The Rolls-Royce CEO’s reimagining of biggest-selling car in the marque’s history earns him a place in the Spear’s Luxury Index 2020, says Gareth Herincx
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars since 2010, has overseen the transformation of the 116-year-old marque. Owned by BMW since 1998, the Goodwood-based luxury brand delivered a record-breaking 5,152 vehicles worldwide in 2019, and the range now consists of five models. The latest addition is the second-generation Ghost, the replacement for the biggest-selling car in Rolls-Royce’s history.
It may not look radically different from its predecessor, but the 2020 Ghost is new from the ground up and the most technologically advanced model yet to sport the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy mascot. The original car was launched in 2009 in response to younger customers who wanted a model that was slightly ‘smaller’ and less ‘ostentatious’. The new version is built on an aluminium space frame architecture, gets four-wheel drive and all-wheel steering for the first time, and features Rolls-Royce’s unique Adaptive Planar suspension, which uses miniature cameras to read the road ahead, delivering the famed magic carpet ride.
Inside the cabin, the dashboard has been semi-decluttered, but there are still some familiar switches, buttons, dials and shiny organ-stop air vent controls. On the passenger side, there’s a new illuminated fascia featuring a glowing Ghost name plate surrounded by more than 850 tiny stars.
Exterior features of note include Rolls-Royce’s hallmark Pantheon Grille, which now includes subtly illuminated vines. Cruise along and the driving experience is near silent, thanks to the car’s 100kg of sound-proofing. The Mighty twin-turbo V12 only becomes vaguely audible when the car is driven in a more spirited fashion.
Naturally, the Ghost is at its best serenely gliding along, but it’s also the most driveable Rolls-Royce ever. For a big car it hides its size well – it’s surprisingly agile, with sharp steering, while the grip and traction out of corners are outstanding. The more you drive it, the more your confidence grows.
So, the new Ghost is a triumph of design and engineering. Seductively stylish, whisper-quiet, powerful, and offering an awesome road presence and dynamic drive, it’s a sublime luxurious treat. But then with a starting price of £250,000, it should be.