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Car review: Rolls-Royce Ghost II

Car review: Rolls-Royce Ghost II

Every bit the quintessential Rolls-Royce

There is one detail more than any other that defines a Rolls-Royce.

It is not the classic grille, the Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet mascot or even the double R logos on the wheel caps. It is the carpet.

I have to take my shoes off and let my feet sink into the deep lamb’s wool pile because this to me represents luxury. In today’s world of chasing better fuel efficiency through lightweight materials, quality carpet has been a victim.

Thinner vehicles made of poorer grade materials have been an easy way for manufacturers to save a few kilograms over the years and it is only when you step into a Rolls-Royce that you realise it really is the smallest details that make the biggest difference at this end of town.

The Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II represents the mildest of facelifts to the volume model, even though Rolls has never really been into the facelift game. Traditionally, it has created models that last several generations. But with strong competition from the likes of Maybach, Lagonda by Aston Martin and of course its old foe Bentley, time stands still for no one.

The BMW-owned Rolls-Royce has to stay focused to remain at the front of the pack.

Nowhere is this more important than in the areas of in-car technology and connectivity, where new innovations are entering the automotive industry on an almost monthly basis.

This is reflected in the vehicle’s new features including on-board wi-fi, video conferencing and the ability to file share within an updated and improved infotainment system that uses a large 10.3 inch high-definition screen and a new crystal-capped, rotary control knob.

The larger screen allows you to pinch and pull maps much like a smartphone and write characters with your fingers onto the control knob. Perhaps the best news for this region is that it recognises Arabic text.

It includes a new 18-speaker bespoke audio system that is as good as you would expect. The speakers are subtly hidden among the nine leather hides used to create each interior and capped by a choice of 14 timber veneers.

Of course, you can go bespoke as nearly every Rolls-Royce owner does in this region and create your own one-off combination. But as an off-the-rack starter, it has a healthy option list of interior packages.

The engine has barely been touched for this makeover. The power from the 563bhp, 6.6-litre, twin-turbocharged V12 has always been immense and good enough to drag its 2470kgs from zero to 100kmh in a sportscar-like five seconds.

One welcome addition is the GPS-guided eight-speed auto box from the Wraith. Using satellite technology, it predicts the gear you should be in for upcoming bends and automatically shifts up or down accordingly to avoid the need for mode buttons like sport or comfort. It is all taken care of from outer space.

If there is one thing that upsets some Rolls-Royce owners, it is knowing that someone has a better or newer Rolls-Royce than them. For this reason, external alterations have been kept to a minimum. There is a redesigned front bumper to take larger air intakes and most notably new LED headlights as well as 19-inch forged aluminium wheels with the option of 21-inch low profile rims. But otherwise, it is the same as before.

Our test car kept the more comfortable 19-inch wheels that, to me, are better suited than the 21s. It also featured a two-tone paint scheme that is now creeping back into the Rolls-Royce catalogue.

When the Ghost was introduced, it spiked Rolls-Royce sales from around 1,000 units a year to more than 4,000 and at the time we hoped that it would not negatively impact the marque’s exclusivity.

Thankfully, seven years later, the proof is in the pudding and the Series II Ghost is every bit the quintessential Rolls-Royce.

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