It wasn’t a typical Wednesday evening, I admit. Normally, my pyjama-ed frame is crashed out on the sofa, slice of pizza in one hand, TV remote in the other. On this particular Wednesday, however, my hands were employed elsewhere. One was zipping up my lady’s slinky LBD, while the other was wrestling with my cufflinks. Both occurring as we waited for our chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase (EWB) to take us for dinner at Splendido restaurant at Dubai’s The Ritz-Carlton Hotel. See, I told you it was different.
Even for a simple car review Rolls-Royce Motor Cars like to add a touch of class to proceedings. Hence the gladrags, fancy dinner and pick-up. Rather than merely hand the keys over at a dealership, they organised this very civilised evening in order to get an appreciation of the Rolls-Royce ‘experience’. At 8:30pm precisely, as promised, I opened the front door to find a black and silver Ghost EWB, complete with suited and booted chauffeur. Why aren’t all Wednesdays like this?
Seeing it parked on the pavement outside my tiny villa, I was affected by a touch of the preening peacocks. Shooting one’s cuffs – a la Duke of Edinburgh – as the driver held open the door for my partner, I could see a neighbour checking us out and I shamelessly milked it for all it was worth. It makes neighbours stare, drivers gawp and passengers point. That’s the Rolls-Royce effect. And if the objective was to make you feel like a million dollars, then bravo, mission accomplished.
Having visited Rolls-Royce’s assembly facility at Goodwood in the UK (it’s too space-age and ordered to be called a factory), I am fully conversant with how much painstaking detail and effort goes into the construction of each hand-built model. Sat in the back seat, enjoying the extra 170mm of legroom afforded by the eponymous extended wheelbase, each facet of the tour came back to me. The leather workshop with its laser-cutting technology and old-school craftsmanship, the mind-bogglingly involved process to produce the wood panelling, the spotless floors, the air of humming, quiet efficiency. Each car is a result of countless man hours. And boy, is it worth it. A finished Rolls-Royce is superlative in every sense.
After a sumptuous dinner, the driver drove us home and left me the keys to experience the car for myself the next morning. Sat on the pavement in front of my common two-bedroom villa, the black and silver Ghost EWB was more than a little incongruous. It has a theatricality more suited to the swankiest houses or finest hotels. To have such a car parked outside says that you are part of a tiny percentile of the world’s population.
A lot has been written about the silence of the ride, however, as I set off, a loud whooshing noise dominated the cabin. ‘Ha’, I thought to myself, perhaps the much-vaunted ride is not so silent after all. How could a 6.6-litre, twin turbo V12 be quiet? And then I realised that the noise was in fact, the rush of the air-conditioning, and once I’d turned it off, silence descended. I could wax lyrical about the luxury, finish, equipment, ride and quality – incredible though they all are – but that has been explained a million times before. Instead, I will leave you with an observation that sums up the Rolls-Royce experience perfectly – the air coming through the AC vents was noisier than the engine capable of providing 563 horsepower. A real ghost whisperer.