The 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost was parked in front of a delicatessen. A teenage boy who witnessed a friend and me exit the opulent luxury sedan approached us and said, “Excuse me, sir. What kind of job do I need to get to afford a car like that?”
A few hours later, while waiting in the Ghost at a stoplight, two men in a dilapidated vehicle to my right caught my attention and uncorked a jubilant dance of synchronized hand signs and gestures. I didn’t know what the display meant, but I’m certain it was a good thing. The next day, half a dozen scrubs-clad medical workers outside a local hospital turned their heads in unison to watch the Ghost cruise past.
Rolls-Royce defines artwork on wheels. The entry-level Ghost and siblings Dawn, Phantom and Wraith attract attention like no other carmaker’s offerings. The Cullinan, the company’s first SUV, debuted in 2018 and catapulted sales to record levels. Global sales of 5,125 in 2020 continued the brand’s reputation. It’s a name everyone knows, a car few see.
The Ghost is described as the carmaker’s “purest expression.” Who’s to argue? Newness abounds this year in the long-anticipated five-passenger sedan’s second generation. The so-called entry-level Rolls Royce was the brand’s top seller for the previous decade.
The new Ghost features a 6.75-liter, twin-turbo, 48-valve V12 producing 563 horsepower and advancing from zero to 60 miles per hour, via its eight-speed automatic transmission, in 4.6 seconds. Top speed is 155 mph. The drive is powerful, smooth, quiet and carried on 21-inch, 10-spoke wheels. And while the wheels spin, the RR center emblems remain upright.
It’s all impressive for a vehicle that weighs 5,540 pounds and extends slightly more than 18 feet.
The Ghost’s presence reigns. The combination of the Tempest Grey exterior paint with Tailored Purple trim is unusual, but it worked. Similar colors adorned the interior, complemented with Obsidian Ayous wood trim and white lambswool foot mats.
A few Rolls-Royce signature features added ridiculously wonderful and stately opulence.
An umbrella is secured into the interior of both rear doors and releases with a push of a button. Two champagne flutes are ready in the small, refrigerated compartment in the middle of the back seat.
Headliner constellations are offered, a bespoke feature selected by every new buyer and configured with hundreds of hand-placed fiberoptic stars. Lean back with your head on a pillow-plush headrest, ponder Orion, Sagittarius or whatever, and forget about the coronavirus for a while.
If that doesn’t do it, listen to the symphony-worthy sound system and hear new individual instruments in familiar songs. Use the individual veneer-adorned “picnic tables” available to rear-seat passengers. They work like airliner dining trays, although the comparison is an unintentional insult to Rolls-Royce. Seat settings provide a massage for all occupants. The proud Rolls-Royce, with its gleaming large front grille and retractable flying lady hood beacon, is a masterpiece. It’s for select buyers who know exactly what they want and buy it. Respect follows.