The New Ghost Ain’t for Busters


The Rolls-Royce Ghost is the ideal car, the company claims, for the globetrotting ultra-capitalist too cool to be chauffeured around town. Fully redesigned for 2021, the new Ghost has been honed to cater to this clientele even more successfully, translating feedback from last-generation Ghost owners into refinements for this next-generation model. While the Ghost’s re-imagination is clearly more evolutionary than revolutionary, there are meaningful changes we hope will address some of our issues with this otherwise superlative automobile.

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost Chassis: A Luxurious Architecture

Like the Phantom and Cullinan before it, the Ghost moves to the “Architecture of Luxury” aluminum space frame. It’s a highly sophisticated chassis exclusive to Rolls-Royce, one that should represent a significant advance beyond the old BMW 7 Series-derived platform underneath the previous Ghost thanks to a few newly available party tricks that include all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering. The chassis also places the Ghost’s mammoth 6.75-liter V-12 behind the front axle for a “front-mid” layout, enhancing weight distribution and thus handling. This was accomplished by pushing the front suspension further forward, another benefit of which is the new car’s reduced front overhang.

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost Engine: Few Changes

One place no changes were particularly needed is under the hood. The 6.75-liter, twin-turbocharged V-12 remains ensconced in the engine bay, pumping out a nearly unchanged 563 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. It’s unfazed by the current Ghost’s weight or size, as we’ve experienced over the years. There’s little chance the new Ghost will break even a hint of a sweat as it cruises to 60 mph in an estimated 4.6 seconds. Top speed is governed at 155 mph.

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost Suspension: Totally Planar

Expect a renewed focus on ride quality in the new Ghost, one of the few areas we found slightly wanting in such a prestigious car. The new “Planar” suspension improves upon the company’s so-called Magic Carpet Ride dual-control-arm suspension system by adopting a damper on the upper front control arm; it works with an adaptive suspension setup that now operates under the “Flagbearer” name. Flagbearer uses cameras and GPS data to prepare the suspension for road conditions ahead, while the transmission takes advantage of the same data to attempt similar prescience. We’ll have to see if Flagbearer quells the body shimmies that American road imperfections seem to create in the current Ghost.

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost Design: “Post-Opulent Opulence”

Of course, simply the fact that the Ghost is a Rolls-Royce—and looks like one—is most of the appeal here. Everything else is just icing. While it doesn’t abandon any design formula adopted by its predecessor, the overall look and stance of the new Ghost is significantly more modern and, Rolls-Royce claims, minimalistic.

That is of course relative. The Ghost is a big car, and it’s 3.5 inches longer and an inch wider than its predecessor. And as much as Rolls-Royce says the design is understated—the company is almost obliged to say that, isn’t it?—it’s anything but. There are now 20 LED lights perfectly aligned to illuminate the grille bars, and those bars are brushed rather than chromed to reflect just the right amount of light. Shining a spotlight on something you call the “Pantheon Grille” isn’t exactly subtle, nor is the “Ghost” nameplate on the dashboard, surrounded by “more than 850 stars” created using an additional 152 LEDs and a creatively engineered light-dispersal system. That just seems plain old opulent to us, not that we’re complaining.

Back outside, the front fascia’s lower opening curls up into little arms underneath the headlights, giving the Ghost a bit of a Guy Fawkes mustache and smile. The headlights contain a C-shaped element and are sleeker, no longer resembling the more ubiquitous Chrysler 300 units. The Pantheon grille is more flushly mounted, as well. The profile is still taut, at least as cars of this size go, with a sleek character line at the shoulder that glides back past the coach doors (which now both open and close electrically) into a tucked, rakish back end. In contrast to the front, the rear is minimally styled save the texturing inside the taillights and the thick chrome surround. Whether or not you think it’s particularly handsome, the design as a whole is shapelier and more striking than its predecessor’s.

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost Pricing and On-Sale Date: If You Have to Ask…

As for the cost, $332,500 is the floor and the ceiling is placed wherever a customer’s imagination stops. The order books are open and deliveries of the 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost begin early next year.