Driving in the lap of luxury: the Ghost is here

The 'baby Roller' has finally crawled into Mumbai, and the handsome baby is sure to make many squeal in delight, notes Shama Kasbekar

The modern Rolls-Royce Ghost promises to live up to its family tradition of quality comfort, luxury and safety, while carving its own niche by aiming to delight the contemporary car owner.

Colin Kelly, regional director, Asia Pacific, says the car is a ''unique blend of dynamism and comfort'', and unlike the previous Rolls-Royce cars, which are meant only for luxury, Ghost is a car for any occasion. (View videos: Up close with the Rolls-Royce Ghost)

Ghost is compact by the usual Rolls-Royce standards, and is the most powerful car that the company has ever produced (a unique 6.6-litre twin-turbo charged V12 engine and a new automatic ZF gearbox).

Its more informal design, much-talked about simplicity, technological innovation such as anti-roll stabilisation which will keep the car stable and on all fours even on sharp turns, and of course, attractive price tag (approximately Rs2.5 crore), makes the car a departure from previous models coming out of Goodwood, headquarters of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

Attention to the needs of city drivers, such as providing rear, front side and top view cameras to assist in manoeuvering the car in difficult parking situations, will be much appreciated. Says Dan Balmer, product manager of Ghost, ''I can drive the car for hours and hours, even in the city.''

Though not as big a statement as the Phantom (the Phantom family includes four-door saloons and convertibles), the Ghost is still definitely a statement, and as Balmer says, ''The interiors are one of the best places to be in the world!''

Ghost is expected to be on Indian roads by the second quarter of 2010. The company is optimistic about its reception and is increasing its workforce by 50 per cent. The car uses the finest wood and leather materials and its manufacturing standards are the same as the Phantom's. 

Incidentally, the car will be built to order, like all Rolls-Royce cars.

Some interesting features (some of the features listed here may not be available in all markets):

  • Ghost is more driver-focused than any Rolls-Royce car before it. The driver sits in a slightly elevated position behind the wheel, making the view of the road much clearer.
  • The optional 'comfort entry' allows easy access, unlocking the doors when the key fob is within 1.5 metres and the cool chromed handle is grasped. Once in the car, voice control allows drivers to select from the control systems menus without using the central controller.
  • Rear, front side and top view cameras combine to give a fish-eye view at blind junctions or provide ground images with obstacle recognition and reverse path prediction when parking.
  • The 'night vision' camera when activated detects objects up to 300 metres away and displays them on the central screen in the dashboard.
  • The car's control system receives infrared heat images from the camera and, taking into account the car's speed and direction, classifies them to assess imminent danger. It then determines what action, if any, needs to be taken and if necessary displays a warning to the driver.
  • The 'head-up display' relays crucial information such as speed or navigation directions onto the windscreen directly in front of the driver. This information is visible only to the driver and can be tailored to show only the details required and at a position suitable to the driver.
  • 'Active cruise control with stop and go' creates a relaxing driving experience, particularly on long cruising journeys, as action is not required when the car ahead speeds up or slows down, even when coming to a standstill.