The 2011 Rolls Royce
Ghost is a historic automobile - the first small Rolls Royce
launched since the 1949 ROLLS ROYCE SILVER
Dawn. "Small" is a relative term, however. Though 17.1-in. shorter than a ROLLS ROYCE PHANTOM
sedan, the 212.6-in. Ghost is still 4.3-in. longer than a Bentley Continental
Flying Spur, and weighs a not insubstantial 5381 lb. The pricetag's hardly small, either. The base Ghost stickers for $246,700, and most cars sold in the United States will come in at $300,000 or more, says Rolls Royce
Motor Cars North America President Paul Ferraiolo.
If you have to think before you tick the options box, you can't afford a Ghost. Look at our $308,350 tester. Those 20-in. alloy wheels? That'll be $5000, thanks. Sunroof? A nice, round $7000, please. You could almost buy a brand-new Nissan Versa
for the cost of the Driver's Assistance 3 package ($9950), which includes land departure warning, automatic dipping headlights, heads-up display, night vision, and active cruise control. Rolls Royce
doesn't stint on the little things, either. Those chrome exhaust tips? A mere $3200. (No, that is not a misprint.) The lush lambswool floormats? A steal at just $1000.
The folks with the spare cash to buy a Ghost -- and the vast majority of these cars will be purchased outright, rather than financed -- won't be too concerned by what we mere mortals might consider to be rampant gouging. They are, after all, buying a Rolls-Royce. To them, the whole point of this car is they can afford to buy one, and we can't.
The Ghost is sleeker and sportier-looking than any of its ROLLS ROYCE PHANTOM
brethren, with a rakish windshield, taut shoulders, tucked-in corners, and an athletic stance. But from the moment you fire up the new, 6.6-liter, twin turbo V-12 and snick the column-mounted shifter into "D," it's clear you're driving a car like no other. Like every great Rolls Royce
engine, the Ghost's V-12 is a paragon of effortless motion, uncannily smooth and silent. It is also very potent, with 536 hp and 575 lb.-ft. of torque on tap from just 1500 rpm, turning the Ghost into a leather-lined cruise missile capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and covering the quarter mile in 12.7 sec at 112.9 mph with little more than a polite murmur from under the hood.