Jul
27
2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost in Arctic White

Consumer Guide Automotive2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Class: Premium Large Car

Miles driven: 106

Fuel used: 7.7 gallons

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortA
Power and PerformanceA-
Fit and FinishA+
Fuel EconomyD
ValueC
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyA-
Tall GuyA-
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs563-hp 6.75L
Engine TypeV12
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Drive WheelsAll-wheel drive

Real-world fuel economy: 13.8 mpg

Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 12/19/14 (mpg city, highway, combined)

Fuel type: Premium gas required

Base price: $332,500 (not including $2750 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: See window-sticker excerpt below

Price as tested: $440,225

 

Quick Hits

The great: Top-of-the-heap luxury; built-to-order customizability; serene ride quality

The good: Smooth, abundant power from V12 engine

The not so good: Prices fit for royalty; voracious thirst for premium fuel; interior is not particularly spacious for an uber-luxury large sedan

Check out our Premium Large Car Best Buys

 

Damon Bell

Once in a great while, our Consumer Guide test fleet is blessed with the arrival of a Rolls-Royce, and after oohing and aahing over the vehicle in our parking lot, I head straight to the window sticker to do some more oohing and aahing over the lavish options list—and their exceptionally lavish prices. “Full Canadel Paneling” exotic-wood interior trim at $21,275? OK. Aero Cowling rear-seat tonneau cover at $25,750? Sure, why not? When you’ve entered the rarified air of bespoke, ultra-luxury machines, the spendiness is kind of the point.

2021 Ghost

The Rolls-Royce Ghost is redesigned from the ground up for 2021, gaining all-new–but very familiar–styling and a host of new technology and luxury features. The new Ghost shares its basic platform with Rolls’ Cullinan SUV.

And so it is with our latest Rolls-Royce test vehicle. The 2021 Ghost, Rolls-Royce’s “entry-level” four-door sedan, is a redesigned on a platform shared with the new-for-2019 Cullinan, Rolls’ inevitable entry into the luxury SUV market. The options list on our Arctic White tester is so long and involved that we’ve just copied that part of the window sticker and run it here in its entirety. We’ll do this bit of math for you though—the cost of the optional equipment, the $2600 Gas Guzzler tax, and the $2750 destination fee add up to $107,725.

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2021 Ghost

If you chose to forego all that optional equipment and just slum it in an un-optioned, garden-variety $338,000 Ghost, you’d have enough money to fill your other garage stall (err…. one of your other garage stalls) with a decently equipped BMW 740i xDrive, an optioned-to-the-hilt Chevrolet Corvette convertible, or, perhaps, six base-model Nissan Versas for your staff to drive around.

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2021 Ghost

The Ghost’s dashboard does a fine job of blending old-world elegance with modern comfort and convenience features.

However, in an era where even a Hyundai delivers a remarkable level of luxury and comfort for under $50K, and 470-hp Jeep Wranglers exist, it’s those old-world “craftsmanship for craftsmanship’s sake” touches—and an unparalleled level of bespoke, handcrafted personalization—that set a modern-day Rolls-Royce apart.

Rolls-Royce mechanicals are as majestic as you’d expect. The Ghost’s twin-turbocharged, 6.75-liter V12 engine supplies (surprise!) copious power—563 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque, to be exact. The 8-speed automatic transmission delivers this significant grunt in a smooth, sophisticated fashion that’s in keeping with the Ghost’s stately personality. The ride is pillowy soft and quiet, even over really rough pavement and sharp bumps. The plus-size dimensions and 5500-lb curb weight mean that the Ghost is not particularly nimble, but it’s as smooth and composed as something its size has a right to be in quick corners.

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2021 Ghost

The Ghost’s cabin isn’t quite as spacious as you might expect an ultra-luxury car that starts at more than $330K to be. With the driver’s seat adjusted all the way back to accommodate a tall driver, rear-seat legroom isn’t particularly generous. The door apertures themselves are a bit too small for easy entry and exit for large occupants.

Considering that there are likely at least a few professional basketball and football stars who are Rolls-Royce customers, I was surprised to discover that the Ghost’s rear seats aren’t exactly limousine-like when it comes to headroom and leg room. Far from it, in fact. At 6’6” tall, I am close to NBA-spec in dimensions (but not physical fitness or athletic ability), and I was a bit disappointed to find I had no surplus space in the Ghost’s front or rear seats. Likewise, the door apertures themselves are rather stingy for such a regal large luxury sedan.

 John Biel

The kind of folks who put in a full day in someone else’s employ and then go home to while away their leisure hours mulling strategies to pay for the kids’ educations will be amazed and amused by the costs associated with a Rolls-Royce. It’s really the only reaction that 99 percent of us can have. The notion that someone can spend on a single option what might fund a hard-earned family vacation—or even buy an entire decent small car—is utterly incomprehensible. That some of those things are outright gimmicks (an uplit “Spirit of Ecstasy” hood ornament?) will make even less sense under the circumstances.

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2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Rear-seat passengers get a flip-down center armrest with side-mounted seat-position controls and a rotary multimedia interface controller under a impeccably finished cover with a natural-wood inlay.

If you can put aside the issue of costs for a few moments, however, it’s possible to admire the attention to detail of even some of the new Ghost’s most flagrant fripperies. My favorite may be the illuminated dash fascia ($5000). It consists of 850 minute holes—virtual pin pricks—drilled in the wood veneer through which the light of 152 LEDs shines, suggesting the look of the stars in a distant galaxy. But just shining light through holes, no matter how small, would create “hot” white spots not at all how stars appear to the naked eye. The light in the car’s dash fascia is filtered through a 2-millimeter layer of material that softens the glow to the appropriate intensity and fosters a twinkling effect.

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2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost

The Ghost’s 6.75-liter V12 engine puts out 563 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. Visible at the leading edge of the engine compartment is the filler panel for the retractable “Spirit of Ecstasy” hood ornament.

While having your own personal cosmos on the dash may not make the Ghost drive any better, the upper-wishbone damper added to the front suspension will. (It is part of what R-R calls its Planar Suspension System, a term that will no doubt amuse collectors of 1930s Studebakers.) A flexible, horseshoe-shaped weight with bump stops is attached to each upper control arm to strain out some of the vibrations that remain from impacts even after the suspension has done its work. And it’s not like Rollers needed extra help in riding serenely.

Tom Appel

Per the Rolls-Royce Ghost e-brochure, “With an exceptional level of control, every ride is graceful, dynamic and a pure pleasure. So nothing distracts you from the exhilaration of driving.”

Dynamic? I beg to differ. I felt almost nothing driving the Ghost, and that’s rather impressive. This big sedan is powered by a V12 engine of generous displacement paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Both drivetrain components draw my respect for going about their business in the smoothest, subtlest manner possible.

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2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost

A retractable Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament is standard, but if you want it lit from below to really dazzle the troops, that’ll be another $4800. Finely detailed embossed Spirit of Ecstasy logos on the interior door panels are a $2050 option.

Perhaps I am still traumatized by the sudden lurch and accompanying crash realized anytime my dad’s ’74 Plymouth Valiant was shifted from park to drive, but I found myself actively working to detect anything like noise or mechanical activity when doing the same in the Rolls. Underway, gear shifts were nearly undetectable, and what little sensation could be felt was cough-syrup smooth.

I can’t make a value case for this car, and no one can. Such a purchase is an act of pure indulgence, but it is indulgence with reward. For someone very wealthy, and very tired of commodity living, driving something as excruciatingly considered and crafted as this car may serve as a sanctuary of some sort. Whether or not the sanctuary is compromised by the knowledge that the car can be exchanged for a full share of Berkshire Hathaway—well, I guess that depends on how much of the stock you own.

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2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Normal value-for-the-dollar standards don’t really apply to the 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost. It’s a cost-is-no-object exercise in personalized, handcrafted features applied to a contemporary luxury-vehicle architecture, and it will likely satisfy those few buyers who can afford it

Check out the Consumer Guide Car Stuff Podcast

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost Gallery

(Click below for enlarged images)

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Consumer Guide Car Stuff Podcast, Episode 55: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars; 2022 Hyundai Tucson

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost