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CAR OF THE MONTH September 2011

2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost

21st Century Luxury Sedan

A three-quarter front view of a 2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost

In short: A pure luxury-made-simple sedan.

Rolls-Royce Ghost Review

There's something otherworldly about the Rolls-Royce Ghost — and it's not just its spooky-sounding name. Combining classic looks with modern technology and a tremendous powertrain, this stately sedan is an automotive anomaly — a vehicle which demands attention as much for its unique styling as its performance specs.

Although the Ghost's luxobarge looks may peg it as a slow-speed cruiser, a German-built 6.6-liter V12 with direct injection provides some much-appreciated excitement, rocketing this English icon from 0 to 60 in just 4.8 seconds. On the one hand, this car is rather complex; on the other, the folks at Rolls-Royce claim that it's pure and simple. Both are true, but still you might ask the question: a simple car for 300 grand? Engineered by its German owners at BMW, this car is a masterpiece in more ways than one.

Interior of the 2011 Rolls Royce Ghost

Technology and fine materials make this hand-crafted work of art an instant modern classic. For sure it will be more reliable than models of decades ago. Much smaller than its sister ship the Phantom, it's still an imposing car that's hard to miss. In a way, the exterior design is simple and has evolved to bring the brand more into the new era with a softer front grill adorned with the retractable Spirit of Ecstasy. The Rolls-Royce Ghost has enough power to scare even seasoned drivers, but in a way, inside is where it all takes place.

The 6.6-liter V12 engine in the 2011 Rolls Royce Ghost

Now, will you drive or will you be driven? The good news is that this machine can be used on a daily basis. Think of it as a slightly larger luxury sedan than the more common one. Room is ample front and back and the cargo rooms allows for beaucoup shopping. Should it rain, carbon-fiber-stemmed umbrellas are lodged in the suicide doors. Once inside, you will be cocooned and made rather comfortable. The signature smooth-floating ride style will take you on your journey, quest or errands to the grocery store effortlessly.

A three-quarter rear view of a 2011 Rolls Royce Ghost

Our Lunar blue tester came fully loaded with picnic tables, lambswool floor mats, a panorama roof and a rear theater configuration for those long trips. Our individually set up sea shell leather seats would make us choose the driven option. Up front, things are simple, with not too many knobs and buttons, and the owner's manual comes in an electronic version (bring your kid). Make use of the heads up display, the forward cameras and night vision display to help you stay safe while observing the percentage of power reserve gauged get significantly reduced while the German V12 motor propels you well beyond posted speed signs. This is when we choose the drive option.

Obviously, only the happy few will get to own one, even ride in one or see one as production levels will remain rather confidential. Just be sure to text your rich uncle to secure a ride so you can tweet about it and post the reportage on your Facebook page. You, too, can be famous, leaving financial considerations to others.

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Warranty/Service: 4-year/unlimited-mile basic warranty; 4-year/unlimited-mile maintenance program; 4-year/unlimited-mile roadside assistance

Base Price: $246,500 / As Tested: $301,500

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

Engine: 6.6-liter V12 with direct injection and variable valve lift and timing
Horsepower: 563 hp @ 5,250-6,000 rpm
Torque: 575 lb-ft @ 1,500-5,000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Curb weight:
5,490 lbs
Wheelbase: 129.7 in
Length/Width/Height: 212.6/76.7/61 in
Turning circle: 44 ft

4-wheel ventilated disc brakes with ABS; brake energy regeneration; dynamic brake control
Suspension: double wishbone front; multi-link rear; self-leveling air springs; variable damping control

Traction: dynamic stability control with dynamic traction control and cornering brake control

0-60 mph:
4.8 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph (governor limited)

EPA City: 13 mpg
EPA Highway: 20 mpg

front and rear head airbags; dual front side-mounted airbags

Likes: luxe feel; power; quality manufacturing

Dislikes: needs side mirror assistance

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Photography: AlphaMedia

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