by Morgan Carter
The Ghost Series II is the end of an era for the small ultra-luxury sedan. While the Series II may have only been around since 2015, the current generation of the Ghost is over a decade old. Based on the old BMW 7 Series, the four-door sedan took things to a new level, reaching its pinnacle in this, its final year of production with the aptly named Ghost Zenith - a 50-unit limited edition model. And while it may not be quite as opulent as a Rolls-Royce Phantom, the Ghost is still a hard-to-beat luxury sedan, with few rivals to speak of. Among these, the Bentley Mulsanne is probably the closest contender, while the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a much cheaper alternative, but it sacrifices the over-the-top decadence. Getting behind the wheel, or usually in the back seat, of a Ghost will require a minimum down payment of $311,900, but you get a supremely appointed interior, plenty of comfort features, a smooth ride, and a potent 563-horsepower V12 engine. This may not seem like a good deal to every shopper, but those looking in this price bracket won't be disappointed.
The Ghost Series II replaced the original Ghost back in 2015, making stylistic changes to set itself apart from the older model. These included redesigned headlights, now offered in full LED, as well as revised front and rear bumpers. Unbroken daytime running lights now come standard, too, and the alloy wheels are available in an even wider array of styles and colors. The Series II Ghost also gets a tapered wake channel on the hood, and the side waft line is more slanted than in the past. Inside, the front seats have been redesigned, and the rear seats now angle more towards one another, promoting easier conversation between those enjoying the ride. Polished metal now adorns the in-dash clock and the instrument dial, while natural grain leather is available on the A and C pillars. The latest Ghost also comes with Rolls-Royce's vaunted Satellite Aided transmission technology, which analyzes driver behavior and road conditions to choose the best gear for the situation.
It would be impossible to mistake a Rolls-Royce for anything else, even the smaller Ghost Series II. Calling the Ghost a small luxury sedan would be a mistake, even if it is the smallest Rolls available. From the large grille to the swooping hood, to the enormous doors, the sedan is still imposing. The base model rides on relatively modest 19-inch alloy wheels, but 20-inch and 21-inch wheels are available, and there is plenty of chrome on offer. Full LED headlights adorn the front fascia, while the rear fascia gets a matching set of taillights. Every model comes with a panoramic sunroof and power-closing rear doors, and let's not forget the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, available in a variety of colors. There are several special editions of the Ghost Series II available, each with their own unique styling. Examples include the Silver Ghost, with its black and gold AX201 registration plate, the Mysore Ghost, with its tri-color exterior, and the Black Badge, which is perhaps the most distinctly stylish of the lot, assuming black is your thing - because it certainly has lots of that.
The Ghost may be considered the smallest luxury sedan in the Rolls-Royce stable, but small is definitely a misnomer. With the regular 129.7-inch wheelbase, the Ghost measures in at 214.8 inches long, while the longer 136.4-inch wheelbase increases this number to 221.5 inches. Similarly, curb weight varies between the models, starting at 5,490 pounds and maxing out at 5,666 lbs. Height and width are standard between the models, though, at 61 inches and 76.7 inches, respectively.
The color palette for the Rolls-Royce is extensive, to say the least. If you don't want to go through the fuss of building a bespoke sedan, you can choose from over 50 standard paints, with eye-catching options like Bohemian Red, Wildberry, or Salamanca Blue. There are also more stately options, such as English White, Blue Velvet, or Black Diamond. But, while there should conceivably be something for everybody within this range, some buyers will want something a little more unique. By engaging with Rolls-Royce's Bespoke Programme, prospective owners can design the Ghost of their dreams. No color scheme is off the table, so long as you're willing to pay for it. However, there are a number of special edition Ghosts out there, such as the Black Badge, which lives up to its name with all-black exterior accents and dark chrome wheels. The Mysore Ghost has a unique Blue and White exterior with hand-painted peacocks on the coachlines, and the Ghost inspired by Mini gets a pastel green and white paint job.
The Ghost Series II is powered by the same 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12 as the Series I, but it gets a new ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox. Power hasn't increased from the standard 563 hp and 605 lb-ft of torque, but smoother shifts mean that the large, bulky sedan can make the 0-60 mph sprint in a shockingly brisk 4.7 seconds, and easily reach a limited top speed of 155 mph. The extended-wheelbase model gets the same engine and power figures, but its extra weight does slow it down to the 60mph mark by 0.1 seconds.
The Ghost is also available with the Black Badge Package, which sees the engine re-tuned to get 603 hp and 620 lb-ft. This extra power doesn't actually make the sedan much quicker, though, shaving only 0.1 seconds off its sprint time, while top speed is still limited to 155 mph. The package makes no further changes, keeping the eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drivetrain.
The Ghost has always made use of an enormous 6.6-liter V12 engine, twin-turbocharged to develop an impressive 563 hp and 605 lb-ft. Even for a vehicle weighing in at close to three tons, the standard engine never feels underpowered. Mated to an updated eight-speed automatic transmission that sends all this power to the rear wheels only, the Series II has no trouble getting around town, and if you're in a rush, very few cars could stand in your way on the highway.
The Black Badge Ghost boosts the output of the V12 engine ever so slightly, developing 603 hp and 620 lb-ft. It gets the same transmission and drivetrain as the standard engine, though, and the extra power probably won't be noticeable to the average driver - and certainly not to those in the back. In either configuration, the Ghost comes with a GPS-linked transmission that is supposed to improve performance by monitoring driver habits and road conditions. However, the effectiveness of the system is hard to determine.
Smaller than the average Rolls-Royce, the Ghost Series II is perhaps a tad more athletic than its bigger siblings. However, it still retains the same stately demeanor that the brand is renowned for. The air suspension seldom meets a bump it can't easily soak up, so ride comfort is always excellent, and the well-constructed cabin mutes all but the loudest external noises. The Ghost is certainly an excellent sedan to ride in. But how much fun is it to drive?
The answer is: extremely. The smaller sedan is based on the BMW platform, so it certainly doesn't lack performance. It is also able to maneuver a bit more easily than the standard rotund Rolls. It's still absurdly heavy, though, so you need to be mindful when pushing its limits. However, these limits can be expanded by opting for the Dynamic Package for the regular-wheelbase Ghost. This upgrade reduces body roll and tightens up the steering.
Even with this upgrade, though, the Ghost Series II will never be a sports car. It has the power of one, sure, but it lacks the character. It is, at heart, a gentleman, and should be driven as such. You can have a little bit of fun, from time to time, but the sedan is best enjoyed as a luxury cruiser.
Everything about the Rolls-Royce Ghost is unnecessary opulence, but riding in the lap of such luxury doesn't come cheap. This extends to fuel economy, too, with the large land-yacht getting an appalling 12/18/14 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. But, if you can afford a $300k car, then spending an extra $8k a year on gasoline probably won't make you balk. Needless to say, the Ghost needs a pretty large tank to make sure it can traverse even short distances without stopping at every gas station in sight. The 21.8-gallon fuel tank allows the luxury sedan to cover around 305 miles in mixed driving conditions, so you'll still be sending your chauffeur down to refuel your Rolls on a bi-daily basis.
There is a reason that Rolls-Royces are aimed at those who like to be pampered, and it isn't because of their good looks or impressive powertrain. It's all about what's on the inside. The Ghost Series II may be the least opulent sedan in the line-up, but it is still ridiculously luxurious. Only the highest quality materials are used throughout the cabin, and apart from the all-natural wood veneers, every surface is soft to the touch. There is also an almost absurd abundance of space, both up front and in the rear. Tech isn't lacking either, with plenty of options when it comes to audio, and even an available rear-seat entertainment suite with picnic tables. Don't expect touchscreen functionality, though, as Rolls-Royce doesn't like fingerprints all over its shiny screens. Instead, passengers get shiny glass rotary dials to control all the features. Perhaps the only area where the Ghost disappoints is cargo space. It isn't too embarrassing, but many rivals can do better.
Interior space will never be an issue inside a Ghost Series II. True, the Phantom could probably fit a small family and their hatchback, but the Ghost more than comfortably seats three in the back, with oodles of legroom to spare. Spring for the extended-wheelbase Ghost, and you could easily share the back seat with a couple of NBA stars. Naturally, headroom isn't lacking either, thanks to the high roof. And if you were to happen to bump your head, you'd hardly feel it, with even the ceiling upholstered in plush leather. The front seats offer ten directions of power adjustability, and both rows of seats come heated as standard. The extended-wheelbase model allows for rear-seat ventilation, too. The rear seats are slightly angled towards one another, which makes it easier for passengers to converse amongst themselves while being chauffeured around town. So, despite not being the range-topper, the smaller Ghost Series II is still a veritable lounge on wheels.
The only place you're likely to find more decadent materials than in the Rolls-Royce Ghost is in a more expensive Rolls-Royce. The luxury sedan comes with only the finest leather upholstery, which covers more than just the seats. Almost every surface is wrapped in the soft material, including the steering wheel, door panels, and even the ceiling. The only areas absent of plush leather are, instead, adorned with genuine wood veneer. As with the exterior of the Rolls, color options abound. Standard options include Dark Spice, Seashell, Moccasin, and Hotspur Red, and you can even upgrade the leather to natural grain leather. Should the standard color palette not appeal to your sensibilities, you can customize the interior in any way you like via the Bespoke Programme. For a touch of celestial mystique, buyers can opt for the starlight headliner, which features black leather embedded with fiber-optic lights to imitate a cloudless countryside nightscape.
While the Ghost has an abundance of space for passengers, that same generosity doesn't extend to cargo. For such a large vehicle, 17.3 cubic feet of trunk space is somewhat embarrassing. However, it is still enough for a couple of suitcases or several carry-ons. If you do choose to use your Rolls for such mundane tasks as grocery shopping, the trunk can easily accommodate a week's worth of goods. However, if you're being picked up from the airport after an extended stay abroad, you may struggle to fit all your luggage inside.
There are plenty of spaces to stow small items around the cabin, though. All four doors offer spacious pockets that can easily accommodate water bottles, tablets, or even larger devices without infringing on legroom. There is a center console cubby, too, which isn't out of reach of rear-seat passengers, although they get their own storage space in the fold-down armrest. There is also a standard glove compartment in the front dash.
There are myriad ways to customize your Ghost, with almost every possible comfort and convenience feature available. However, the majority of these come as optional add-ons that all increase the already exorbitant bill. Standard features include quad-zone climate control, ten-way power front seats, heated front and rear seats, cruise control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and remote keyless entry. Ventilation can be added to the front and rear seats, too, and the cruise control can be upgraded to adaptive cruise control. Leather upholstery comes standard, with available grained leather, and a panoramic sunroof is installed on every Ghost, too. The standard driver-assistance features are quite minimal, though, with only a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and forward collision avoidance coming standard. Lane departure warning, a surround-view camera, night vision, and a head-up display can be added.
The infotainment suite on the Ghost seems a bit basic at first, with no available smartphone integration and no touchscreen technology. However, you still get everything you're likely to want without needing to tack on many optional packages. The central display is a 10.3-inch screen with a rotary controller, both up front and in the back, to control the Bluetooth, HD Radio, satellite radio, and CD/DVD system. Built-in navigation comes standard, too, and there are USB ports and an auxiliary audio jack. With 16 speakers coming standard, audio quality is pristine no matter where you sit. Rear passengers can be treated to an optional entertainment system mounted to the back of the front seats. This set-up comes with two 9.2-inch screens, a Blu-Ray DVD player, headphone jacks, and an HDMI input port. A Wi-Fi hotspot is standard on every Ghost.
While it hasn't received any official dependability ratings, the Rolls-Royce Ghost also hasn't received many complaints. This may, in part, be because only a handful of people can actually afford the luxurious sedan. There has only been a single recall in recent history for the Ghost Series II, with head airbags not properly inflating on the 2018 model. Like most sedans from Rolls-Royce, the Ghost is covered by the standard four-year warranty plan. This includes the bumper-to-bumper, powertrain, roadside assistance, and maintenance plans. These warranties are not limited by mileage, though.
Actually running a Rolls-Royce - even the cheapest Ghost model - through a series of crash tests would cost millions of dollars, so it's not surprising that nobody has bothered to do so. But, while neither the NHTSA nor IIHS has any safety ratings for the luxury sedan, there would unlikely be any serious injuries in such a well-constructed vehicle.
The Ghost comes with a fair number of standard safety features, including ABS, stability and traction control, hill start assist, and no less than eight airbags: dual-stage front, front knee, front side, and side curtain. However, it doesn't get the most extensive list of driver-assistance features. Front and rear parking sensors, forward collision avoidance, and a rearview camera all come standard, while a surround-view camera, night vision, lane departure warning, and a head-up display are available.
It may be hard to picture a $300k car that isn't good, but we won't be putting your imagination to the test with the Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II. This is definitely a good car, despite its few minor flaws.
Like every Rolls, the Ghost is the pinnacle of style, both inside and out. It's impossible to ignore on the road yet so luxurious inside that you may not even notice that you're belting down the highway at 155 mph. But, while space certainly isn't an issue for the Rolls, it isn't as cavernous as its larger siblings, like the Phantom, nor does it provide nearly as much cargo capacity, with only 17.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats.
Still, its smaller size makes it more engaging to drive, if you prefer to sit up front rather than in the back. It can be had with the Dynamic Package to further improve its handling, but it will never be as sporty as more mainstream luxury rivals like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series.
The only car more pleasurable to be inside, though, is a larger Rolls-Royce. So, if you can overlook the smaller cargo capacity and limited driver-assistance features, the Ghost Series II is certainly a great car to ride in.
Rolls-Royce doesn't do affordable, so it's no surprise that even its smallest sedan is exorbitantly expensive. That said, the Ghost is still a far cry from a Phantom, bearing a price tag that is $150k - $200k lower. But what's a few hundred thousand dollars to anyone who goes shopping for a Rolls? The standard-wheelbase Ghost has a starting price of $311,900, while the long-wheelbase model, with its cavernous cabin and almost limitless legroom, starts the bidding at $345,900. However, you can expect to pay well in excess of the starting price on each model, as there are countless ways to customize your purchase to suit your personal taste, with each little change making a marked impact on the final bill. These prices do not include tax, registration, licensing, incentives, or the manufacturer's $2,500 handling fee.
The pinnacle of luxury doesn't mean an abundance of choice, at least when it comes to base models. The Ghost Series II has only two standard configurations and one performance model: the Ghost, Ghost Extended Wheelbase, and Black Badge, respectively. The standard models are powered by a 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12 engine, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, to send 563 hp and 605 lb-ft to the rear wheels. The Black Badge gets the same engine, re-tuned to develop 603 hp and 620 lb-ft.
The base model Ghost rides on 19-inch alloy wheels and comes outfitted with full LED head- and taillights, as well as daytime running lights, power-closing rear doors, and a panoramic sunroof. Inside, genuine leather upholsters the seats, roof, and door panels, while wood veneer trims the dashboard and center console. Standard features include remote keyless entry, cruise control, quad-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, and forward collision avoidance. A 10.3-inch infotainment display grants access to Bluetooth, HD Radio, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hotspot via the rotary controller. The front seats are ten-way power-adjustable and come heated as standard, as do the rear seats.
The Ghost Extended Wheelbase doesn't make any changes to the standard line-up of features, but it is slightly more customizable. A rear-seat entertainment system can be installed, and both front and rear seats can be upgraded with ventilation. Apart from the more powerful engine, the Black Badge also adds upgraded steering and a firmer suspension, similar to the Dynamic Package available to the regular Ghost.
There is no shortage of ways to customize your Ghost Series II. The base model is quite well-appointed, but if you want the best Rolls-Royce has to offer, you're going to need to go off-script. The Comfort and Entertainment Package equips the sedan with dual 9.2-inch monitors, picnic tables, a comfort entry system, and front massage seats. The Driver Assistance Package bolsters the somewhat lackluster driver-assistance suite by adding lane departure warning, high beam assistance, night vision, adaptive cruise control, and a head-up display. The Black Badge Package equips the Ghost with a higher-tuned engine, developing 603 hp and 620 lb-ft, and gives the sedan an all-black makeover, with 21-inch carbon-fiber wheels, as well as upgraded steering and a re-tuned suspension. Using the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Programme, buyers can customize their Ghost in almost any way imaginable, so long as they are willing to pay the price.
There isn't much difference between the two Ghost models, but there really is no need to hold back when you're shopping in such a premium price bracket. As such, we suggest getting the Ghost Extended Wheelbase for the extra rear legroom and outfitting it with grained leather upholstery, the rear-seat entertainment suite, and the few available advanced driver aids. If you're going to be a passenger more often than a driver, you may like the rear entertainment remote and the rear-seat coolbox. The Black Badge Package may appeal to those who will be driving their Ghost a bit more often, assuming the bolder exterior trimming appeals to them, since it gets a stronger engine, as well as improved steering and suspension. Similarly, the available Dynamic Package for the regular wheelbase delivers a more engaging driving experience.
The Ghost's bigger, classier, more expensive brother, the Phantom takes everything the smaller sedan has to offer and kicks it into overdrive. This starts with the powertrain. The Phantom's V12 displaces 6.75 liters to develop 563 hp and a whopping 664 lb-ft. This is necessary to move the even heavier Rolls, although it makes the 0-60 mpg sprint only 0.4 seconds slower than the Ghost. Inside, though, there is no comparison. The Phantom proves that, sometimes, bigger is better. The amount of passenger space, especially in the rear, is literally ludicrous, and the style and luxury are peerless. The larger sedan can also stow a bit more cargo, with 19 cubic feet of trunk space. In terms of features, though, the two Rolls-Royces are mostly on par, although the Phantom gets a couple extra speakers and more standard driver-assistance features. If money isn't a concern, and if you're looking at a Rolls it probably isn't, then the Phantom is the clear winner here.
Based on the same platform as the Ghost, the Wraith is similarly sized and priced to its sibling. However, as the name suggests, the Wraith is a bolder version of the luxury sedan. While it gets a 6.6-liter V12 like the Ghost, the slightly sportier sedan ekes out 624 hp and 605 lb-ft, giving it a slight edge over its forebear. It also has better handling dynamics thanks to the adaptive suspension. The Wraith does sacrifice some practicality for this extra kick, though, with less cargo space than the already lacking Ghost. The rear seats also aren't quite as spacious, but considering how much room the Ghost has to spare, the Wraith can easily shave off a few inches and still have room for tall adults. But the question is, which Rolls is better? The Wraith is certainly more geared towards those who want to drive themselves, with engaging handling and bolder aesthetics. But the Ghost might be preferred by those who want to lounge luxuriously in the back while being driven around town.
Check out some informative Rolls-Royce Ghost video reviews below.