wheels, bespoke audio and night vision. Yes night vision, see our full tech review for that one!
The Hip Pocket
Clearly only obtainable for the very rare few among us the Rolls Royce Ghost Series II has a starting price of $550,000. But given the bespoke (made to order) content that can be installed in these cars prices quickly escalate to unfathomable levels, in our case try $747,860. Rolls Royce say that virtually all Ghosts purchased in Australia feature some form of bespoke content.
Fuel economy is of no concern to anyone who gets around in one of these but for the record a combined figure of 14.0L / 100km is claimed, I tended to be in the high 16’s. A four-year unlimited warranty is thrown on.
EFTM Rubber Stamp of Approval.
Having never driven a Rolls Royce it’s a tad hard to equate it to any other model or series. What is known is that the Series II Ghost scores some minor cosmetic changes to the grand front end mainly surrounding the headlamps. There are new bumper designs and different crease lines here and there plus the aforementioned gearbox that uses satellites to get it right. The suspension has been re-engineered to help with cornering and a higher level of bespoke content can now be ordered. But at the end of the day this is a mighty automobile, it represents the very best in motoring. Simply mind-blowing stuff, I award the Rolls Royce Series II the EFTM Distinction Rubber Stamp of Approval.