|CELEBRATING THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM|
More than a century down the road, we take a ride in the lap of luxury to celebrate India's 64th Independence Day
Story: Sarmad Kadiri
Photography: Sanjay Raikar
THIS IS THE NEW Rolls-Royce Ghost, a Rs 3.25-crore, British-built luxury limousine. The diminutive answer, as it were, for many potential buyers who find using the magnanimous Phantom on a regular basis a little cumbersome. Compared to its elder sibling, the Ghost at 5,399 millimetres is about 435 mm shorter in length and 42 mm narrower and also costs Rs 2 crore less. The idea is to pack in all the comfort and luxury that's synonymous with the R-R marque and yet make it ideal for regular use within the city. While the Phantom would be reserved strictly for high-profile, red-carpet events or A-list dinners, the Ghost could be the everyday car, which, once in awhile, could also be driven aroundby the owner.
Since the time this reputed car brand was bought by German auto giant, BMW, the British engineers of Roll-Royce have gained access to a treasure of latest automobile technology and, therefore, it comes as no surprise that the new Ghost shares some mechanical components with the latest BMW 7-Series. Unlike the Phantom, which is constructed around an aluminium spaceframe, the Ghost chassis is a steel unibody. Since lightweight, aluminium chassis are thick and take up space, using steel in Ghost helps enlarge cabin space and, at the same time, keep the footprint much smaller.
Although the Ghost is based on the BMW, they are poles apart and have very different personalities. Nevertheless, you cannot miss similarities like the supercharged V12 – which is a 6.6-litre version of the BMW 760i's 6.0 motor – that powers the wheels through the same eight-speed automatic gearbox. The Rolls-Royce Ghost produces 570 PS and a massive 780 Nm and, owing to its power-to-weight advantage over the Phantom, this massive 2,400-kg limousine attains 100 km/h in close to five seconds. We didn't get a chance to record the performance figures, but the car did feel that quick. Step on the pedal and the surge pushes you back into your seat, with a distant roar from the V12 that sits under the massive lid.
Being a Rolls-Royce, there are no steering paddles or sport modes for the gearbox, but the gear shifter is located on the steering column. The engineers have tried to curb body roll with adaptive roll control that stiffens or softens the anti-roll bars to improve the car's cornering abilities. This ensures strong body control and good ride comfort. The steering weighs nicely and is surprisingly more communicative than what we expected. Although this Rolls-Royce doesn’t use the active steering system, it does have adaptive dampers, but without a sports mode option. Honestly, you don't miss it as the suspension cushions the monsoon drenched Mumbai roads with great poise and we really can't imagine many R-R owners taking it for an off-roading experience. The ride comfort is what sets it a class apart, while the cabin is well insulated from road noise.