Preview: 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost trims its sails for an era of “post-opulence”

“Post-opulent” is the buzzy portmanteau you’ll hear surrounding the new 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost, which is nonetheless a gilded car for our new Gilded Age. 

Replacing the former Ghost, which was the best-selling car in Rolls-Royce’s 116-year history, the latest Ghost eschews some of the “superficial expressions of wealth” for a sleeker, more contemporary take on extreme luxury, according to Rolls-Royce

Most of the truth in that statement comes from the relatively unadorned aluminum-clad body. It downplays the Edwardian grille of the Phantom sedan and Cullinan SUV in size, while it burnishes its glow with 20 LED lights that send rays of light down its veins. The Ghost rounds down the high and crisply formal roof and shoulder lines of the other RR cars, and angles instead for billet-smooth body panels and a tapered silhouette with strong horizontal cues and only a thick band of chrome or two. It’s Rolls’ Fuselage car, one with coach-style rear doors that play anachronistic games with the thin fillets of LED headlights and lozenge-shaped taillights.

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost

The Ghost cabin pares down as well, with just a digital echo of the Winged Ecstasy hood ornament on the dash screen, and a wide, almost uninterrupted dash without much button clutter. Open-pore woods now can trim the cabin, while other finishes mimic lava rock and amber speckled with aluminum. Burled walnut is as out of date as Burl Ives in here. A dazzling sideshow to the minimal treatment sits in front of the passengers, where a spray of 850 stars lit by 152 LEDs casts a constellation’s glow like the one that emanates from the Starlight headliner. Lighting is the new chrome. 

Bristling with new driving technology, the 2021 Ghost charges ahead behind a 563-horsepower 6.8-liter twin-turbo V-12 with 627 pound-feet of torque, sent to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic. The all-wheel-drive system can split power from the rear wheels and send it to the front in a 50:50 ratio. Rolls pegs the 5,490-pound Ghost’s 0-60 mph time at less than 4.8 seconds, with a 155-mph top speed. 

All-wheel steering edits the cornering line for the large sedan, while a new air-sprung suspension with adaptive damping fits additional dampers to upper front control arms for even better isolation from the road. Forward-facing cameras stare down at the ground ahead to predict bumps and allow the Ghost suspension to react better, and the transmission ingests satellite-map data to smooth shifts according to upcoming terrain.

The Ghost is 218.3 inches long, and 77.9 inches wide; it glides along on a 129.7-inch wheelbase. It opens its vast interior space through self-opening and closing doors that leap to work with a slight tug on the handle or the push of the door-handle button. An air-purification system keeps the Ghost’s air from going stale, and myriad power adjustments to its seats, front and rear, ensure all passengers will ride along in supreme comfort. The Ghost has a 17.9-cubic-foot trunk to ensure their custom-made luggage gets there, too.

Safety equipment begins from a platform that hosts automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control, and goes a magnitude further with LED headlights, night vision, a surround-view camera system with an overhead view, a head-up display, automatic park assistance, and front and rear parking sensors.

An audio system designed specifically for the Ghost comprises 18 speakers with 1,300 watts of output. It’s bonded with the Starlight headliner to turn the dazzling thousand-points-of-light showstopper into a speaker itself.

From its infinite range in leather, wood, and other interior trims and custom options, the 2021 Ghost’s base price—predicted at even higher than last year’s $311,900—can surely be driven into the half-million-dollar range. We don’t know for sure yet, since the complete roster of features and finishes has yet to be published.

Bookmark this page for our 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost first drive review, coming soon.


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