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2017 Rolls-Royce Ghost

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2017 Rolls-Royce Ghost Expert Review

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The 2017 Rolls-Royce Ghost is the "entry-level" vehicle from the fabled British brand, but if relativity ever applied to such words, this is it. By "entry level," we mean this ultra-luxury sedan starts around $310,000 -- some $100,000 less than the outgoing Phantom flagship. Of course in this realm of cars -- and for the plutocrats who buy them -- such figures are trifling. We could point to the Ghost's opulent interior, serene ride and V12 engine as rationale, but in reality you could have similar traits for far less in a BMW 7 Series or even a Bentley Flying Spur. But that's not the point. A Rolls-Royce is a crowning achievement, and driving one shows the world you're the one wearing the crown.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you'd prefer to drive a Rolls-Royce sedan than be driven in one, the Ghost is your motorcar. It has all the pomp and power associated with the brand, but is more manageable and more enjoyable to drive. An extended-wheelbase variant is offered, should passengers want more room to stretch out.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Let's address the obvious first: If you're fretting over the cost of purchasing and owning a Ghost, we suggest you look (slightly) down-market. A Bentley Flying Spur, Mercedes-Maybach and yes, even this Rolls's own cousin the BMW 7 Series, offer sophistication and a supreme experience in their own right for far less.

How It Ranks
What's New for 2017

For 2017, Rolls-Royce goes one shade darker with its Black Badge variants. Aimed at "today's generation of young, self-empowered, self-confident rule-breakers," the Ghost Black Badge has more power, sportier driving manners, and darker-hued interior and exterior elements.

Driving the Ghost
Driving Impressions

When the Ghost was introduced in 2010, it marked a shift in thinking for Rolls-Royce, one meant to appeal to a younger -- albeit just as wealthy -- clientele who...

... valued doing things for themselves. Among those tasks is driving. Or perhaps it's more apt to say “the experience of driving.” Piloting a Ghost can't be described any other way. With the aroma and feel of fine leathers and woods the Ghost is a sensory feast. This sedan's solidity and mass are unmistakable from behind the wheel, and part of the appeal of the Rolls-Royce brand. Yet compared to a Phantom, it's surprisingly nimble. Throw a Ghost into a corner, and it won't protest but rather hunkers down and accepts the challenge. The twin-turbo V12 engine, not surprisingly, grants swift, hushed acceleration. The Ghost builds momentum so effortlessly and travels with such serenity that the outside world feels a world away.

BLACK BADGE
This bespoke treatment represents the "darker" side of Rolls-Royce, and it's a sensible move to attract a wider (read, younger) range of multimillionaires who desire opulence with edge. In addition to unique aesthetics, the Ghost's self-described alter-ego has more power, quicker throttle and transmission response, and recalibrated suspension and steering feel.

BESPOKE PERSONALIZATION OPTIONS
You don't so much buy a Rolls-Royce as you commission one, which is part of the allure of owning such a steed. From the famed Starlight Headliner that re-creates a galaxy over your head to having your initials inscribed in the dash, the Ghost you want is the Ghost you'll get.

2017 Rolls-Royce Ghost Details
Interior

There is a wonderful combination of high-tech modernity and old-world craftsmanship in the 2017 Rolls-Royce Ghost. You'll find flawless leather, the finest woods, and an undeniable stateliness to the interior beyond what you'll likely ever see in an automobile. The front seats are eminently comfortable, and the rear seats offer a "lounge" configuration that gently angles the seats toward each other for easier conversation. Extended-wheelbase Rolls-Royce Ghost models have over a half-foot more legroom on top of the standard model's already-generous space. Black Badge versions have darker hues, but like any Rolls, its handcrafted interior is customized to your tastes.

Exterior
2017 Rolls-Royce Ghost photo

There's nothing small about this "baby" Rolls-Royce, except when compared to the huge Phantom. The standard-wheelbase version comes in at 212.6 inches in length, while an extended-wheelbase (EWB) variant arrives at 219.3 inches; that's just under and over 18 feet in length, respectively. The massive grille, slab sides, soft curves, and even the tiny headlights, seemingly lost in the sheet metal, add to the impressiveness of the car. Up front, the Spirit of Ecstasy rises proudly from the hood. In Black Badge form, the emblem takes on a darker hue, as do other exterior elements.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The expectation is that the prospective customer views a 2017 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II as a blank canvas, free to become his or her own rolling expression of prestige. Every Ghost starts with a V12 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission, multiple cameras to aid in parking (one always backs a Rolls-Royce into place, you know), separate climate zones, a head-up driver's display, an audio system with a 10-channel amplifier, and panoramic sunroof (standard-wheelbase models). A rotary dial on the armrest controls functions such as navigation and audio, and will be familiar to users of the iDrive infotainment system from corporate parent BMW.

Optional Equipment

Even before you head to the Bespoke shop, the Rolls-Royce Ghost offers numerous options that can add tens of thousands of dollars to the price. They include everything from umbrellas that store in the doors to the Dynamic Package with larger wheels and revised gearbox tuning. A driver's-assistance package includes night vision, lane-departure warning and active cruise control. The Entertainment Package features monitors built into the back of the front-seat headrests and a Bespoke Audio system. All seats can be had with ventilation and massage, while the Individual Rear Seat option retains the 3-row bench but makes the outboard positions electrically adjustable.

Under the Hood

The 5,500-pound Rolls-Royce Ghost is a lot of car, so it's fitting that parent company BMW has fitted it with a lot of engine: The 6.6-liter V12 puts out 563 horsepower and 605 lb-ft of torque. In the new Black Badge models, output increases to 603 horsepower and 620 lb-ft of torque. The enormous engine makes this a surprisingly quick car, reaching 60 mph from a standstill in less than five seconds on its way to a governed top speed of 155 mph. The smooth 8-speed automatic transmission uses GPS satellite data to read the road ahead and anticipate the proper gear needed. That sounds cool, but in our experience it didn't work any better or worse than a normal setup. All Ghost models are rear-wheel drive.

6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V12
563 horsepower @ 5,250 rpm
605 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 mpg

6.6-liter twin-turbocharged V12 (Black Badge)
603 horsepower @ 5,250 rpm
620 lb-ft of torque @ 1,650-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 mpg

Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.

The 2017 Rolls-Royce Ghost has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) that begins over $310,000 once you factor in its $2,750 destination charge and $2,600 gas-guzzler tax. Extended-wheelbase models add over $30,000 to that figure. Then there are the options and individual customizations that can add tens of thousands -- or more -- to these costs. For the mere sake of comparison, know that you could buy a Bentley Flying Spur, Mercedes-Maybach S600, or a typical American home (maybe even two!) for far less. If you have the means to purchase one of these world-class sedans, though, it will likely join an already impressive fleet. Residual values aren't really available, but the reality is that given its rarefied starting price, even modest depreciation would quickly sheer its value by tens of thousands of dollars.

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