Cars

The 2021 Ghost Proves Rolls-Royce Is Still the GOAT

Don’t call it the baby Rolls anymore. The Ghost may be smaller and more affordable than the flagship half-million-dollar Phantom, but unlike the old Ghost, these two Rolls-Royce sedans now share the same exclusive aluminum spaceframe architecture. That’s right, the Ghost isn’t built on BMW’s 7 Series anymore: For 2021, the all-new Ghost is all Rolls. And when it comes to luxury cars, Rolls-Royce is still the GOAT.

For example, that twinkling dashboard is in front of the passenger. In just about every other car that space is empty, just a strip of wood and leather – but not in a Rolls-Royce. The “Illuminated Fascia,” as the company calls it, took two years and 10,000 hours to develop. There are 850 miniscule twinkling dots of light surrounding the word “GHOST” – itself made of 90,000 laser-etched dots – all lit by 152 LEDs. The crazy part? It’s all completely invisible, disappearing without a trace into the beautiful wood trim when the car is off. The idea was to echo the brand’s now-famous Starlight headliner.

The company’s lead bespoke designer Michael Bryden said that the car’s “elegant and minimal aesthetic” rejects busy, superficial detailing, and is a response to a new type of customer buying into the brand. The average age of Rolls-Royce customers is actually getting younger. Much younger. This new generation wants something different.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd., explained that “these business leaders and entrepreneurs demand more of their Ghost than ever. They require a new type of super-luxury saloon that is dynamic, serenely comfortable and perfect in its minimalism.” Minimal isn’t something that pops to mind when you picture Rolls-Royce, but the brand is pushing a new design direction it calls “post-opulence.”

While the new Ghost is not not opulent, it is more substantive and subdued. As the designers explained: “Design must be limited, intelligent and unobtrusive. This philosophy is the antithesis of ‘premium mediocrity’, a term coined by the fashion cognoscenti. This refers to products that use superficial treatments, such as large branding or, in the context of motor cars, busy stitching and other devices that create an illusion of luxury by dressing products lacking in substance in a premium skin.”

Case in point: The stitching inside the Ghost is arrow-straight, even across curved panels, something that’s incredibly difficult to achieve. In total, there are 20 half-hides of leather in the car. A new Dark Amber wood trim option features extremely fine veins of aluminum running through it.

The car’s new front fascia is less fussy, and dominated by the brand’s iconic Pantheon grille, which is illuminated from above and below, so as to emit a soft glow at night. Behind it, the outer body of the car is hand-welded so it becomes one seamless, expansive, flowing shape.

Rolls-Royce says its clients wanted an extremely calm, quiet car, but the engineers did their job too well: After removing and polishing the AC ducting, the cabin was so quiet, it was disorienting while on the road. So, each component of the car was tuned to give to the same resonant frequency, in order to create a “whisper,” a soft undertone that sounds like one single note as the Ghost rolls along the road.

The doors also open and close automatically now, which should make getting in and out rather dramatic too.

Only the Spirit of Ecstasy and the umbrellas were carried over from the previous Ghost, which was the best-selling car in the company’s 116-year history. They could’ve just given it a fresh coat of paint and extra gold bits and called it a day, but this company doesn’t rest on its laurels or do anything the easy way. And that’s why Rolls-Royce is still the GOAT.