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Future models - Rolls-Royce - Ghost - Extended wheelbase

Shanghai show: Rolls-Royce grows Ghost

How's the leg room?: The new Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase is the first car from the brand to make its debut in the Asia Pacific region.

Rolls-Royce debuts extended-wheelbase version of its entry-level Ghost at Shanghai

Rolls-Royce logo20 Apr 2011

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

UNDERLINING the importance placed by the automotive industry on the Chinese market, Rolls-Royce elected to use this week’s Shanghai show as the background against which to make its first-ever world debut of a car in the Asia Pacific region.

Providing more than twice the knee-room of the standard Ghost – afforded by an extra 170mm of length, bringing the car’s total length to 5569mm – the Ghost Extended Wheelbase also features a panoramic sunroof, which Rolls-Royce claims “sets new standards for interior ambience and light”.

Citing the extended Ghost as “for customers who require increased space and comfort without sacrificing Ghost’s unique balance of dynamism and poise”, Rolls-Royce is pitching the car as equally suited to being driven by its owner or used as chauffeured transport.

Rolls-Royce claims that the added length has not compromised the vehicle’s proportions. The increase is cleverly and subtly integrated to the design and the elongated Ghost remains 265mm shorter than the standard-length Phantom.

First production for Australian-delivered cars will begin around November, meaning the first deliveries, including showroom demonstrator models, are expected by February or March next year.

According to Rolls-Royce importer Trivett's executive chairman Greg Duncan, most Australian Rolls-Royce customers self-drive, meaning that sales of extended wheelbase models here will be mainly to luxury hotels or high-end limousine companies.

Speaking at Shanghai, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos said: “This latest Rolls-Royce is a model of outstanding design and unrivalled luxury. Ghost Extended Wheelbase delivers all the poise and dynamism enjoyed by discerning Ghost owners, with the indulgent experience of an extended wheelbase car. It is the very best of both worlds.”

50 center imageThe LWB Ghost – which represents the sixth model in the Rolls-Royce line-up alongside the Phantom, Phantom Extended Wheelbase, Phantom Drophead, Phantom Coupe and Ghost – will be built to order in limited numbers this year before full production commences in 2012.

Powered by the same 420kW 6.6-litre twin-turbo petrol V12 as the standard Ghost, the Extended Wheelbase’s 0-100km/h sprint time is also lengthened – but by just a tenth of a second to five seconds dead, thanks to the 780Nm of torque on tap.

The Chinese starting price of RMB5.118 million equates to about $A745,000 – $50,000 more than the Australian asking price for the standard car.

Australian pricing is not yet confirmed and as Rolls-Royce is at pains to point out, the final price is dependent on customer specification.

Options for the extended Ghost include black-stained ash wood with stainless steel pinstripes, contrast stitching, a cool box including champagne flutes, a rear privacy telephone and Rolls-Royce logos on the head restraints.

As well as eclipsing Rolls-Royce sales on home soil, China has become the second biggest export market for the famed British ultra-luxury marque after the United States. The brand plans to further expand its presence in the Asia Pacific region, which is home to 18 of its 81 showrooms worldwide.

Mr Muller-Otvos said, “This is the first time we have undertaken a world launch of a Rolls-Royce car in China, underscoring the strategic significance of this market and the Asia Pacific region. We expect to build on last year’s record growth, with further strong demand for Rolls-Royce models and a positive economic forecast throughout the region.”

Also on show at Shanghai were some bespoke Rolls-Royce models, including a ‘China Edition’ Ghost demonstrating bespoke options tailored to the Chinese market including a ‘consort red’ interior, gold twin coachlines and a gold-plated Spirit of Ecstacy.

Two ‘Spirit of Ecstacy Centenary Collection’ models celebrating the 100th birthday of Rolls Royce’s famous grille ornament comprised a Phantom Extended Wheelbase sedan finished in Rhapsody Black with a Ardent Red and Seashell-coloured interior with Piano Black veneer trim plus a Phantom Drophead coupe in Maiden Blue paint with navy blue and Seashell interior.

China and the Asia Pacific region is Rolls-Royce’s biggest market for its limited-production Centenary Collection cars, of which 100 will be made.

Global Rolls-Royce sales reached a record 2,711 units last year seven years after the company first released the Phantom under BMW Group control.

Six Rolls-Royces have found well-heeled Australian buyers so far in 2011, up 25 per cent on the first quarter of last year, while globally first quarter sales have doubled compared with 2010.

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