Since there’s no such thing as an “entry-level” Rolls-Royce, perhaps its best to break down the company’s current offerings like this: the Ghost (which happens to be the least expensive Rolls-Royce) is targeted to those who prefer to drive themselves, while the Phantom is aimed at buyers who have people to do the driving for them.
That’s not to say that all Phantom owners prefer the back seat to the front, or even that all Ghost owners drive their own cars. Of the two models, the Phantom is the more luxurious, while the newer and smaller Ghost is the more entertaining to drive.
Don’t look for big changes to the Ghost lineup for 2013, though there will likely be special editions (like the Art Deco Ghost shown at the Paris Auto Show) introduced throughout the year. Like all Rolls-Royce models, personalization options for Ghost models are limited only by the buyer’s imagination and budget, and frequently-announced special models serve to illustrate this (and capitalize on regional styling tastes).
All Ghost models come powered by a twin-turbo 6.6-liter V-12, rated at 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque. That’s more than the Phantom gets, further illustrating the fact that the Ghost is meant for those who cherish their time behind the wheel. Despite the car’s sheer mass, it can accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds, on its way to a governed top speed of 155 mph. It feels more nimble in corners than you’d expect, too, but it does have a rather hefty thirst to satisfy. Even the ZF-sourced eight-speed transmission can’t help much here, as the Ghost returns just 13 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.
Though the Ghost shares some components with the BMW 7-Series, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If anything, it helps ensure that the Ghost is a driver’s car, one with a substantial amount of engineering, testing and development behind it. The car’s air suspension serves up a comfortable ride, while active anti-roll and chassis stabilization systems up the performance ante when the road gets twisty. We wouldn’t call it a sport sedan, but it is as sporting an ultra-luxury model as one can procure from Rolls-Royce
Like all Rolls-Royce models, the Ghost delivers owners a premium experience, from its fine, hand-stitched leather seating through its rich wood trim and available infotainment systems. If you’re trying to convey an air of success to others, few cars on the planet accomplish this quite as well as one with the “Flying Lady” adorning the hood, and the Ghost is no exception to this time-honored rule.
If you’re wondering what the Ghost is like to drive, see our first drive report on the 2010 model, as not much has changed since this was penned. For a more comprehensive review of the 2013 Rolls-Royce Ghost, see our full write-up on The Car Connection.