2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II First Drive

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There are many things which make a Rolls-Royce a Rolls-Royce, but only one is essential: a certain attitude. The Ghost Series II delivers that attitude in spades.

What is that attitude? It’s an air of significance combined with an overt desire for exquisite luxury. The expression of that attitude results in a car, and an experience, that makes it clear the person inside is Someone Who Matters—whether they’re driving or riding peacefully in the rear.

Fortunately, the kind of person who wants that experience is the exact kind of person Rolls-Royce built the Ghost for in the first place. For the Series II, Rolls wanted to preserve that sense of recognition and importance for existing owners, while refining and improving the experience for owners yet to join the brand. It has succeeded.

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What’s New

To keep existing owners happy with their cars by not making them obviously out of date, visual updates to the Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II are subtle and minimal, though they are rather extensive.

The entire front end has been massaged, but new daytime running light surrounds for the LED headlights are among the only new items, and the most visible of the alterations.

2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II, First Drive. Photo by Greg Jarem for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA.

2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II, First Drive. Photo by Greg Jarem for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA.

Under the skin, the Ghost Series II adopts the Satellite Aided Transmission system from the Wraith. Predictively selecting from the eight available speeds based on topography and road data coordinated by satellite-determined position, the system isn’t focused on enhancing performance or gas mileage, but rather on enhancing the very Rolls-Royce trait of smoothness. The system could as easily be named Satellite Aided Wafting.

In the cabin, technology is the focus for the Ghost Series II updates, as the luxury boxes had already been checked with care in the original Ghost. New features include a WiFi hotspot and a Bespoke Audio System which Rolls-Royce bills as the “most exhaustively engineered and finest audio system in automotive history.”

That’s a tall claim to make of an audio system, especially with excellent options from Bowers & Wilkins, Burmester, and Bang & Olufsen offered in other luxury and utlra-luxury sedans.

In our day-long stint with the Ghost Series II, we heard nothing to support Rolls-Royce’s claims of the Bespoke Audio System’s superiority; if anything, it’s a bit tinny, with a muddy mid-range and weak bass. Perhaps that’s the desired output, and our ears merely lack the class to appreciate such a system.

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What’s Different

With rather little in the way of outright new looks and equipment, the Series II is about refinement—and that it has done exceedingly well.

2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II, First Drive. Photo by Greg Jarem for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA.

2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II, First Drive. Photo by Greg Jarem for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA.

Inside the new LED daytime running lights, the headlights themselves have been reshaped and re-engineered, offering whiter, brighter light output with reflectors that follow steering wheel movements. The hood has been slightly redesigned, gaining a “wake channel” behind the Spirit of Ecstasy ornament, a feature intended to mirror the wake of a yacht or jet—something many Rolls-Royce owners are intimately familiar with. The air intakes have gained chrome inserts, and the front bumper is lightly restyled to add visual width.

Although there are no significant changes to the driveline, Rolls-Royce has managed to improve acceleration slightly, allowing the Ghost Series II to reach 60 mph from rest in 4.8 seconds, rather than the previous model’s stated 5.0-second run.

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