ROLLS-ROYCE has cornered the Harrods shopping trip market with luxury that is second to none.
Now it has entered a new era . . . by becoming cool.
For all its comfort and high-end materials, you wouldn’t see a rapper anywhere near a Roller ten years ago. He’d have a Gallardo or a G-Wagen.
But not only are the likes of Ed Sheeran and Stormzy putting Rollers in their videos, all the proof you need is the prop the PR man provided for the Ghost launch.
I asked “for a bottle of something” to show off the drinks fridge in the back.
Two minutes later, a chilled bottle of Ace Of Spades champagne was delivered in a velvet bag looking more bling than the 1,340 stars in the head liner.
For those not in the know, Ace Of Spades is owned by Jay-Z and he unlocked his cellar for Roller so its customers could have something nice to drink.
I’m sure Jay-Z got a deal on a set of wheels in return.
To underline everything I’ve just said, the average age of a Roller owner has eroded from 56 to 42 in the past few years — thanks partly to the Cullinan SUV, obviously, but mostly due to edgier Black Badge models.
Now let’s concentrate on the second-generation Ghost you see here.
Key facts: ROLLS-ROYCE GHOST
Engine: 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12
Power: 571hp, 850Nm
Top speed: 155mph
SERENE AND SWAN-LIKE
Bosses call it “post-opulent” with a “pure, minimalist design”. So, less fussy then. I like it. Except for the illuminated front grille.
Only three things have been carried over from the original Ghost and they are the self-levelling R-R wheel centre caps, umbrellas in the doors and the Spirit Of Ecstasy on the nose.
Ghost take two is built on an all-aluminium structure so it is no longer a re-skinned BMW 7 Series.
Price? From £250,000. Which is pennies if you are one of the world’s top one per cent. Or just half a week’s wages if you are Gareth Bale.
But I will say sitting front or back, driving or being driven, the Ghost is a truly wonderful way to travel. Whisper-quiet, smooth, luxurious and effortless, it just floats along like, er . . . a ghost.
You can be chatting away at 130mph and think it is 30. That’s because there’s a lot of tech — and I mean a lot of tech — working hard in the background to keep everything calm and peaceful. As well as 100kg of soundproofing.
This car is all-wheel drive with all-wheel steering, adaptive dampers and a world-first upper-wishbone damper on the front.
But there are no drive modes in a Ghost. Not necessary. This car is a concierge that takes care of everything.
Rolls EV by 2029
THE first all-electric Rolls will be here by 2029 and it will be an entirely new model with a new name – rather than an EV version of anything on sale today.
PR chief Richard Carter said: “It’s something we are already working on. We will draw on BMW technology.”
Silent electric power suits the serenity of a Rolls perfectly and Carter added: “Our customers welcome the idea of an electric Rolls-Royce but they are not interested in a hybrid.”
The forward-facing camera and satellite-aided navigation read the road ahead to pre-arm the suspension and keep the ride serene and swan-like.
It also responds beautifully to your right foot.
The Ghost shares the same 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 as the Cullinan and, to put it bluntly, with 571hp and 850Nm of torque on tap, you can set off late and still arrive early.
The way it performs is remarkable for something of this size (5.5 metres) and weight (2.5 tons). It can’t match the 207mph top speed of a Bentley Flying Spur but it’s not supposed to.
The biggest compliment I can give it is to say, drive a Ghost calmly and it is the closest feeling to being in an electric car without it actually being electric.
ROLLS survived lockdown without job cuts. The Goodwood factory in West Sussex – which employs 2,000 people – is now back at full two-shift production with strict Covid measures in place.
Boss Torsten Muller-Otvos said: “There is a renewed sense of energy, enthusiasm and optimism. I’m particularly delighted that we’ve maintained our workforce.”
Sales will be down a third on last year’s record of 5,152 cars.
Now, let’s finish off in the back. Some want to be seen in a Roller. Others don’t. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t close the electric blinds and watch a bit of TV while having a back rub and sipping a glass of Jay-Z’s finest.
I’ve had tougher days.
Good work, Goodwood.
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