“The frst Goodwood Ghost was a response to a whole new generation of clients, both in age and attitude. These men and women asked us for a slightly smaller, less ostentatious means to own a Rolls-Royce. The success of the product we created for them fulflled our most ambitious expectations. Over its ten-year lifespan, which began in 2009, Ghost has become the most successful model in the marque’s 116-year history.
To create a new product that would resonate with our Ghost clients for the next ten years meant we had to listen carefully to their demands. Today we set new standards in customer centricity by creating a completely new motor car for a unique group of Rolls-Royce’s clients. 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.
Ghost is this product
The only components that we carried over from the frst Goodwood Ghost were the Spirit of Ecstasy and umbrellas. Everything else was designed, crafed and engineered from the ground up. The result is the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce yet. It distils the pillars of our brand into a beautiful, minimalist, yet highly complex product that is perfectly in harmony with our Ghost clients’ needs and perfectly in tune with the times.”
In 2009, Rolls-Royce announced a new addition to its portfolio that ofered something entirely diferent to its fagship Phantom. This product resonated with a new group of men and women who responded to the marque’s relentless pursuit of perfection in design, engineering and crafsmanship, but sought a more modest and minimalist expression of Rolls-Royce. The execution of the frst Goodwood Ghost, and its laser focus on meeting the demands of its clients, was an unmitigated success, and over the course of its ten-year lifecycle, this transformative motor car became the most successful product in the company’s 116-year history.
Ghost’s formidable success was vital in enabling the brand to scale up production, invest in its capabilities and establish Rolls-Royce as the truly global brand it is today. Additionally, Ghost’s decade-long market presence enabled the marque’s Luxury Intelligence Specialists to gather vital information about developing behaviours in how Ghost clients use their motor car, how they commission it and how they perceive Rolls-Royce. These highly successful and diverse entrepreneurs and founders, who selected this product to celebrate their ongoing ascension, were citizens of the world – they had been educated abroad, they travelled extensively and experienced Rolls-Royce in many cultures.
Due to Ghost’s energetic, dynamic personality, these clients came to realise that the Rolls-Royce brand could ofer more than a chaufeur-driven experience. Indeed, in the United States of America and areas of Europe, clients were self-driving their Ghost from the very early stages of its introduction. Meanwhile, in Asia, clients were engaging heavily in the connected technology on board, be it for business or pleasure.
Across all markets, when clients commissioned their Ghost they asked the marque’s representatives about the driving experience, even if they had selected an extended wheelbase. During the weekend, this business tool morphed into a discreet celebration – clients would switch to the driver’s seat and relish a trip to a restaurant or second home with their friends and family. They celebrated this breadth of character, and this refected in less formal colourways and more personalisation in the driver’s eyeline. These were profound learnings. Meanwhile, at Goodwood, signifcant advances were being made with the marque’s proprietary aluminium spaceframe architecture. First used on Phantom, then Cullinan, this spaceframe is unique to Rolls-Royce and enables the brand’s designers and engineers to develop an authentically super-luxury product, free from the constraints of platforms used to underpin high-volume vehicles. As Ghost clients required even more of their motor car, Rolls-Royce used its architecture to respond, incorporating technology such as all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering in Ghost, unlocking an entirely new, purposeful personality.
Concurrently, the design team were tracking an emerging movement that came to defne Ghost’s aesthetic treatment. It spoke of a shifing atitude among Ghost clients in the way success is expressed. Named ‘Post Opulence’ internally, it is characterised by reduction and substance. In service to this, exceptional materials must be selected and celebrated. Design must be limited, intelligent and unobtrusive. This philosophy is the antithesis of ‘premium mediocracy’, a term coined by the fashion cognoscenti. This refers to products that use superfcial 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.
The collective result is new Ghost. This is a motor car precisely tailored to its clients, that appears perfect in its simplicity, that is underpinned by remarkable substance, that is less but better.
The marque’s designers, engineers and crafspeople demanded the freedom to create a very specifc personality for new Ghost. These men and women were only able to create an authentically super-luxury product without the constraints of platforms used to underpin lesser, high-volume vehicles. Hence, the Rolls-Royce proprietary aluminium spaceframe architecture.
Reserved exclusively for Rolls-Royce, this architecture already underpins its fagship, Phantom, and its transformative SUV, Cullinan. The spaceframe’s fexibility and scalability freed the marque to serve the unique aesthetic and mechanical demands of new Ghost, and in doing so created an acoustically superior, highly rigid and dynamic proposition for Ghost within the Rolls-Royce product portfolio.
In its most pared back form, the Rolls-Royce architecture is based around four fxed points, one at each corner of the motor car. The moveable aluminium bulkhead, foor, crossmembers and sill panels were positioned specifcally to ensure new Ghost meets client expectations as a motor car that is equally enjoyable to drive as it is to be driven in. Two of the cast suspension mounting assembles were pushed to the very front of new Ghost, placing its 6.75-litre V12 behind the front axle to achieve an optimum 50/50 weight distribution.
To accommodate this without intruding on new Ghost’s interior suite, its overall length has grown by 89mm, compared to the frst Goodwood Ghost, to 5546mm, and its overall width has grown by 30mm to 1978mm. Signifcant changes were also made to the double-skinned bulkhead and foor structure packaging.
These were undertaken to incorporate an all-wheel drivetrain, all-wheel steering and completely redesigned Planar Suspension System, which further enhances the marque’s hallmark Magic Carpet Ride. This was achieved without compromising the motor car’s low centre of gravity, which aids cornering dynamics.
Further capitalising on the marque’s aluminium expertise, the metal superstructure of new Ghost is 100% made of the material. The car’s outer body is rendered as one clean, expansive piece, flowing seamlessly from A-pillar, over the roof and backwards to the rear of the car, recalling the seemingly one-piece coachbuilt Silver Dawn and Silver Cloud models.
This complete absence of shut lines allows clients to run their eye from the front to the rear of the car uninterrupted by ungainly body seams. To achieve this, four crafsmen hand weld the body together simultaneously to ensure a perfectly continuous seam. In addition, 100% aluminium, laser-welded doors have been used. This not only ofers weight benefts and remarkable 40,000Nm/deg stifness, but the material has a lower acoustic impedance than steel, improving cabin ambience.