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Auto Review: Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II

Another step in the subtle evolution of the iconic brand.
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Image courtesy of Rolls-Royce

Dallas was a logical choice for hosting the launch of the Ghost Series II, says Eric Shepherd, president of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars North America. He and a posse of Rolls-Royce execs holed up in The Joule for nearly a week in October, as journalists flew in from around the world to get a first look at the ultra-luxury ride. “Dallas celebrates entrepreneurialism, and the business economy here is so good and so strong, particularly for small businesses, which make up many of our owners,” Shepherd says. “Our owners are typically self-made.”

The Ghost represents a continuing evolution that was sparked by BMW’s acquisition of the Rolls-Royce brand in 1998. It began with the 2003 release of the Phantom, which quickly found favor with hip-hop artists and other celebrities—a far cry from the stodgy old owners in the Grey Poupon commercials. The smaller, more approachable Ghost, introduced in 2010, and its sportier sibling, the two-door Wraith, which debuted in 2014, opened up the market even more. With both, a new emphasis was placed on the behind-the-wheel experience. The challenge was to blend an engaging and dynamic ride with Rolls-Royce’s famous “waftability.”

Image courtesy of Rolls-Royce
Without question, the Ghost achieves that goal. Driving up to Ray Roberts Lake State Park, I felt as though I was floating above the road.The Ghost also was the most intuitive car I’ve ever driven, thanks to a new satellite-aided transmission system that was first introduced in the Wraith. It uses GPS and other technology to read the road ahead, anticipate your next move, and make necessary adjustments.

The most noticeable physical changes in the Series II are the LED headlamps, framed by striking daytime running lights that have been moved toward the edge of the car, and a slightly raised grille. “Our changes are always subtle like that,” Shepherd says. “If you spend $300,000 or $400,000 for a car, you don’t want to see a complete redesign of that car parked next door in a month or two.”