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New Rolls Ghost quicker, cheaper than expected

Flying lady: The forthcoming Rolls-Royce Ghost will get 420kW of BMW turbo V12.

New Roller will pack a sub-five-second 0-100km/h – and a circa-$300,000 pricetag

22 Jul 2009

ROLLS-ROYCE has revealed the most vital details of its new baby, the Ghost sedan, including a lower than expected global price of about $300,000 and a surprising 4.9-second 0-100km/h acceleration claim.

The rapid sub-five-second sprint time comes courtesy of the new entry-level Roller’s already-confirmed 6.6-litre turbocharged BMW-developed V12, which it has now been announced will produce a whopping 420kW at 5250rpm and no less than 780Nm of torque from just 1500rpm.

Those numbers eclipse the performance of both the BMW 760Li’s 6.0-litre V12 (400kW and 750Nm, at the same revs), upon which the Ghost engine is based, as well as that of the famed British brand’s older Phantom engine – a naturally-aspirated direct-injection 6.75-litre V12 that manages 338kW/720Nm.

No weight or fuel consumption figures have been released, but expect the Ghost to therefore be heavier and less efficient than the long-wheelbase 760Li, which has a kerb weight of 2250kg yet sprints to 100km/h in a claimed 4.6 seconds, and is due on sale in Australia late this year.

Naturally, however, the 7 Series-based Ghost, which will make its worldwide production debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September before arriving in Australia towards mid-2010, is also likely to be lighter and more efficient than the Rolls-Royce’s 2485kg Phantom flagship.

50 center imageLeft: The Rolls-Royce 200EX Concept is the prototype for the Ghost.

As revealed previously, the Ghost’s exclusive big-bore V12 turbo engine will come standard with the same new eight-speed ZF automatic transmission that debuts in the 760Li, which unlike the Ghost does not feature air springs at all four corners. The Ghost will also feature multi-link aluminium front and rear axles and a “lift and kneel” function.

Apart from revealing its headline performance figures, which also include an electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h, the BMW-owned UK marque has also taken the unusual step of announcing various regional prices for the Ghost – all of which will be upwards of $300,000, plus on-road costs.

The second all-new model to emerge under BMW stewardship since the Phantom family in 2003, the Ghost will cost the least in the US, at a neat $US245,000 – or precisely $A299,988 at current exchange rates.

Despite being built alongside the Phantom on a dedicated production line at the historic maker’s Goodwood plant in the UK from late 2009, the Ghost will be more expensive in Britain (£165,000 or $A332,364), where it goes on sale first.

Europeans will receive the Ghost next, at a price of €213,000 ($A371,205), followed by North Americans and Australians in the second quarter of next year. The Asia Pacific price for Ghost is listed at exactly $US300,000 ($A306,110).

That not only makes the smallest member of the Rolls-Royce family less expensive than the BMW 760Li’s projected local price of about $370,000 (and not much more than the current 750Li range-topper’s $291,200 sticker), but well under a third of the price of the Phantom ($1.075 million).

Rolls-Royce has also confirmed the Ghost’s preliminary overall dimensions, which have changed little from the 2009 the 200EX concept that first heralded the additional model and has just completed a whistle-stop global promotional tour that ended in Cannes on July 4.

As previously reported, the five-seater Ghost sedan’s 3295mm wheelbase is 85mm longer than the stretched 7 Series’ but 275mm shorter than the Phantom’s, while its body is also closer in size to the BMW than the Phantom – at 1948mm wide, 1550mm high and 5399mm long, making it 187mm longer than the LWB Seven but 435mm shorter than the Phantom.

“First and foremost Ghost is a Rolls-Royce,” said Rolls-Royce’s director of engineering, Helmut Riedl, yesterday (July 21). “This means that despite its extraordinary performance figures it has been engineered for effortless composure and refined power delivery. This is illustrated by the significant levels of low-down torque available which makes pulling away very smooth and for an exceptionally relaxed driving experience.

“Rolls-Royce power is entirely different to anything else in the automotive world. It is delivered free from stress and exertion but at the same time must engage the driver. Ghost is about fingertip control while still enjoying a dynamic connection with the road.

“Equally passengers need to be cosseted from the physical sensations of acceleration, braking and cornering. Our chassis set up keeps Ghost stable and flat, preventing it from wallowing or pitching in the corners or imposing undesirable forces on those inside,” said Mr Riedl.

In the latest instalment of the Ghost’s drip-feed reveal campaign, Rolls-Royce says engine, exhaust and tyre noise have been engineered to be “inaudible as far as possible, both internally and externally”, in order to create “the authentic Rolls-Royce environment”.

“Ghost is not about a single superlative but rather a careful blend of attributes,” added Rolls-Royce Motor Cars (RRMC) CEO Tom Purves. “A Rolls-Royce should carry its power with grace, agility and refinement and this is never achieved by a focus on outright performance.

“Mastery comes in creating a balance and having driven the Ghost again recently I can say confidently that our engineering team has achieved this in fine style.”

Expected to be the first in a new family of compact Rolls-Royce models, the four-door Ghost will join the short-wheelbase Phantom sedan, the Phantom Extended Wheelbase, Phantom Drophead Coupé and Phantom Coupé on sale.

RRMC sold 1212 cars globally in 2008, a 20 per cent increase over the previous year to mark its fifth successive year of sales growth.

The rejuvenated automotive icon found some 17 new customers in Australia in both 2007 and 2008, but so far this year has attracted just six buyers to be 54 per cent down year-on-year.

Rolls-Royce has sold 10 cars in the past 12 months, including just four in the second half of 2008, following the onset of the global financial crisis.

No examples of the Maybach, the Phantom’s direct rival from Mercedes-Benz, were sold in the first half of 2009 in Australia, where just three were bought in 2008 following a sale-free year for the other German super-limousine in 2007.

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