Full 2014 Rolls-Royce Ghost Review
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Rolls-Royce Ghost sees a number of changes, ranging from the cosmetic such as optional new wheels and interior trim to functional upgrades. The latter include LED cabin lighting, an improved multifunction controller, a larger display screen (with revised menus), a faster processor, more music storage and an improved navigation system with 3D city mapping. There is also a new V-Specification package that equips the Ghost with a more powerful engine, 21-inch polished wheels, pinstripes, contrasting upholstery accents and a unique clock design.
Like many things in life, the expression "entry-level" is relative. It's one thing when you're talking about a $35,000 sport sedan, and quite another when you're talking about a $250,000-plus ultra-luxury car. Yes, the 2014 Rolls-Royce Ghost may not be as massive nor as costly as a Rolls Phantom, but this is still a large luxury sedan that weighs as much as a Chevy Tahoe and whose price of admission isn't for those who review their finances and say, "If we cut down on fancy dinners we could afford this car."
So no, you needn't worry about your friends at the yacht club ribbing you about "settling" by purchasing the baby Rolls instead of its big brother. Actually, the Ghost boasts better handling, greater maneuverability and a more normal, functional interior that make it a better choice as a daily driver. As its platform is based on that of the BMW 7 Series, the Ghost's finely balanced ride and handling qualities should come as no surprise. Yet there's no mistaking its Rolls-Royce heritage given its stately presence while parked and its effortless demeanor while at speed on the highway.
Although Rolls-Royce used to coyly state its engine outputs as "adequate," nowadays the company will gladly be more specific. Cranking out 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque, the Ghost's mighty twin-turbo V12 is even more powerful than the Phantom's V12. Thusly blessed, this landlocked Learjet can sprint to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds.
You'd expect the Ghost's cabin to be handsome, crafted to the highest standard and loaded with luxury gadgets. And you wouldn't be disappointed. Still, while it's certainly crafted to a much higher degree than a 2014 Audi A8L, 2014 Jaguar XJ or 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550, we're not sure if it's quite so high as to warrant costing as much as $170,000 more.
Still, none of those "alternates" is a Rolls-Royce, and even the more expensive Bentley Mulsanne can't truly match the presence and prestige afforded a car with the Spirit of Ecstasy atop its radiator grille. That it happens to be a "baby," "entry-level" or "cheaper" Rolls is of absolutely no consequence.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Rolls-Royce Ghost is a four-door, five-seat sedan available in two trim levels: base and the longer EWB (extended wheelbase). Apart from having a 6.7-inch stretch in wheelbase to provide even more room for rear seat passengers, the EWB is similar to the base Ghost.
Standard feature highlights include 19-inch wheels, an active air suspension, a sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, keyless ignition and entry, auto-dimming mirrors, automatic wipers, automatic xenon headlights, adaptive cruise control, power-closing rear "coach" doors, leather upholstery and trim, a pair of umbrellas stored within the front doors, heated front and rear seats, 10-way power and massaging front seats, four-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a navigation system and a 16-speaker sound system with a CD/DVD player, satellite radio, digital music storage, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
Options, many of which are also bundled into packages, are seemingly limited only by the buyer's imagination and finances. The Feature Selection 1 package includes 20-inch wheels, chrome exhaust outlets, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive headlights, "foot sweep" trunk opening and closing, added leather trim, rear picnic tables, door sill plates, multiple parking and maneuvering cameras (rearview, top view, front side) and the Driver Assistance Systems One package (detailed below in the Safety section). The Feature Selection Two package further adds power rear seats, lambswool floor mats, "RR" headrest monograms and the Driver Assistance Systems Three package (detailed below in the Safety section). Should 563 hp be deemed "inadequate," you might consider the newly available V-Specification package, which adds 30 hp as well as 21-inch polished wheels, body side pinstripes, contrasting piping and stitching for the upholstery and a unique clock design.
Other option highlights include twin rear DVD monitors (with a six-disc changer), multi-adjustable outboard rear seats (with further optional massaging and/or ventilation). You can also get a cooler between the seats. Although there are plenty of standard exterior/interior colors and wood trims to choose from, those seeking more exclusivity will be able to customize their Ghost any way they want via the company's "Bespoke Commission" program. This includes everything from infinite color selection to customized additions like built-in picnic baskets, safes or humidors.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Rolls-Royce Ghost is powered by a 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12 that produces 563 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. In Edmunds testing, the Ghost required just 4.9 seconds to sprint to 60 mph, validating Rolls-Royce's quote of taking less than 5 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg combined (13 city/20 highway), and on our 120-mile evaluation loop, we managed a respectable 18 mpg.
The available V-Specification package ups engine output to 593 hp and 575 lb-ft. Neither performance nor fuel mileage estimates were available for this engine as of this writing.
The Ghost comes with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, active front head restraints, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. In simulated panic stops, we recorded an astounding (for its size) 113-foot stop from 60 mph.
The Driver Assistance Systems One package includes lane departure warning, automatic high beams and a head-up display. The Driver Assistance Systems Three package further adds a night vision camera (with pedestrian and animal detection warning) and active cruise control (with full stop-and-go capability). Multiple parking cameras are also available.
Interior Design and Special Features
Exotic wood veneers and metallic accents are used liberally throughout the cabin, where passengers are cosseted in the finest leathers. Though plush carpeting is, of course, standard, one may opt for genuine lambswool mats that will have you taking your shoes off. As nice as the Ghost's interior is, however, it's really only incrementally better than what you'll find inside the latest Audi A8, Jag XJ or Mercedes S-Class.
Despite the dizzying array of high-tech luxury features, the Ghost presents a relatively clean dash and console. Part of the reason is that the high-definition multi-display screen is hidden behind a wood panel when not in use. The BMW-sourced multicontroller knob is mostly intuitive and now includes touchpad functionality. The latter allows one to "write" characters/commands with a finger as well as "pinch" and "expand" on the controller's touchpad face. The controller retains its scrolling/select functions as well. Adding a touch of elegance are the cabin's various buttons and knobs that resemble the keys of a flute or saxophone.
In keeping with tradition, backseat passengers are pampered with well-shaped and supportive seats that also provide a clear view ahead. A large fold-down armrest and a measure of privacy afforded by the thick, rearmost roof pillars are two other benefits to sitting in the rear. To further spoil those in the rear compartment, the Ghost can be equipped with adjustable, massaging and ventilated outboard rear seats. Considering the Ghost's size, however, the trunk's 14-cubic-foot capacity is quite modest.
The 2014 Rolls-Royce Ghost's twin-turbo V12 is exceptionally smooth and silent. The gentle response from the first bit of throttle travel makes for smooth, lurch-free takeoffs, but lean into it and you unleash a smooth, powerful wave of acceleration that continues to swell effortlessly into triple-digit speeds. The eight-speed automatic transmission is spot-on as well, with its timely and barely detectable gearchanges.
The active air suspension goes about its duties with similar transparency, smothering bumps and ruts that would have you grimacing for a harsh impact in lesser cars. Despite a curb weight of about 5,500 pounds, the Ghost feels smaller than it is, and the light and precise steering makes maneuvering the big car a breeze once you've acclimated to its dimensions.
At speed on an open highway, the Ghost quietly and rapidly covers ground, with passengers feeling that perhaps they are ensconced in a private jet or luxury railway car. On a curving road, the Ghost will roll a bit at lower speeds, but as the pace quickens, the amount of available grip and incongruous agility is impressive. When pushed like this, the suspension firms up and road feel remains acceptable.